Tag Archives: Fiction

A Review of Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt

Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt
Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt

 

Ghosts of Manhattan: A Novel

Douglas Brunt

Touchstone

October 2, 2012

Nick Farmer is a bond trader with Bear Stearns in 2005, before the financial meltdown. Mr. Brunt paints a picture of the excesses of a bond trader’s life, as seen through Nick’s eyes. He has spent too many years getting drunk by 5 PM, spending expense money on strippers and drinks. His marriage is in trouble. His life is a mess, but how can he fix it? He went to Bear Stearns right out of college. All he knows is selling and buying bonds. He has been doing this too long. He is 35, not 25. He makes way too much money, but knows that it’s all a sham.

Mr. Brunt does a masterful job of involving the reader into Nick’s life. He takes you on a roller coaster of emotions, as you feel disgust, fear, hope, and finally learn to like this broken and deeply flawed character. He also brings the other people in this novel to life. I didn’t like Nick in the beginning, but came to care very much about him by the conclusion.

This is a very strong first novel. It is written in first person, and really does involve the reader. I give it 5 stars and recommend it.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Description

Release Date: October 2, 2012

A wryly comic, first-person debut novel offering a withering view of life on Wall Street from the perspective of an unhappy insider who is too hooked on the money to find a way out, even as his career is ruining his marriage and corroding his soul.

It’s 2005. Nick Farmer is a thirty-five-year-old bond trader with Bear Stearns clearing seven figures a year. The novelty of a work-related nightlife centering on liquor, hookers, and cocaine has long since worn thin, though Nick remains keenly addicted to his annual bonus. But the lifestyle is taking a toll on his marriage and on him.

When a nerdy analyst approaches him with apocalyptic prognostications of where Bear’s high-flying mortgage-backed securities trading may lead, Nick is presented with the kind of ethical dilemma he’s spent a lifetime avoiding. Throw in a hot financial journalist who seems to be more interested in him than in the percolating financial armageddon and the prospect that his own wife may have found a new romantic interest of her own, and you have the recipe for Nick’s personal and professional implosion.

By turns hilarious and harrowing, Ghosts of Manhattan follows a winning but flawed character as he struggles to find the right path in a complicated urban heart of darkness.

 

Product Details

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Touchstone (October 2, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1451672594

ISBN-13: 978-1451672596

Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces

About the Author

Until 2011, Douglas Brunt was CEO of Authentium, Inc., an Internet security company. He now writes full time and is currently working on his second novel. A Philadelphia native, he lives in New York with his wife Megyn Kelly and their two children.

You can read a conversation with Doug where he talks about Ghosts of Manhattan over on the Q and A page.

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A Review of The Black Stiletto by Raymond Benson

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The Black Stiletto

Raymond Benson

Oceanview Publishing

September 5, 2011

Martin Talbot has discovered that his mother may have been a masked and costumed crime fighter in New York City back in the 50s. His mother, Judy, suffering from Alzheimer’s, is in a nursing home. Her lawyer gives Martin a package that leads him back to the empty family home, where he discovers a hidden room in the basement. When he enters the room, he finds some black leather costumes, weapons, and a bunch of books. When he looks inside, he sees that they are diaries. He starts to read the first one. The story unfolds from this diary. But while he is reading the diary, life continues in the present. A mafia bodyguard has spent over 50 years in Sing Sing Prison in New York State. He has served his time and is looking for The Black Stiletto. The mafia Don that he was supposed to protect died at her hand and she killed his brother.

This is an interesting story. The diary tells the story, but the events that happen in the present are another twist. Martin found quite a few of his mother’s artifacts in the hidden basement room. There are many more volumes of The Black Stiletto’s diary. There are many more stories to be told. I will be reading and reviewing the next book in this series, THE BLACK STILETTO: BLACK & WHITE.

I give this 4 stars, because while I like the premise of the diary telling the story, it seemed a bit too predictable. I hope the next book has more suspense.

Description

Could Martin Talbots elderly, Alzheimer-stricken mother, Judy, really have been the Black Stiletto? When Martin discovers several volumes of her diaries hidden by his mother, he is stunned beyond all imagination. His mother, the underground heroine of yesteryear? The famed, still unidentified woman who battled Communist spies, took on the Mafia, and preyed on common crooks? The woman who exacted punishment on evildoers without mercy? But it is all described, in great detail, in the diaries. What caused her to begin her quest for justice. Her decision to act outside the law. Her feats as the famed and feared vigilante. How her reputation exploded. In short, how it all played out. Could it be true? Talbot is filled with doubt and disbelief. But the reappearance of one of the Stilettos old enemies with a thirst for merciless revenge makes the story more than real and could imperil the life of not only the Stiletto, but her son and granddaughter as well.

About

The Black Stiletto was a legend in her own time, an underground heroine who made a name for herself during the late Eisenhower years and early Kennedy years as a New York City vigilante. Although she was wanted by the law and would have been arrested had she been caught or had her secret identity been revealed, the Black Stiletto was a competent and successful crime-fighter. A feminist before the term was in everyday vernacular, she battled common crooks, Communist spies, the mafia, and worse—and was responsible for their capture and, in some cases, their deaths. But the Stiletto disappeared midway through the sixties and was never heard from again. Most people thought she had died, and no one ever knew her identity. Like pin-up queen Bettie Page, her mythical image resurfaced in comics and other media during the 1980s and 90s. Millions of dollars were made by others exploiting her likeness and persona. Today, the questions remain. Who was she? Is she still alive? If so, where is she now?

The answers can be found in THE BLACK STILETTO and THE BLACK STILETTO: BLACK & WHITE, by internationally known New York Times best-selling author Raymond Benson.

The July 2011 issue of Library Journal calls THE BLACK STILETTO “a mashup of the work of Gloria Steinem, Ian Fleming, and Mario Puzo, all under the editorship of Stan Lee.”

Product Details

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Oceanview Publishing; 1 edition (September 5, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1608090205

ISBN-13: 978-1608090204

Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.2 x 6.3 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

About the Author

Raymond Benson is the highly acclaimed author of six original James Bond 007 novels, three film novelizations, three short stories, and two anthologies on Bond. Writing as David Michaels, Benson is a New York Times best-selling author, an Edger Alan Poe Award nominee, and a Readers’ Choice Award winner for Best Thriller.

More about the author

As of Summer 2012, Raymond Benson is the author of twenty-seven published books. These include the new BLACK STILETTO series (www.theblackstiletto.net) featuring a 1950s costumed female vigilante:THE BLACK STILETTO (2011) and THE BLACK STILETTO: BLACK & WHITE (2012); six original JAMES BOND novels (now collected in the recent anthologies THE UNION TRILOGY and CHOICE OF WEAPONS); three 007 film novelizations; and the first two best-selling TOM CLANCY’S SPLINTER CELL novels (for the latter he used the pseudonym of “David Michaels”). With John Milius he penned HOMEFRONT: THE VOICE OF FREEDOM. He also wrote the novelizations of other popular video games–METAL GEAR SOLID and METAL GEAR SOLID 2: SONS OF LIBERTY, and HITMAN (HITMAN: DAMNATION, July 2012). Raymond writes his own original suspense books as well–stand alone thrillers such as TORMENT, ARTIFACT OF EVIL, SWEETIE’S DIAMONDS, FACE BLIND, and EVIL HOURS, or his two “Spike Berenger Rock ‘n’ Roll Hits” featuring a music industry detective–A HARD DAY’S DEATH and the Shamus Award-nominated DARK SIDE OF THE MORGUE. There’s a lot more, so if you want the full story visit the author at his website… www.raymondbenson.com!