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Ghosts of Manhattan: A Novel Paperback – May 14, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 384 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Former Internet exec Brunt offers up a savage, jaded, and comical depiction of freewheeling Wall Street bond traders during their precollapse heyday in this engaging debut… As Nick’s life, his marriage, and the U.S. economy edge closer to meltdown, Brunt brings all the pieces together for a satisfying climax to this compulsively readable novel.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Mix together Charles Dickens, Theodore Dreiser and Tom Wolfe and you get novelist Doug Brunt and his modern day financier character, Nick Farmer. Faust would have a feast with so many of the people populating Farmer’s world – and you will have a literary feast devouring this book.” (Steve Forbes, Chairman, Forbes Media)

“After the mortgage bubble burst, if you ever wondered “What were they thinking?” GHOSTS OF MANHATTAN provides a thoughtful and thrilling portrait of what they were doing instead of thinking.” (John Stossel, Fox News)

"Awesomeness." (Kid Rock)

"With his noir-ish debut novel, former broker (and spouse of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly) Brunt delves not just into the mechanics of the financial crash, but also the mindset that created the explosive state of affairs…. A smart shot at the absurdity of Wall Street and the long fall that brought us all down.” (Kirkus)

“Douglas Brunt…is a persuasive storyteller…Reading [Ghosts of Manhattan], it is easy to understand how the worst of Wall Street came apart. But in Nick’s determination to escape his own inevitable destruction we are uplifted and find renewed hope for a cleaned-up world without Bear Stearns.” (Forbes.com)

About the Author

Until 2011, Douglas Brunt was CEO of Authentium, Inc., a security company. His first novel, Ghosts of Manhattan, was a New York Times bestseller. A Philadelphia native, he lives in New York with his wife and three children. Visit DouglasBrunt.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451672608
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451672602
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (384 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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