Sunday, December 22, 2013


In his new novel THE PRINCE OF RISK author Christopher Reich formulates a plot surrounding the world financial trend that has resulted in America's dominating the pushing of paper rather than in manufacturing goods. Financial services are centered in New York, where the barons of Wall Street have ruled the roost for much too long, with Washington cooking the books for them. Shanghai, by contrast, has become impatient and angry, and is looking to crush the West's last remaining stronghold. Enter hedge fund manager Bobby Astor, whose father, (head of the NYSE), and the Federal Reserve chairman, are both killed on the White House lawn as part of a conspiracy by a third party allegiance to overthrow our financial system. The backstory of Astor's involvement in a risky venture parallels and dovetails nicely with the high tech (and ground) attack, and one learns much about the speed made by electronic trades, where advantages are eked out in microseconds by widely separated servers. Paul Michael (who read The DaVinci Code on audio) narrates the novel with a strong and steady pace that avoids any hint of melodrama in the exposition or action, yet adds zest and fire in the dialogue, through his always believable tool of dialect. Reich has been called "the John Grisham of Wall Street," with several other money related suspense books out like Numbered Account and The Devil's Banker. (14 hours unabridged/Random House) An older memoir or confessional, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET by Jordan Belfort, has been re-released in abridged format (6 Hours, as is typical), due to the DiCaprio movie of the same name, and is a more lurid portfolio of penny-stock crimes, given a quicker pace by the abridgement after the style of the movie "Wall Street" and "Goodfellas." Actor Bobby Cannavale narrates like a wiseguy recounting the highs and lows of fiscal rape. The trend continues even into the last novel of Tom Clancy, COMMAND AUTHORITY, completed with Mark Greaney and read by actor Lou Diamond Phillips, who is superb in his understated evocation of character. It's mostly Russian power struggles there, but the cold war of greedy money grabbers stands out too in naked relief as more readers and movie watchers gawk as the American Dream of buy-and-hold, gold-watch opportunities turns into a nightmare of financial muggings and throat slashings. Of course, for others with an interest in nostalgia, luckily there are still books like the new THE ALL-GIRL FILLING STATION's LAST REUNION, written and read with surprising skill by Fannie Flagg, of Fried Green Tomatoes fame. 

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