Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mystery Book Review: Money To Burn by James Grippando

Mysterious Reviews: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and Crime Novel Reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books


Harper (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-06-155630-0 (0061556300)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-155630-2 (9780061556302)
Publication Date: February 2010
List Price: $25.99

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Money To Burn by James Grippando
Buy Money To Burn by James Grippando

Review: Wall Street – the hub of America’s economy. James Grippando brings to life just how frighteningly easy it would be to completely destroy the financial institutions that are at the heart of America. Money to Burn is Grippando’s latest masterpiece that is guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats and prevent them from sleeping too soundly.

Michael Cantella is a young climber at Saxton Silvers, the most important investment bank on Wall Street, and has it all. He’s rich, in love, and on his way to even greater success. On a Saxton Silvers’ cruise, Michael and the love of his life spontaneously decide to leave the stuffy Wall Street crew and embark on their own to marry and honeymoon in the Bahamas. Ivy Layton, however, does not get to enjoy her wedding night. Instead she mysteriously disappears and is never to be found. Seven years later, Michael has picked up the pieces and has a new wife, continued success, and an immense bank account. What could possibly go wrong? Apparently everything. The day before Michael turns thirty-five, he comes face to face with the most horrifying reality – his entire bank account has been wiped clean – every penny to his name. Within twenty-four hours, Michael is completely broke, his wife is demanding a divorce, and somehow he is being accused of bringing down the most powerful financial institution on Wall Street. As pieces of the puzzle come together, it seems that the most likely person behind this scheme is Ivy – his deceased wife. Nothing makes sense, and Michael has nowhere to turn – except to his estranged brother who agrees to represent him. Michael must overcome family dissonance, come to terms with his new poverty and homelessness, and realize that everything is nothing like what it seems. But, can he do it and still stay alive? The odds are definitely against him.

Money to Burn is a first-rate thriller. It is utterly terrifying how simple it seems to bring down major financial institutions. In today’s economy, this storyline will leave readers completely unsettled. Grippando does an excellent job of creating characters that are easy to love and even easier to hate. The reader can’t help but yearn for some kind of justice for Michael Cantella. In his words, “When it comes to financial crimes, secrets, violence and even murder, my Wall Street tale proves that sometimes you can clean up toxic waste, and other times it goes up in flames. Intense, hot, uncontrollable flames.” As Michael quickly finds out, sometimes those flames never go out! Money to Burn is also a layering of complex stories that seem completely disconnected, but instead are finely intertwined. Grippando superbly weaves together intricate pasts and character storylines in such a way that each layer is a piece to the puzzle. But that final piece that makes it all come together remains a mystery until the very end. In that Money to Burn is a financial thriller, Grippando uses a plethora of Wall Street terminology. Although this can leave definite confusion for those readers who are not “up” on all the stock market lingo, Grippando does a decent job of clarifying when necessary – though there will still definitely be holes. Without a solid understanding of these terms, the whole explanation of the financial crime will be unclear, but that does not distract from the enjoyment the reader will get from reading. Money to Burn is a gripping read that will leave readers wanting more!

Special thanks to Margo Nauert for contributing her review of Money To Burn and to HarperCollins for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Margo Nauert — All Rights Reserved — Reprinted with Permission

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Synopsis (from the publisher): At thirty-one, Michael Cantella is a rising star at Wall Street's premier investment bank, Saxton Silvers. Everything is going according to plan until Ivy Layton, the love of his life, vanishes on their honeymoon in the Bahamas.

Fast-forward four years. It's the eve of his thirty-fifth birthday, and Michael is still on track: successful career, beautiful new wife, piles of money. Reveling in his good fortune, Michael logs in to his computer, enters his password, and pulls up his biggest investment account: Zero balance. He tries another, and another. All of them zero. Someone has wiped him out. His only clue is a new e-mail message: Just as planned. xo xo.

With these three words Michael's life as he knows it is liquidated, along with his investment portfolio. Saxton Silvers is suddenly on the brink of bankruptcy, and he's the leading suspect in its ruin. Michael is left alone, framed, and facing divorce, with undercover FBI agents afoot, spyware on his computer, and mysterious e-mails from a "JBU." Embroiled in corporate espionage, he's desperate to clear his name and realizes that several signs point to his first wife, Ivy, as a key player. But what if Ivy has come back from the dead, only to visit on Michael a fate worse than death?

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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