cover image Money to Burn

Money to Burn

James Grippando. Harper, $25.99 (360pp) ISBN 978-0-06-155630-2

Bestseller Grippando’s overwrought financial thriller gives its hero, Michael Cantella, almost as rude an awakening as Kafka’s Gregor Samsa. Scandals involving subprime lending, short selling, and Ponzi schemes provide a timely backdrop. On the eve of his 35th birthday, Cantella goes from being a star performer at a premier Wall Street investment firm to a financially wiped-out victim of identity theft. His Job-like troubles are just beginning as the fallout not only rocks his second marriage and his firm but sets him up for a life on the run. Grippando (Intent to Kill ) keeps the reader guessing why Cantella specifically is targeted and how the vicious and relentless personal attacks relate to the unexplained disappearance (and presumed death) of his first wife on their wedding day seven years earlier. Despite a few plot holes, the dramatic tension remains high with a sadistic hired killer, high-stakes wheeler-dealers, and plenty of cinematic escapes. (Mar.)