I’ve stumbled upon a new genre: “financial thrillers.”
Like all thrillers, this genre tells stories of murder, bribery, drug cartels and international scandal. But the hero is a stockbroker.
Yes, a Wall Street stockbroker. Sound like an unlikely hero? Meet Grove O’Rourke.
Grove O’Rourke, the hero of The Trust by Norb Vonnegut, is yanked into an international scandal after one of his wealthy clients mysteriously dies onboard his yacht alone at night.
The client’s last will and testament asks O’Rourke to become a trustee to the family’s $150 million foundation. The clients’ wife and daughter are the only two other trustees; O’Rourke holds the tiebreaking vote.
O’Rourke’s first act as trustee is to – against his better judgment – acquiesce to a Catholic priest who beseeches him wire $25 million to the Philippines on behalf of a children’s charity.
O’Rourke launches his due diligence after wiring the funds. His discoveries terrify him. He may have aided an international crime ring.
“Five to 10,” he tells the client’s wife at one point.
“Percent?” she asks.
“Years,” he replies.
Turns out, the federal penitentiary is the least of his worries. O’Rourke asks too many questions to the wrong people. He finds himself entangled in the same web of treachery, scandal and lies that led to his former client’s murder … and may lead to his own demise …
Norb Vonnegut, an ex-Morgan Stanley broker with a Harvard MBA, penned the first financial thriller that found its way across my desk.
The book is gripping. The New York Times calls Vonnegut a “seriously underappreciated author,” and I agree wholeheartedly.
His attention to detail is uncanny. Listen to this page-one description of O’Rourke crouching under his desk, nose near the commercial-grade carpet below:
“At this level, I could smell the trace odors from chemicals. Cleaning solvents had washed out the steel-blue fibers but not the soy sauce.”
I read it the first half of this book on a flight. I felt disappointed when the plane landed; I wanted to board the return flight so I could finish the book. Like any good thriller, it became more twisted, with more surprise revelations, near the end. When I turned the final page, I thought: I want more stories from this author.
Fortunately, he’s written two other financial thrillers. Trust me, I’ll be reading those.
This Book is For You IF: You want to escape into fiction, you like mystery, crime and intrigue, and you find the Wall Street backdrop fascinating.
This Book is NOT For You If: You want to stick to reading non-fiction books that impart knowledge, and/or you have zero interest in tales of sleuthing and murder.
Read more reviews of The Trust by Norb Vonnegut.
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