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The Gods of Greenwich Hardcover – April 26, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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“Norb Vonnegut offers a gleeful peek at the world of hedge fund moguls in The Gods of Greenwich, a funny, savvy book that can be as absurd as its title.” –The New York Times
"A riveting thriller… racing relentlessly from the bedrooms of Manhattan to the boardrooms of Connecticut to the banks of Iceland. Bravo!" --Jeffrey Deaver, New York Times bestselling author of Edge
" This is way beyond just being a fast-paced financial thriller. I've not read such a rich portrayal of downfall through hubris since Tom Wolfe's Bonfire Of The Vanities." –Peter James, internationally bestselling author of Dead Like You
" The Gods of Greenwich is compelling, suspenseful, high-energy, a terrific read!”-- Thomas B. Sawyer, best-selling author of No Place to Run and head writer of Murder, She Wrote
"The Gods of Greenwich is a fast-paced and satisfying locomotive of a financial-based thriller, Dominick Dunne meets Barbarians at the Gate. Vonnegut has opened the vaults of Greenwich's elite, and oh what secrets and schemes pour out!" –Andrew Gross, #1 bestselling James Patterson co-author
“Vonnegut follows his debut, Top Producer, with another invigorating dip into the shark pool of Wall Street's hedge fund industry… Vonnegut, a financial professional himself, not only gets the language and tone of Wall Street right but has an instinctive feel for dialogue and action. Especially enjoyable is the rip-roaring finale at the Bronx Zoo.” –Publishers Weekly
“This novel ponders the age-old ramifications of greed, but Vonnegut gives it a fresh, timely twist.” –USA Today on Top Producer
“The gold standard for financial thrillers.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Top Producer
"A ripping good yarn." – Raymond Benson, author of several James Bond novels and co-author of Homefront—The Voice of Freedom
"Filled with enough insider info to send the feds to your door." – Hank Phillippi Ryan–Anthony, Macavity and Agatha–winning author of Drive Time
Things go from grim to worse for rising hedge-fund star Jimmy Cusack when his company collapses and the fund that recruits him is targeted for destruction by cutthroat bankers in Iceland and a sheikh in Qatar…. The novel moves at… a fast clip, spilling goods on recession-era wheelers and dealers as it goes.” --Kirkus
“The Gods of Greenwich is better than most financial thrillers… a page-turner plot. (Serial murders plus the Great Crash of 2008.)… The cast is an unusually motley and enjoyable crew.” –The New York Journal of Books
“Vonnegut follows up his debut (Top Producer) with a first-rate thriller set in the world of hedge fund managers during the 2008 financial meltdown…. Vonnegut's skill at creating characters at risk will make even less wealthy readers root for Cusack to survive his financial debacle with millions intact. This thriller will appeal to fans of Joseph Finder and might serve as a cautionary tale to anyone who envies the seemingly idyllic life of the superrich. But don't we all like to read about them?” –Library Journal
More About the Author
I wasn't always an author. I spent most of my career in private wealth management with several brokerage firms, primarily Morgan Stanley, and with a registered investment adviser in New York City. Back then, I always thought the people of Wall Street and their clients--smart, goofy, the complete spectrum from good to evil--would make great characters in a novel.
One thing I've learned: If a novelist can cook it up, chances are somebody is doing it. In December of 2007, I delivered the manuscript for Top Producer to St. Martin's Press. My debut novel told the story of a Ponzi scheme in the public markets--which may not sound like a big deal in the aftermath of 2008. But I completed the book twelve months before Madoff unraveled.
More recently I wrote The Trust, a novel about drugs, money laundering, a sex superstore, and the Catholic Fund. A few months after its publication, a Catholic priest was indicted in Connecticut for cooking methamphetamine. And the press reported that he bought a sex shop to launder his drug money.
My stories have been nosing up to reality, long before the headlines make the press. The reason? Fiction is liberating. Novelists can advance theories about characters, no matter how crazy, without fearing the public embarrassment of being wrong. In my case, I'm probing people born from my real-life experience in the trenches of private wealth management. I'm straddling fact and fiction, which may explain why Top Producer and The Trust were predictive. And I sincerely hope The Gods of Greenwich never comes true.
Let's see what happens with End Game, the working title for my next novel. The story begins in 1986 with an art heist at Pell College, a fictional woman's school in Newport, Rhode Island. Picasso, Monet, Modigliani, Matisse--six priceless paintings disappear for over twenty-five years. Then, one day the Modigliani is returned to Pell with a ransom demand:
"Wire us $100 million in five days, or we'll turn the others into confetti."
The hero of End Game left Wall Street for the sanctuary of a small town in New England. But he's so good at his job, so completely trustworthy and rock-solid reliable, he keeps getting sucked back into the muck of his former life. End Game takes an irreverent look at big money and big lies. And like my other novels, the stakes are deadly.
Other things to know about me: I write a column about private wealth management for the Wall Street Journal. My commentary addresses financial advisers. It's opinionated. I don't hold back. But it's unbiased, because I'm not constrained by ties to Wall Street. If you're evaluating your own financial advisers, I encourage you to take a look.
I graduated from Phillips Exeter in 1976, Harvard College in 1980 and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1986. My family and I split our time between New York City and Narragansett, Rhode Island. I'm an avid cyclist and a Trustee with the American Foundation for the Blind. And I absolutely love books on tape.
Top Customer Reviews
Wealth, power, and crime are the key ingredients in a financial thriller. In The Gods of Greenwich, they are present in abundance. Norb Vonnegut creates credible characters from the financial world, both shady and relatively honest, while adding a ruthless female contract killer to the mix. The characters are strong, familiar without becoming stereotypical. Cy Leeser is the ultimate money managing jerk, complete with a trophy wife who isn't quite good enough, a 19,000-square-foot home that isn't quite big enough, a family that isn't quite large enough, a priceless art collection that isn't quite exclusive enough, and an oversize ego that's more than enough to make readers crave his downfall. Jimmy Cusack is a young hedge fund manager who is less successful than Leeser; the sluggish economy has caused his clients (including his father-in-law) to bail, forcing him to join Leeser's hedge fund team to save his condo from foreclosure. Jimmy's wife Emi suffers from a facial recognition disorder.Read more ›
Vonnegut's books (this one and Top Producer) are both populated with well-drawn characters who truly live up to the word "character". They are quirky, memorable, sometimes vile, sometimes likable, sometimes both.
As far as the plot goes, the summary above says enough. Obscure financial instruments and deals drive the plot, but what matters is how these are merely tools of war in a high-stakes battle among Icelandic bankers, Qatari princes, Wall Street financiers, and of course our hero Jimmy Cusack, who is caught between a rock and a hard place from page one.
Gods of Greenwich excellently fills a niche in the thriller genre for stories set in the high-stakes world of global finance. What I particularly enjoy about Vonnegut's books is his ability to create a world that he personally knows well (having worked in wealth management for decades) and show it to us.Read more ›
What I found particularly interesting is that these guys (and some women) were not unskilled or uneducated. They had degrees from Wharton and Harvard and were well versed in financial markets. But not only did they hedge their funds, they were out for blood as they pounced on other funds to drive them out of business. Vonnegut's cast of characters enhances his over-the-top plot. There is Bianca Lesser, the wife of Cy, who was the author of sizzling romance novels, but now is the wife of sleazy Cy. She loved to quote Dorothy Parker, which enhanced her actions and upgraded the novel. Victor Lee, another trader, believed women were the best traders so he would pop Premarin every day to give him the edge! James' wife, Emi, daughter of old money, has prosopagnosia, an inability to recognize faces. James must wear a pin at all times for purposes of identifying himself as her husband!
The plot involves cold-blood killing and the financial manipulation of the markets in the U.S., Iceland and Mideast.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting plot. Writing was okay. All considered would give it a B.Published 8 months ago by george aronoff
It is rare to find an author with great financial expertise and the imagination to weave key recent financial anomalies into a riveting story. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Roy
This is one of the best books I have read in quite some time. It makes me wonder how mediocre books rise to the top ten in sales, while well written books, with great story lines... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Anonymous
The "Gods of Greenwch" was Norb Vonnegut's second book. Although good, it was not as good as his first. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Johnny A.
If you enjoy a read about fictional financial dealings and the double dealings of the industry, you will thoroughly enjoy this book.Published 23 months ago by achillen
A good read for everyone - a great read if you know Greenwich and don't think that 06830 is the only place to have a roof over your head.Published 23 months ago by henry ziegler
I had never heard of this writer, but since his name reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. I had to try this one. I am not sorry I did! Excellent suspense!Published 24 months ago by Rev. Caroline
As I write more reviews while I'm semi-retired, I become more aware that I'm a reader, not a writer. I purchased this First Edition Hardcover book on Amazon.com on August 14, 2012. Read morePublished on January 10, 2014 by Amazon Customer