Rich Man's Blood

John C. Boland, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (232p) ISBN 978-0-312-09371-6
Two separate sections of narrative fail to gel in this intriguing yet imperfect work by the author of Easy Money . Yet a resultant whole emerges as quite readable, benefiting from lean prose that allows familial warfare to simmer gently beneath the surface. If former Barrons' editor Boland chose to jettison the mystery trappings he only half-heartedly pursues, his writing style and his subplots packed with characters defined and emotionally disabled by corporate life would stand comparison with Ward Just and other chroniclers of the American businessman. Richard Welles works for the Baltimore investment firm founded by his autocratic father, who, if his waning influence remains resolute, will leave it all to Richard's wastrel older brother. The firm's tenuous position isn't helped by the floundering fortunes of Richard's client Stu Harris, whose Louisiana shipping company has purchased a fleet of vessels from a con man holding no clear title. The employee responsible for the bogus sale is murdered, at which point the author shifts gears by having Richard return to Baltimore in time to witness a hostile takeover of his father's company. The reader must assume events in Louisiana and Maryland are somehow linked, but plot connections are threadbare, and over-long explanations of financial matters, while often necessary, slow the narrative. Boland does far better when he explores Richard's inner workings; he excells in rendering epiphanies and, more impressively, in the painstaking creation of a sympathetic character from a dense tangle of inner conflicts. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/28/1993
Release date: 07/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 242 pages - 978-1-935797-64-7
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