Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud

David Dayen. New Press (Perseus, dist.), $27.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-62097-158-1
Dayen, a contributing writer for Salon and the Intercept, elevates a muckraking exposé of fraudulent foreclosures to Hitchcockian levels of suspense. His absorbing account grabs the reader early on and doesn’t let go as he describes how oncology nurse Lisa Epstein, car dealership sales manager Michael Redman, and insurance lawyer Lynn Szymoniak challenged the big banks. The story’s principals sacrifice marriages and careers—Szymoniak even reports receiving a death threat—to spread the truth about Wall Street’s illegal foreclosure practices. Dayen has a novelist’s eye, and he captures not only the quotidian existences of his subjects but the magnitude of their obsession. At one point, Epstein, a single mother who has quit her full-time job, threatens to run for office against the incumbent clerk of courts of Palm Beach County in order to personally combat fraudulent foreclosure filings. Dayen sympathizes with his characters’ passions but maintains a professional distance from their quixoticism. His epilogue chronicles, sadly, the Lilliputian dimensions of their hard-fought victories. Meticulously researched, enthralling, and educational, this addition to the literature of the Great Recession calls out for its own big-screen adaptation. Agent: Andy Ross, Andy Ross Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
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