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The Trust Hardcover – July 17, 2012

78 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Grove O'Rourke Series

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Editorial Reviews


“Mr. Vonnegut dreams up diabolically elegant business crimes, then sends smart-talking characters to follow the money. He draws upon his own Wall Street experience (with Morgan Stanley, among other employers) to provide the sound of insider acumen.... There's enough novelty to this plot to set "The Trust" apart from garden-variety business thrillers, the ones in which Bernard Madoff stand-ins run Ponzi schemes. Anyway, Mr. Vonnegut is just getting started.” ―The New York Times

“A terrific summer read.” ―

“A fast and furious novel from Vonnegut (The Gods of Greenwich, 2011, etc.) and a guaranteed good time.” ―Kirkus

“The Trust is a fast, fun, totally engrossing thriller that hooked me on page one and never let go. Vonnegut knows the financial world inside and out, and his expertise raises this excellent story to the highest level. The Trust is a winner from start to finish. I loved it.” ―Christopher Reich, New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Betrayal

The Trust is great fun. Reels you in fast ... then goes like lightning.” ―Stephen Frey, New York Times bestselling author of Heaven's Fury

“Norb Vonnegut is the Nelson DeMille of finance thrillers. Travelling with his characters and getting the inside skinny on the brokerage business is a must for all fiction lovers!” ―Alexandra Lebenthal, author of The Recessionistas

“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 on The Gods of Greenwich

“The black comedy of life in the fast lanes of high level finance powers a wonderful new thriller by Norb Vonnegut, The Gods of Greenwich, set in the poshest reaches of Connecticut and Manhattan... the secret of how Cy "hedges" is the Gods of Greenwich plot equivalent of what the callow young lawyer in The Firm found out about his too-good-to-be-true Memphis law office -- and Vonnegut ratchets up the suspense and the laughs as we are taken deep into "Hedgistan" (i.e. Greenwich).” ―The Connecticut Post on The Gods of Greenwich

“The pieces of this plot mesh as smoothly as a well executed trade.” ―Bloomberg News on The Gods of Greenwich

“If anybody can turn international finance and hedge funds into a riveting thriller, it's Norb Vonnegut. The Gods of Greenwich is a pure delight, racing relentlessly from the bedrooms of Manhattan to the boardrooms of Connecticut to the banks of Iceland. Bravo!” ―Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author of Edge on The Gods of Greenwich

“Norb Vonnegut offers you a witty, keenly-observed peek into the sometimes-lethal world of very high-stakes gambling politely known as "investing," and into the rare types who play the game. The Gods of Greenwich is compelling, suspenseful, high-energy, a terrific read!” ―Thomas B. Sawyer, best-selling author of No Place to Run, Head Writer of Murder, She Wrote on The Gods of Greenwich

“Norb Vonnegut's The Gods of Greenwich might very well be a harbinger of a new thriller sub-genre: the Financial Thriller. Not only does Vonnegut tell a ripping good yarn, but he makes sense out of the confusing world of hedge funds, stocks, CDOs, and derivatives, and manages to entertain at the same time!” ―Raymond Benson, author of several James Bond novels and co-author of Homefront--The Voice of Freedom on The Gods of Greenwich

“Vonnegut writes richly and wonderfully, every page sparking with inventiveness and wit. This is way, 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 on The Gods of Greenwich

“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 on The Gods of Greenwich

The Gods of Greenwich is a fast-paced and satisfying locomotive of a financial-based thriller, Dominick Dunne meet 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 on The Gods of Greenwich

“On the money! This wickedly revealing and terrifyingly authentic financial thriller is clever, timely, and filled with enough insider info to send the feds to your door. Scheming, backstabbing and international intrigue--propelled by Vonnegut's trademark wit and page-turning plot. Bottom line? Terrific.” ―Hank Phillippi Ryan--Anthony, Macavity and Agatha winning author of Drive Time on The Gods of Greenwich

“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 on The Gods of Greenwich

“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 on The Gods of Greenwich

“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 on The Gods of Greenwich

“Norb Vonnegut, who has made a career out of wealth management, pulls off a compelling thriller that centers on the murder of hedge-fund schemer Charlie Kelemen: He's tossed into a public aquarium and munched by sharks…This novel ponders the age-old ramifications of greed, but Vonnegut gives it a fresh, timely twist.” ―USA Today on Top Producer

“Vonnegut's debut meets the gold standard for financial thrillers as it puts the frenzied, cutthroat world of Wall Street's best stockbrokers on brilliant display.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Top Producer

“Norb Vonnegut makes a sterling debut in Top Producer, a financial thriller extraordinaire that reads like a 2009 version of Tom Wolfe s brilliant Bonfire of the Vanities for a world that has lost its taste for Wall Street excesses....A former wealth manager himself, Vonnegut paints a vivid picture of life lived between million-dollar trades. But he also writes with an aplomb that makes Top Producer a literary reimagining of the film Wall Street where murder, as well as money, never sleeps.” ―Providence Journal-Bulletin (Rhode Island) on Top Producer

“The story mirrors reality ― in ways that may now surprise even its author, who finished the book before the economic meltdown. The two decades Vonnegut spent as a wealth advisor are evident in the venom he brings to descriptions…and in his grasp of the cutthroat world of finance.” ―, chosen one of SmartMoney’s 7 Smart Books for Fall on Top Producer

“Shockingly accurate.” ―Bloomberg on the Economy on Top Producer

“Though it's hard these days to feel sympathy for investment bankers and stockbrokers, Vonnegut makes his irreverent protagonist someone we can root for as he pursues crooks who use the redemptive language of hedge funds to hide financial malfeasance. A promising debut.” ―Library Journal on Top Producer

“A smartly constructed tale with an appealing lead.” ―Booklist on Top Producer

“Norb Vonnegut's Top Producer begins where Liar's Poker and The Bonfire of the Vanities left off and puts an electrifying spin on the winner-take-all culture of Wall Street. Turn to the first page and plunge into the shark-infested waters of high finance and greed.” ―Brent Ghelfi, ITW Award-nominated author of Volk's Game and The Venona Cable on Top Producer

“A timely read as Vonnegut opens the kimono exposing the intricate cause and effect of finance and murder. He shares his well-earned insights and literary acumen in a manner that entices the reader to reach out for the next chapter. A must for all investors wishing to avoid the next Bernie Madoff!” ―Joe Grano, Former CEO UBS/PaineWebber on Top Producer

“For those who have worked on Wall Street or those who have an interest in 'the business', Top Producer captures the true essence of the people, the pace, and the pulse as well as any novel written in a long time. A must read!!” ―Larry Doyle, Sense on Cents on Top Producer

“[Vonnegut] knows what he's talking about.” ―John Searles, book editor at Cosmopolitan, speaking on the Today Show on Top Producer

From the Back Cover

Grove O'Rourke, the unforgettable hero of Norb Vonnegut's smash hit Top Producer, is back―with a vengeance―in a "Fast and furiouS" (Kirkus Reviews) read that will keep readers breathlessly turning the pages.

One sultry morning in Charleston, South Carolina, real-estate magnate Palmer Kincaid's body washes ashore, the apparent victim of an accidental drowning. His daughter asks Grove O'Rourke for help getting the family's affairs in order. An easy decision―Palmer was Grove's client and mentor. He steps in as interim head of the Palmetto Foundation, an organization Palmer created to encourage philanthropy. It's a tough role, full of emotional politics. But when Grove authorizes a $25 million transfer to a Filipino orphanage, requested by a Catholic priest and endorsed by the family, he discovers something has gone terribly wrong.

"If anybody can turn international finance into a riveting thriller, it's Norb Vonnegut."―JeffERy Deaver

Biscuit Hughes, a small-time lawyer, notifies Grove that the money may be supporting a sex superstore outside Fayetteville, North Carolina. Grove and Biscuit join forces to investigate. But the deeper they dig, the worse things get. Palmer's widow disappears, and the FBI starts breathing down their necks. Grove finds himself in a desperate race to identify a shadowy figure who's pulling the strings and who will stop at nothing to wrest another $40 million from the Palmetto Foundation.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (July 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 125000389X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250003898
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #809,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The New York Times describes my novels as "money porn," "a red-hot franchise," and "glittery thrillers about fiscal malfeasance." Through fiction I explore the dark side of money and focus on the motivations of those who have it, want more, and will steamroll anybody who gets in their way.

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bill Sanders VINE VOICE on August 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Lately I've hit a patch of good books. I note this because a so-so book can get a great review after reading some not-so-hot efforts. However, this book is an excellent book in the context of other great books (I say 'great' in the sense they I enjoyed them; not that they're classics.)

Like all good books, this one has an interesting story and characters involving a stock broker who finds himself in hot water with criminals, an old flame whose father mysteriously died, a big attorney named 'Biscuit' who looks like an unmade bed, and an FBI agent who was so tenacious that I was ready to confess to her--anything!

I suppose with a name like Vonnegut, people wonder whether Norb is Kurt's son, and the answer is no--he's his 4th cousin, but I doubt that the there's much genetic connection in the writing. This book reminds me more of some of the early stuff that Robert Ludlum did, when, in my option, Ludlum was at his best. Also, I found some of the insights that John Grisham portrayed in novel The Firm. This is a flat out fun book to read.

The Trust provides insight into a world that most of us know little about--seriously big money, big institutions, and the people who go after it and protect it. Everything from the massive problems that drug lords have in laundering their money to the regulations that keep the money in legitimate circulation is laid out so that anyone can understand it. On top of that, Vonnegut mixes in a good thriller, red herrings, and lots of fancy footwork with nary a misstep.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sheryl L. Katz VINE VOICE on August 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoy a good mystery, but I get sick of mysteries where the entire plot revolves around solving a murder or murders. Vonnegut's books still involve murders (I wish he'd write one that doesn't), but they also look at the angle of solving the financial crime. The hero Grove O'Rourke is a little too unbelievable, just too perfect. But the book moves pretty fast and the mystery which involves a charitable foundation is interesting. For me it was more compelling than most mysteries.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. Duane Wadsworth on September 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One measure of how I feel about a book and its author is when I'm reading the latest novel by an author previously unknown to me, and feel compelled to go back and read a previous work. This is the case with Norb Vonnegut's "The Trust." Second, if my page turning rate increases as I go through a novel because I can't wait to see what happens, then that book is clearly a winner in my mind. "The Trust" is that kind of `page-turner' as it roars to a satisfying conclusion after several well-crafted surprise situations. The main character, Grove O'Rourke, is an complex Wall Street character in this thriller set in a business climate with locales of New York City and Charleston. Southern hospitality meets Wall Street - the result turns out to be high crime and murder. `nuf said; read this book and pardon me as I have to download the first Grove O'Rourke novel, "Top Producer."
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia K. Robertson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What a nice surprise! I selected The Trust by Norb Vonnegut through Amazon Vine, although I had no prior knowledge of Vonnegut or any of his previous books. After finishing The Trust, I'm a new fan. This thriller can go toe-to-toe with the other more well-known authors, but Vonnegut also provides a bit of humor to offset the money laundering, bank fraud, killings, kidnappings, and torture. Plus, most of it takes place in my favorite city--Charleston, SC. It can't get much better than that.

Grove O'Rourke is a major New York City Wall Street stockbroker, and a top earner for SKC. O'Rourke was born and raised in Charleston, although he didn't come from high society or big money. On a Friday afternoon, he gets a panic phone call from his home-town mentor, Palmer Kincaid. The real estate mogul turned philanthropist calls O'Rourke for help, but before the younger man can respond, Kincaid is found dead--apparently of an accident on his boat. Kincaid runs the prestigious Palmetto Foundation, a company that filters money for altruistic means. In his will, Kincaid "appoints" O'Rourke to take his place on the board of the Palmetto Foundation. The other two board members are Kincaid's daughter, Claire, and his second-wife, JoJo. Before his death, Kincaid apparently made a major million-dollar deal to give money to a Catholic organization providing help to orphans in the Philippines. Father Ricardo, director of the Manila Society for Children at Risk seems just a bit too pushy. Plus, O'Rourke is contacted by a Fayetteville, NC lawyer, Biscuit Hughes, a lawyer representing residents who are angry over the opening of a sex-superstore in their neighborhood.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Niall Gannon on July 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The trust had me hanging on every word, and I devoured it over four nights. The character development was masterful. The pace was even dizzying at times. All necessary parts of the recipe that makes this story great. Norb Vonnegut transports the reader into the heart and soul of Charleston which makes the book and it's characters so intriguing.

I'm looking forward to reading my next Vonnegut book. Norb, you've done yourself proud.
Niall J Gannon
Author, Investing Strategies for the High Net Worth Investor (McGraw-Hill 2009)
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