Book review: Money to Burn by James Grippando

Moneytoburn_lg Money to Burn by James Grippando
HarperLuxe, March 2010.

What would you do if you checked your bank account one day and found it empty? This dilemma faces Michael Cantella, a young-ish and very successful investment banker on Wall St. It’s much worse than that – Michael rapidly discovers that not only his bank account but all his investments, including his shares in his own company Saxton Silvers, have also vanished.

Michael immediately reports his loss, which he puts down to identity theft, to his firm’s legal counsel and, through her, to the FBI. Unfortunately for Michael and exacerbated by a larger-than-life TV financial journalist who dons boxing gloves and steps into the ring to deliver his hyped-up reports, he himself comes under suspicion for having stashed away the money. Saxton Silvers, barely recovered from its earlier exposure to the sub-prime mortgage market (an escape made possible by Michael having forced through a company ruling to stop this type of investment, creating some internal enemies among his colleagues who were doing very well out of it), is now teetering on the brink. Whoever sold Michael’s shares in the company did so at a considerable loss, which causes other investors to lose confidence in the company and dump their shares. 

The novel rushes on at a cracking pace, as Michael tries to cope with disaster after disaster – losing his money, being thrown out of his fancy apartment by his wife who tells him she wants a divorce, coming under suspicion from his boss (and mentor) as well as from the police and the FBI – could life get any worse? Well – yes, it could.

A second plot running through the book is that of Michael’s first wife, Ivy. Some years previously, the couple had met (over an investment, of course) and married very quickly afterwards, while on holiday (at the company’s expense, naturally) in the Bahamas. No sooner had Michael and Ivy tied the knot than she vanished from the boat on which they were staying, presumed drowned and her body eaten by a shark. Michael has never really recovered from her death, and some circumstances about his missing money make him suspect that she might still be alive. Whether this is true, and how all these elements fit together, forms the basis of this financial thriller.

Money to Burn is a lightweight, fun read. I found the corporate espionage part of the plot much the strongest, and was not so taken with the gangster conspiracy aspects. It is certainly a bang on-trend book and taught me a few lessons about spyware, passwords and being careful with my accrued millions and my blue-chip portfolio!

I thank the publisher, Harper Collins in the USA, for so kindly sending me a proof copy of the novel.

Other reviews of this book at: Huffington Post, Reviewing the Evidence and Book Reporter.


6 thoughts on “Book review: Money to Burn by James Grippando

  1. Maxine – Lovely review – thanks! I’d been wondering whether or not to read that one, and now I think I will. It sounds like it’s got some interesting sub-plots, and I always like that. So..onto the TBR list it goes – as soon as I change my password ; ).

  2. As well as adding to my own TBR mountain you’re also now acting as a gift advisor. I have a friend who will, I think, really like this.
    Since you seem to be taking care of everything else in my life do you have any recommendations for floor tilers as I need to get some rennovations done 🙂

  3. Does anyone here read Joseph Finder? I read “Vanished,” which has a corporate greed theme and is fun to read? It’s considered a thriller, but nothing scary, but it is a page-turner.

  4. I really liked Finder’s debut, very much indeed. I quite liked his second. The rest, forget it – well, I read the third and found it predictable so stopped. I find that is the trouble with many thrillers, they seem to be written to a formula, and once you’ve “got it” (maybe 1/4 of the way in) it can be quite boring because everything that happens is obvious. A few authors write good thrillers (Harlan Coben for example) but many don’t. I prefer a detection-based story where you have to keep guessing and the author outwits you. Often these don’t have much action in them, but they can be more original and engaging.

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