The author of this book knows a lot about backtracking in the wilderness, playing craps at Vegas, operating a boat, fishing, brain cancer and most of all rescuing failing companies from bankruptcy. All of this knowledge he generously shares in this book.
The hero, Joe Hart, a saintly fellow from the Adirondacks and former submarine commander, now practicing as a successful lawyer in South Carolina, loses his wife in a pointless drive-by shooting. He retreats to the hills of his native state -- but is brought back to reality by someone with whom he once as a kid had a fleeting brush whose car dealership empire is about to collapse.
We learn in great, and fascinating detail, how Joe negotiates a deal with the bank to rescue the company. Joe also has in mind to makeover the dealership CEO's moral life by forcing him to take an interest in a collection of individuals that Joe calls his "collectibles" -- people who for various reasons need help.
All this makes for some interesting reading and even leads to a fairly moving conclusion. But it doesn't add up to a novel. Why? Because the characters are simply not real. They don't feel real or sound real -- they are Madam Tussaud type characters that go through the motions the author has devised for them and say, as if by rote, their lines.
Despite this criticism, I quite enjoyed this book. I felt as if I were in the company of an expert guide who really knew what he was talking about and I learned quite a bit about corporate turnarounds. But I never quite cared enough what happened to this collection of "collectibles" because I didn't believe in them as characters enough.