Vonnegut, Norb. Top Producer. Minotaur: St. Martin's. Sept 2009. c.320p. ISBN 978-0-312-38461-6. $24.99. Fiction.

In his debut, Wall Street executive Vonnegut (and yes, a distant relation to Kurt) presents Grove O’Rourke, a 32-year-old hotshot at a New York investment firm, where he manages $2 billion for his wealthy clients. When Grove witnesses the gruesome murder of his best friend and mentor, Charlie Kelemen, and learns that Charlie’s wife, Sam, knows nothing about her husband’s dealings and is penniless, he sets out to track down the killers and his friend’s missing funds. Grove soon learns that Charlie had many secrets, some of them personally devastating. For those who have followed the demise of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the crux of the plot will seem either old stuff or news ripped from the headlines. And, unless readers are up on zero-cost collars, downside protection, delta hedging, prepaid forwards, and derivatives, their eyes will likely glaze over at some of the financial maneuvers. VERDICT. Though it’s hard these days to feel sympathy for investment bankers and stockbrokers, Vonnegut makes his irreverent protagonist someone we can root for as he pursues crooks who use the redemptive language of hedge funds to hide financial malfeasance. A promising debut (the author has a two-book deal).

Library Journal, vol. 134, no 11 (June 15, 2009), p. 69.

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