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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life's a party- till it isn't. Story of a Wall Street Man- sex, drugs, and lots of money.
Nick Farmer- 35 years old. Works at Bear Stearns on Wall Street. And by most accounts- he's got it all. Good looking enough, nice suits, good money, parties, a good-looking wife, and access to drugs and alcohol basically anytime he wants it. But something is wrong, something is missing in the life. Nick knows the lifestyle is killing him- partying hard, making the...
Published 23 months ago by littlemissrockstar

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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Jerks
I wanted to like Douglas Brunt's debut novel, Ghosts of Manhattan, but I remained distracted by the stereotyped characters and Brunt's inability to flesh them out with more insight and depth. Protagonist Nick Farmer is a bond trader at Bear Stearns, and the lifestyle he pursues is wearing him down and hurting his marriage. Set between 2005 and 2007, the knowledge about...
Published 22 months ago by Stephen T. Hopkins


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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life's a party- till it isn't. Story of a Wall Street Man- sex, drugs, and lots of money., October 8, 2012
Nick Farmer- 35 years old. Works at Bear Stearns on Wall Street. And by most accounts- he's got it all. Good looking enough, nice suits, good money, parties, a good-looking wife, and access to drugs and alcohol basically anytime he wants it. But something is wrong, something is missing in the life. Nick knows the lifestyle is killing him- partying hard, making the connections needed for his job, celebrating sales- but Nick likes the money. So he keeps on with the lifestyle- all the while knowing that it's costing him in the long run.

As the story progresses, the reader sees Nick struggling with the hypocrisy of his situation, but being unwilling to make a change. Then, Nick finds out information from a Wall Street analyst predicting financial doom- but no one is listening. Is Nick ready to start making changes- get out before the party is over? Or does Nick staty around till the party is way over?

This book is interesting- a voyeuristic look into the life of a Wall Street man, his life, and what his lifestyle ultimately costs him. Nick's got several comical lines- he's got a dry wit that quite fits in this book.

While this will not be a book that I would read multiple times- I did enjoy the book.

Recommended.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Jerks, November 8, 2012
By 
I wanted to like Douglas Brunt's debut novel, Ghosts of Manhattan, but I remained distracted by the stereotyped characters and Brunt's inability to flesh them out with more insight and depth. Protagonist Nick Farmer is a bond trader at Bear Stearns, and the lifestyle he pursues is wearing him down and hurting his marriage. Set between 2005 and 2007, the knowledge about the collapse of Bear sits with the reader, but remains a future event, outside the scope of the novel. So many of the adult characters are presented as adolescent jerks that the distraction of drinking, drugs, strippers and hookers became too central a focus for this novel to succeed. There are a dozen or so terrific pages in the almost three hundred pages of this book. Readers patient enough to wade through it all are likely to be rewarded. Those readers with a clear notion of Wall Street employment being a hedonistic lifestyle will be confirmed in their views when they read this novel.

Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)
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88 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing! You'll want to savor each sentence like mouthfuls of a great meal!, October 5, 2012
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This review is from: Ghosts of Manhattan: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
I love this writer! He sounds like I talk when I am inside my head. He is articulate, cynical, intelligent...I feel like I have a new best friend! I love the characters...and I generally don't like people in real life...I am shy.

It's a great reminder to keep your conscience awake while you're on the take...lest you lose your soul.

Here is an excerpt: "I'm happy to take the cash but haven't always been happy doing the job. That's the difference between me and Jerry and what makes him so good at what he does. He's the perfect trader. He has an efficiency of thought. There is an elegant purity to his single-mindedness, the same simple purity a person would admire in a shark. Nothing in his spirit is at conflict with his profession."

Another excerpt, further into the book:
" 'What is it with these three-button jackets? Can't you two wear a normal gd suit to the office?' Blank looks back at me from both of them. Clearly they like the suits and had thought they were making a favorable impression. I'm feeling a little tired and grouchy and go further. "You're not in Milan. Go to Brooks Brothers and get a normal gd suit and save yourselves some money." Jerry chuckles, He enjoys humor abuse of anything thin and good looking. "

It's just a fun, intelligent and enlightening political read!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts of Manhattan, November 4, 2012
Nick Farmer lands himself a job at Bear Stearns right out of college and he is really not sure why or how it happened. Twelve years later he hates himself, he hates his job and his marriage is falling apart but he doesn't see any way to leave a position that pays him so much money when he and his wife have gotten used to living on a seven figure income. As he stumbles further and further into an abyss of drugs, alcohol and disgust he learns that an analyst in the firm is predicting a financial Armageddon and he fears his wife is having an affair.

I am having a hard time with this review because I really, really, REALLY hated Nick Farmer. It is hard for me to read a book when the protagonist is so stupid and immature. If this is truly how the "men" running Wall Street behave no wonder it all imploded. The synopsis also does not tell the tale of the book and I get frustrated when that happens. I take a book to review from that synopsis and when I get another book altogether I am not a happy reviewer. I recognize that it is not the author's fault but publishers should know by now that people buy books based on what is written on the covers and when the two do not match buyers get angry. Rant over.

Back to the book. This is more a story of one man, Nick Farmer and the dissolution of his marriage rather than the collapse of Wall Street. Nick is rotten to his wife, he hangs out with a bunch of misogynistic pigs who go out drinking, snorting cocaine and hiring hookers almost every night of the week. And he wonders why his marriage is falling apart? I saw no earthly reason why this was necessary to the completion of his job. It was never explained. It was just "done." Perhaps this is a book better enjoyed by men who can live vicariously through the lives of other men making obscene amounts of money for doing relatively nothing.

Mr. Brunt writes in a mixture of technical (I was glad I had a banking background) schmaltz and partyboy. I read through to the end hoping for some manner of solid redemption for Nick Farmer but I'm not so sure. I don't think he will ever grow up.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, October 9, 2012
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Ghosts Of Manhattan is interesting, fast-paced, compelling -- and beautifully written. I want to read it again, just to savor the artful presentation of words. Doug Brunt is a talented writer, and I look forward to his next book.
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29 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts of Manhattan, October 8, 2012
By 
Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt is a novel set in 2005 about a bond trader that isn't so happy with his life, even though from the outside, it looks like he has everything he could possibly want.

Ghosts of Manhattan is a book that Douglas Brunt started while he was working as a CEO of a private venture-backed Internet security company. Instead of doing the unsavory things that the character in his book did, he relaxed by writing, which is how this book began. I find this bit of information about the book inspiring and makes me like the author that much more.

The main character in the novel, Nick Farmer starts off as the typical type of Wall Street guy I think of when it comes to this type of character. He is rich, wants more of everything, neglects his wife, visits strip clubs and hookers, and his drug of choice is cocaine. However, as the novel progresses, you see him as much more than that - and eventually he becomes more charming and likeable. He becomes worried about the financial outlook of the market and his company once Fred Cook, the market risk analysis makes his dire predictions. His marriage starts to become as shaky as the predictions in the market, and he realizes that he may not be going on the right path in his life. Is it too late for him to change though?

Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel. It was written very well and the author's insider information on the lifestyles and characters in it made it more realistic and readable.

* Thank you to the Touchstone of Ghosts of Manhattan, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, October 13, 2012
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Farrel Lloyd Lewis "fee dee" (Ketchikan, AK United States) - See all my reviews
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I had a hard time putting this book down. Excellent story, with believable characters. Not only is the plot interesting and intriguing, it did a good job of putting the whole mortgage meltdown in words that make sense. I believe this is his first book, but he writes with a strength and a beauty that promises more quality novels in the future. I highly recommend Ghosts of Manhattan.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read about Wall Street greed, November 3, 2012
By 
David and Carole White (Fernandina Beach, FL USA) - See all my reviews
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Author Douglas Brunt is a talented writer. This character-driven novel is compelling and easily read in a couple of sittings. Husband of Fox News' America Live anchor Megyn Kelly, Brunt is working on his second novel. Can't wait to read it. I highly recommend Ghosts of Manhattan.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars glimpse into a whole other lifestyle., October 14, 2012
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This review is from: Ghosts of Manhattan: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
Excellent book, details regarding a whole other lifestyle I will never know. Great storyline, intimate details of people trying to live the good life, with no thought anyone or anything. The historical significance makes it even better! Can't wait for the next book that will deal with politics.... ought to be good!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I'll take Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, too." Lyrics, October 21, 2012
Douglas Brunt delivers an expose of the activities that were taking place at Bear Stearns prior to that firm being prominent in the mortgage collapse that caused bank failures.

Nick Farmer is a successful bond trader with income in the millions. We see his lifestyle and those around him as his company refuses to accept the reality and implications of bundled mortgages.

His work includes keeping the people he supervises happy and willing to work their fingers to the bone for Bear Stearns. Their lives are made up of the work and after duty celebrations that include alcohol, strip joints, cocaine and prostitutes. Eventually, this takes a toll on Nick's marriage. His wife wants the old Nick back and he sees that he does too.

Fred Cook is a nerdy risk market analyst who predicts doom for Bear Stearns high mortgage back securities. He is one of the few honest people in the story.

Nick is faced with an ethical decision about supporting Fred and when he does, no one listens.

The author has stated that the characters are a conglomeration of people he know. His view of what was going on with this company paints a dismal picture of the live the employees experienced.

From the point of view of showing what was happening at Bear Stearns, this is a well done work and one with an important message.
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Ghosts of Manhattan: A Novel
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