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Review: “Ghosts of Manhattan” by Douglas Brunt

By Appraisingpages @appraisjngpages

I first heard of this book when my husband was watching news anchor Megyn Kelly interview the author on her show, you can see the interview here:

Turns out the author is her husband, Douglas Brunt! He suggested I read it and review it here, but I’m pretty sure he wanted me to get a copy so that he could read it too ;) Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

A wryly comic, first-person debut novel offering a withering view of life on Wall Street from the perspective of an unhappy insider who is too hooked on the money to find a way out, even as his career is ruining his marriage and corroding his soul. It’s 2005. Nick Farmer is a thirty-five-year-old bond trader with Bear Stearns clearing seven figures a year. The novelty of a work-related nightlife centering on liquor, hookers, and cocaine has long since worn thin, though Nick remains keenly addicted to his annual bonus. But the lifestyle is taking a toll on his marriage and on him.

When a nerdy analyst approaches him with apocalyptic prognostications of where Bear’s high-flying mortgage-backed securities trading may lead, Nick is presented with the kind of ethical dilemma he’s spent a lifetime avoiding. Throw in a hot financial journalist who seems to be more interested in him than in the percolating financial armageddon and the prospect that his own wife may have found a new romantic interest of her own, and you have the recipe for Nick’s personal and professional implosion.

Review: “Ghosts of Manhattan” by Douglas Brunt

Although I was excited to start this book, the thought of reading a fictional book about banking, lending, and finance was a little daunting at first. I worked for a major bank for almost five years and I like to view reading as an escape from all those things so I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it. I was so pleasantly surprised though, Douglas Brunt did so many things so well!

Douglas Brunt does for financing what John Grisham does for law: makes it real by making it fictitious, makes your care about the characters and the subject at hand. He does a great job of explaining enough banking-specific information to tell a great story without weighing it down with textbook-style writing. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to anyone, it really is that good. Reading the main character, Nick, is a bit like watching a car crash in slow motion. You want to take him by the shoulders and shake him, stop him, slap him,  knock sense into him somehow. Anything more than this I would consider a spoiler and I have a very firm policy on spoiler-less reviews!

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