Money to Burn

( 45 )


Michael Cantella is a rising star at Saxton Silvers, Wall Street's premier investment bank, when his new wife, Ivy Layton, vanishes on their honeymoon in the Bahamas. Four years later—with a beautiful new wife and his career back on track—Michael checks his investment accounts online . . . and discovers he's been wiped out. All the money is gone. And there's an e-mail message: Just as planned. xo xo.

Michael's life as he knows it has been liquidated. Saxton Silvers is on the ...

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Money to Burn

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Michael Cantella is a rising star at Saxton Silvers, Wall Street's premier investment bank, when his new wife, Ivy Layton, vanishes on their honeymoon in the Bahamas. Four years later—with a beautiful new wife and his career back on track—Michael checks his investment accounts online . . . and discovers he's been wiped out. All the money is gone. And there's an e-mail message: Just as planned. xo xo.

Michael's life as he knows it has been liquidated. Saxton Silvers is on the brink of bankruptcy and he's suspected of orchestrating its ruin. Framed, embroiled in corporate espionage, facing divorce—and much worse—he's desperate to clear his name as FBI agents and a psychotic assassin close in for the kill. All signs seem to suggest the unthinkable: Ivy is back from the dead . . . and a key player in Michael's deadly downfall. Or his only hope.

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Editorial Reviews

Christopher Reich
“A sleek, sophisticated thrill machine. . . . I thoroughly enjoyed this blood-soaked tale of murder and intrigue set among Wall Street’s most powerful and unscrupulous players. Highly recommended.”
Brad Meltzer
“MONEY TO BURN will get you so excited and worked up, you just may go out and steal a few million.”
Joseph Finder
“MONEY TO BURN is one of those all-too-rare novels you won’t be able to stop reading once you start. It’s a perfectly mixed cocktail of dry wit, sophisticated voice, believable characters, non-stop suspense, and plenty of vicarious pleasure.”
Madison County Herald
“Reader Warning Alert: if you plan to read James Grippando’s white-hot thriller Money to Burn, push all your scheduled activities back for a few days. It’s impossible to put down. . . . His best yet. . . . Money to Burn is a real-time, heart-racing gamble.”
National Examiner
“[A] gripping thriller.”
Romantic Times
“Grippando’s latest thriller couldn’t be more timely. . . . All the elements you expect from a Grippando novel are here, including interesting characters, a plot filled with nonstop action and suspense, and continual surprises. A splendid read.”
South Florida Sun Sentinel
“James Grippando skillfully uses the financial meltdown, along with Ponzi schemes and identity theft, in an exciting and timely thriller. . . . This is a thriller through and through.”
“Grippando is a skilled writer, and he works enough variations on the familiar theme to keep us guessing. . . . Recommend this one to fans of Joseph Finder’s PARANOIA, COMPANY MAN, or POWER PLAY.”
Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Grippando’s overwrought financial thriller gives its hero, Michael Cantella, almost as rude an awakening as Kafka’s Gregor Samsa. Scandals involving subprime lending, short selling, and Ponzi schemes provide a timely backdrop. On the eve of his 35th birthday, Cantella goes from being a star performer at a premier Wall Street investment firm to a financially wiped-out victim of identity theft. His Job-like troubles are just beginning as the fallout not only rocks his second marriage and his firm but sets him up for a life on the run. Grippando (Intent to Kill) keeps the reader guessing why Cantella specifically is targeted and how the vicious and relentless personal attacks relate to the unexplained disappearance (and presumed death) of his first wife on their wedding day seven years earlier. Despite a few plot holes, the dramatic tension remains high with a sadistic hired killer, high-stakes wheeler-dealers, and plenty of cinematic escapes. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
In Grippando's latest, a Wall Street investment banker is neither bull nor bear-he's a lamb led to slaughter. Young Michael Cantella is a fast tracker at Saxton Silvers, a fast track Wall Street investment-banking firm. The good life is his-all the perks and all the toys that inevitably accrue to those extremely clever about money. But the good life is about to take a hit. Honeymooning in the Bahamas, Michael manages to lose his bride. Did beautiful, bright, endlessly sexy Ivy drink too much, fall off their sailboat, and plunge to her death? All anyone can say for sure is that she vanished. That 13-foot tiger shark snagged by a local fisherman? Well, maybe its stomach contents were tell-tale, maybe not. Flash forward four years. Michael, now 35, and a bit less the dazzling wunderkind, remains a Saxton Silvers mainstay with a new beautiful, bright, endlessly sexy wife, and if on occasion thoughts of Ivy darken contentment, he's learned to cope. Then it happens-the relentless, incomprehensible process by which Michael is converted into a modern-day Job. Begin with the night his computer conveys the jaw-dropping news that a $13 million nest egg has vanished as completely and mysteriously as Ivy did. Soon after, Michael finds himself universally deplored as the viper who did the dirty to his own firm, bringing it to the verge of bankruptcy. Moreover-another frame-up-the cops like him for the murder of Chuck Bell, the obnoxious host of a popular TV money show. Clearly, Michael has enemies, and though he doesn't know why they want him ruined, or who they are, they better not sell him short. Grippando (Intent to Kill, 2009, etc.) serves up another full bore assault on plausibility, but his basewon't be put off by that.
Library Journal
Ranking among his best, Grippando's latest thriller (after Intent To Kill) will not disappoint his loyal readers. Michael Cantella is a successful 35-year-old financier still living with the nightmare disappearance and death of his first wife, Ivy, on their honeymoon seven years earlier. When he logs on to his computer one day to find that his investment accounts have been cleaned out and subsequently finds his personal and professional lives under attack, the past he thought was buried rises once again. Not only is Michael facing the disappearance of his money and suspicion from the FBI that he may have stolen the funds himself, but he also has to consider the possibility that Ivy may still be alive. As with Grippando's best, the twists and turns are surprising and plentiful, while the protagonist is drawn well enough that the reader cares what happens to him. VERDICT Even those who don't regularly read Grippando will appreciate this latest effort, and there will be plenty of readers staying up late to finish this in one sitting. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/09.]—Craig Shufelt, Fort McMurray P.L., Alberta
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061556319
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/25/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 450,310
  • Product dimensions: 4.06 (w) x 7.44 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

James Grippando

James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author of suspense. Cash Landing is his twenty-third novel. James Grippando was a trial lawyer for twelve years before the publication of his first novel in 1994 (The Pardon), and he now serves as counsel to Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. He lives in south Florida with his wife, three children, two cats, and a golden retriever named Max, who has no idea he's a dog.


Whether standing before the bench in a courtroom or penning one of his bestselling thrillers featuring defense attorney Jack Swyteck, James Grippando has a deep fascination with the law. He practiced as a trial lawyer for twelve years before shifting his career in a more literary direction. However, the decision was not the result of bitter disillusionment. "I actually liked practicing law," he explains on his web site. "I just wished I could do less of it. That may sound like a contradiction, but the problem with being a lawyer is that, if you get caught up in it, eventually you won't know anything about anything except what you happen to be working on at the moment."

As he contemplated leaving the law, Grippando set his sights on becoming a writer, a career shift not as drastic as one might imagine. "A trial lawyer is in many ways a story teller," he said in an essay in Mystery Scene magazine. "Still, I had no idea how to become a novelist... So, I set a couple of ground rules. First, I would do my writing on the sly, nights and weekends, while continuing to bill my obligatory two thousand hours a year. Second -- and this was by far the most important rule -- I was determined to keep it fun."

Both Grippando's legal expertise and his determination to "keep it fun" were readily apparent in his 1994 debut, The Pardon, a taut thriller that introduced Jack Swyteck, a brash young Miami criminal defense attorney who successfully defends an admitted killer -- only to find himself framed for his defendant's murder. Called "a bona fide blockbuster" by the Boston Herald, this well-plotted first novel marked Grippando as a writer to watch.

Despite the popularity of The Pardon, Grippando would not return Jack Swyteck to active duty for eight more years. His second novel, written while he was still practicing law, was a fast-paced crime thriller called The Informant. Shortly after it was published in 1996, he left his practice for full-time writing and published a string of well received stand-alones, including The Abduction, Under Cover of Darkness, and A King's Ransom.

Then, in 2002, Grippando revived Jack Swyteck, placing him at the center of Beyond Suspicion, a gripping courtroom drama involving an insurance scam and the Russian Mafia. Readers reacted so joyfully to Swyteck's return that the author has -- with very few exceptions -- kept attention focused on his beloved series protagonist. As the review journal Booklist put it : "Grippando, whose best thriller have been full of imagination and out-of-left-field surprises, looks like he's found a winner in the Swyteck series."

Good To Know

When he was a lawyer, one of Grippando's most prominent cases found him defending a group of chicken farmers against, according to his essay in Mystery Scene magazine, "the largest privately-held corporation in the world." The Wall Street Journal deemed the case "the catalyst for change in the $15 billion a year poultry industry."

Before becoming a writer, Grippando was on the fast track to becoming a partner at Steel Hector & Davis, the Miami law firm at which former Attorney General Janet Reno began her career.

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Grippando:

"In this world of revolving doors, I'm what you might call a professional anomaly. I've had the same publisher (HarperCollins) and agent (Richard Pine, along with his father Artie until his death) since the start of my career. I've also had the same editor (Carolyn Marino) since my second novel. I treasure these relationships. It is because of them that I am able to do what I love for a living."

"My first published novel was actually inspired by a near arrest in a case of total mistaken identity. One night in October 1992, tired of staring at a blank computer screen, I went for a walk before going to bed. I got about three blocks from my house when, seemingly out of nowhere, a police car pulled up onto the grassy part of the curb in front of me. A cop jumped out and demanded to know where I was going. I told him that I was just out for a walk, that I lived in the neighborhood. He didn't seem to believe me. "There's been a report of a peeping Tom," he said. "I need to check this out." I stood helplessly beside the squad car and listened as the officer called in on his radio for a description of the prowler."Under six feet tall," I heard the dispatcher say, "early to mid-thirties, brown hair, brown eyes, wearing blue shorts and a white t shirt." I panicked inside. I was completely innocent, but it was exactly me! "And a mustache," the dispatcher finally added. I sighed with relief. I had no mustache. The cop let me go.

But as I walked home, I could only think of how close I'd come to disaster. Even though I was innocent, my arrest would have been a media event, and forever I would have been labeled as "the peeping Tom lawyer." It was almost 2 a.m. by the time I returned home, but I decided that I needed to write about this. I took the feeling of being wrongly accused to the most dramatic extreme I could think of. I wrote about a man hours away from execution for a crime he may not have committed. What I wrote that night became the opening scene of The Pardon."

"My first editor on everything I write is my wife, Tiffany, who was an English Lit major."

"I can't underestimate the impact Miami -- the city in which I live -- has had on my writing. Miami evokes all the right buzz words -- smart and sexy, young and beautiful -- but it also has a self-destructive quality that triggers the kind of fascination we have with a reckless youth. It is blessed with natural beauty, but it's threatened by developers. It has the gift of cultural diversity, but is plagued by ethnic tension. Its nightlife is unrivaled, but the threat of violence is never far enough away. There's glitz, there's money, there's the see-and-be-seen -- and then there are neighborhoods that seem straight out of the third world. You often hear it said that truth is stranger than fiction, and nowhere is that more true than in south Florida. Where else could the United States Attorney lose his job after losing a big case, getting drunk, and biting a stripper? But it's where I live, it's where I practiced law, and it will always be an inspiration to my writing.

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    1. Hometown:
      Coral Gables, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 27, 1958
    2. Place of Birth:
      Waukegan, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A. with High Honors, University of Florida, 1980; J.D. with Honors, University of Florida, 1982
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Gripping Tale. Too Unbelievable to Give it Five Stars!

    I was hooked on this book from the start all the way to the finish. Michael Cantella is on a cruise vacation with Ivy and they impulsively marry on the cruise. They decide to leave the cruise to go sailing and Ivy disappears, apparently drowned and food for the sharks.

    Fast forward three years and Michael is remarried, fairly wealthy and one of the top traders as Sexton Silver, a large investment house. During a routine check of his porfolio, Michael discovers that someone has sold all his holdings at a loss and then funnelled all the funds to an off-shore account and then cleaned out that account. In a panic, Michael realizes he is the victim of identity theft.

    Michael tries to get this investigated but soon learns that his problems are just beginning as someone is doing their hardest to make Michael's firm go out of business. Not only that but they are making it appear as if Michael is behind everything and that he is lying about what happened to his portfolio.

    Michael's new wife wants a divorce and the FBI is interested in arresting Michael. The book is a non-stop thrill ride a minute and I couldn't put it down. It was like watching a silly movie (eg. American Pie) that you know is far-fetched but you find yourself compelled to watch. As I said what actually happens, is totally unbelievable to the reader and many explanations left me shaking my head. That is why I couldn't give it the full five stars.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    I wish i had that money

    You will be in shock at what happens at the end.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011


    Have not completely finished the book, but it is really getting interesting. Have always enjoyed Grippando which was the reason I puchased this book. It's a book to take with you while waiting for a doctor's appointment and then wishing the doctor is very late.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Smart, witty and cleaver writing. The arthur has managed to deliver a story filled with twists and turns thay keeps you turning the page. This is a great read, you won't be disappointed.

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  • Posted October 20, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    I throughly enjoyed reading the Jack Swyteck series by Grippando, but I ran out of books. I picked this one up because I love his writing style. I was not disappointed at all. As a matter of fact I found myself pouring through this book because I wanted to know what happened next. It is like the rest of Grippando's books with twists and turns you don't of the many reasons that I love his books. Pick this one up for a read if you want to be thrilled.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Root of All Evil

    This novel entertained me even as I snickered at how absurd some of the storyline was. It's a quick read to keep you entertained on a flight.

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  • Posted April 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    Think all the dirty dealing goes on in small rooms off dark alleys, that those are the only people willing to kill without hesitation and sometimes for pleasure? Think again as you'll find in the incendiary, un-put-downable MONEY TO BURN. This time the bad guys are in plush Wall Street offices wearing custom made suits and Hermes ties, driving Lamborghinis and summoning private helicopters whenever they choose.

    In a thriller as up to the minute as this morning's paper we're introduced to 28-year-old Michael Canatella, a guy who has it all. His star is on the rise at the investment bank Saxton Silvers, he's the chief's #1 man. Life is too good to be true, and he's found the love of his life in Ivy Layton. However, that love doesn't last long because she dies on their wedding night.

    Fast forward to seven years later. Michael has remarried - her name is Mallory and she's a trophy wife if there ever was one. Beautiful, fun, and apparently doing everything she can to make Michael happy, even to throwing a sumptuous surprise birthday party for him in the Grand Ballroom of the Pierre Hotel. She's booked the penthouse suite for them to enjoy after the party, and Michael is trying hard to focus on what he has and not what he's lost. Yet somehow the memory of Ivy is always there.

    That same night as Mallory showers he is shocked to find out what else he has lost - after opening his laptop he went to the Saxton Silvers Web page and logged on to his personal investment account. He liked to look because his liquid assets "were almost ten times the `age thirty-five goal'" he had once set for himself. But, what he saw was heart stopping - everything had been liquidated, most at a loss. How could that have happened?

    However, as bad as that was it was only the beginning as "financial weapons of mass destruction take their toll" and victims of a crazed killer mount.

    Grippando keeps us guessing until the final pages through jaw dropping twists and surprising turns. The plotting is masterful.

    - Enjoy!

    - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    Unusual Bravery

    James Grippando is one of the authors that delight me with every book. He is most comfortable with adventures in Florida. The last couple of books have been set in the north east, Boston and, now , New York. With this book he has stepped way out of his comfort zone and mine by writing about the incredible happenings on Wall Street in our recent past. This is boring subject matter to me.
    The book is about a massive Ponzi scheme. Grippando pulled off this one by adding an ending that Bernie Madoff must envy while sitting in his cell contemplating his next 200 years of incarceration.
    Congratulations on your extreme bravery in picking a very tough subject and creating a book that I didn't want to put down, Mr. Grippando!

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