Love financial fiction? So do I. And I review them for you!
In this post I’m reviewing…
Top Producer by Norb Vonnegut
Financial fiction meets crime fiction: Read how a top producer uncovers financial fraud.
OVERVIEW: The story is about Grover O’Rourke, a “top producer” at an investment bank. His best friend, Charlie Kelerman, owns a hedge fund and is killed (rather dramatically) at a social gathering. Kelerman is very successful but after his death, Kelerman’s widow approaches O’Rourke with some alarming news. O’Rourke tries to help the widow but takes on more than he bargains for.
REVIEW: I was a little skeptical when I started the book. It opens with Charlie’s death which was pretty dramatic to the point of being tawdry. I actually put the book in the stack of books to return to the library. But then I picked up another book by the same author and read some of the reviews for Top Producer. They were glowing enough that I picked up Top Producer again and continued reading. I’m glad I did. The story finished well (if not predictably) and the book was immensely readable after those first couple of eye-rolling chapters. The characters were not overly complex but were still entertaining, with my favorite character being the homosexual hairdresser who is a former Delta-Force operative. Top Producer read at a quick pace and I found that I couldn’t ever read just one chapter. (I confess that I occasionally ignored my work just to hammer through a couple of chapters!). This is a crime thriller from the perspective of a financial advisor. So in some ways, the main character seems to be along for the ride rather than a true “actor” in a financial story, although he helps the police solve the crime.
FINANCIAL FICTION QUOTIENT: For readers who like the world of finance, big money, and investment bankers, there is plenty here. Along with the main storyline, we read of O’Rourke’s efforts to sell to a new prospect and protect his existing clients from a fellow advisor at the firm who is looking to steal his client away. Finance concepts covered run the gamut from basic (bond prices), intermediate (SEC regulations and ponzi schemes) to advanced (hedging techniques like zero cost collars). Vonnegut does a pretty good job of explaining everything. I gave the story a Financial Interest score of only 3/5 because the finance is interesting and pretty consistent throughout the story but it’s really a financial crime thriller and the main character is more of a detective than a financier.
SUMMARY: Although I found this book to be very entertaining, I like reading financial fiction for the financial details and big money gambles and there weren’t a lot of that in here. But there was enough financial meat to still find this book very satisfying.