James Grippando' s latest is a timely addition to the Wall Street thriller genre. Written for a post-Lehman Brothers world, Money to Burn begins just as the fictitious Manhattan investment bank Saxton Silvers is crumbling. No more cigars and swagger. No more irrational exuberance. Now it is time to deal with the aftereffects of credit default swaps and government inquiries.
Whether or not there is a likable character to be found on the real Wall Street is debatable, but Grippando has written one in Michael Cantella, a rising star at Saxton Silvers who must deal with both his company responsibilities and a personal crisis. Someone has wiped out his entire savings, including shares of company stock, and transferred it to an offshore account in Bermuda. When Saxton Silvers stock takes a massive hit the next day, he is accused of insider trading. And that s just the tip of the iceberg that is Michael's problems. His current wife wants a divorce, his first dead wife may actually be alive, and a TV personality named Chuck Bell (modeled on CNBC s Jim Cramer) is calling for his head.
Grippando's plotting keeps the pages turning quickly as Cantella works to disprove the accusations against him and keep his loved ones safe. Behind-the-scenes action at an investment bank during the recent financial crisis might have been a good thriller in itself (see Andrew Ross Sorkin' s Too Big to Fail), but for Cantella it s personal. More than the money, he wants the truth about the love of his life and his good name back.