Top Producer: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

In a world that moves as fast as finance does, top producers have to think three steps ahead and make snap decisions. Theirs is a blurred version of reality, one that conceals moves as much as it rewards the bold ones. All too easily, scams can be disguised as success; plotting can be mistaken for killer instincts. And as Grove O'Rourke finds out, "Nothing obscures vulnerability like success. Nothing that is, except for friendships."

But this book isn't about stocks and ...

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Top Producer: A Novel

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Overview

In a world that moves as fast as finance does, top producers have to think three steps ahead and make snap decisions. Theirs is a blurred version of reality, one that conceals moves as much as it rewards the bold ones. All too easily, scams can be disguised as success; plotting can be mistaken for killer instincts. And as Grove O'Rourke finds out, "Nothing obscures vulnerability like success. Nothing that is, except for friendships."

But this book isn't about stocks and bonds--it's about people. About Grove O'Rourke, top producer at the investment firm of Sachs, Kidder, and Carnegie, and about his best friend, Charlie Kelemen, whose spectacular murder is carried out in front of hundreds of horrified party-goers at the opening of the novel. It's about Charlie's widow, who comes to Grove for help after her husband's death, even though she's hiding a dark secret. And it's about how money--vast sums of money--can cover up even the most glaring imper fections in relationships, and fool everyone.

Well, almost everyone.
With the ease of someone who has lived in the world of top producers, NorbVonnegut has crafted a sharp, dark thriller that will make you think--and then double-check your investments.

Don't miss Norb Vonnegut's latest Grove O'Rourke thriller, The Trust.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Vonnegut’s debut meets the gold standard for financial thrillers as it puts the frenzied, cutthroat world of Wall Street’s best stockbrokers (aka the “top producers”) on brilliant display. Ripples from the bizarre murder of Charlie Kelemen, wealthy hedge fund operator, quickly reach his best friend, Grove O’Rourke. A top producer at the boutique investment bank Sachs, Kidder and Carnegie, O’Rourke tries to help Kelemen’s widow sort out some financial questions. This process leads him deeper and deeper into a labyrinth of deceit. As fallout from Charlie’s death and dealings start to taint O’Rourke, the sharks, inside and outside his own firm, smell blood and begin to circle. O’Rourke won’t go down without a fight, and not all the blood in the water will be his. Vonnegut, himself a veteran fund manager, handles the arcane terminology and slang of Wall Street with aplomb, never letting it get in the way of the story. 100,000 first printing. (Sept.)
Library Journal

In his debut, Wall Street executive Vonnegut (and yes, a distant relation to Kurt) presents Grove O'Rourke, a 32-year-old hotshot at a New York investment firm, where he manages $2 billion for his wealthy clients. When Grove witnesses the gruesome murder of his best friend and mentor, Charlie Kelemen, and learns that Charlie's wife, Sam, knows nothing about her husband's dealings and is penniless, he sets out to track down the killers and his friend's missing funds. Grove soon finds that Charlie had many secrets, some of them personally devastating. For those who have followed the demise of Madoff's Ponzi scheme, the crux of the plot will seem either old stuff or news ripped from the headlines. And, unless readers are up on zero-cost dollars, downside protection, delta hedging, prepaid forwards, and derivatives, their eyes will likely glaze over at some of the financial maneuvers. VERDICT 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 (the author has a two-book deal). [See Prepub Mystery, LJ5/1/09.]—Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson


—Ron Terpening
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429931410
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2009
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 225,202
  • File size: 517 KB

Meet the Author

A NOTE FROM AUTHOR NORB VONNEGUT

A funny thing happened during my 60-hour weeks as a wealth advisor. I discovered the joy of writing. For years my partners and I wrote our clients about investment decisions, why we bought this stock or sold that one. I loved the wordplay and believe our letters woke an inner beast.

They never quite sated my appetite, though. I longed to write stories about Wall Street's people, the crazy things that percolate through trading floors and broker bullpens. My people, characters that is, hail from the trenches of finance. Brokers. Traders. Sales assistants. There is the occasional CEO, or the bigger than life hedgie. But I am not trying to pluck some legend from the business press and fictionalize that person. My characters find themselves thrust into uncomfortable worlds by forces far beyond their control.

Working on Wall Street's front lines prepped me to write this fiction. I was a Managing Director at Silvercrest Asset Management, a money management firm where I had the great fortune to work. I spent the previous 14 years on the "sell-side," industry jargon for brokerages and investment banks, including stints at Morgan Stanley's Private Wealth Management division, Paine Webber, and Chase Manhattan in Melbourne, Australia. Ten of those years were with a white-shoe brokerage, the place where I began writing Top Producer.


Norb Vonnegut writes thrillers and non-fiction commentary (The Huffington Post, Acrimoney) about Wall Street behind closed doors. He has appeared on Bloomberg News as well as the Laura Ingraham and Judith Regan shows. Top Producer, his debut novel, was a featured pick of Today, SmartMoney and is published in eight languages. Norb built his wealth-management career with Morgan Stanley and other Wall Street institutions. A Harvard college and Harvard Business graduate, he splits his time between New York and Rhode Island.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    well written financial thriller

    The murder of wealthy hedge fund operator Charlie Kelemen has sent shock waves up and down Wall St. Especially stunned is his thirty two years old best friend Grove O'Rourke, who manages two billion dollar in accounts at Sachs, Kidder and Carnegie Investment Bank. Grove saw the homicide along with a few hundred people.

    Feeling survivor guilt and wanting to pay homage to his best friend, Grove learns that Charlie's widow Sam apparently is broke, which makes no sense since Keleman was worth a fortune. He tries to help her while avoiding the financial death by association that frequently takes down Top Producers like him. However, his efforts begin to look futile as his peers and superiors at the bank go after him with ferocity as do the outside competitors. Still Charlie refuses to walk away from the fight for survival at Sachs, Kidder and Carnegie or from learning what happened to O'Rourke's money.

    This is a well written financial thriller that digs deep into some of the voodoo fund flow of Wall St that seems relevant with all that has happened over the past few years. Overall the story line is fast-paced although the plot can slow down with the profundity of fund management as non practitioners will have to be totally focused. Still the tale is fun mostly because Grove is a likable hero swimming in toxic waters. TOP PRODUCER is an enjoyable insider thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2011

    Highly recommended - should be required reading

    Ever wonder what really goes on in the pit at the stock exchange? Ever wonder what goes on behind the closed doors of the offices of the ones who aren't in the pit and really run things moneywise? Ever wonder how the country got to where we are tonday? Read this book. Is it really fiction? If anything it should be read as part of a required education for all Americans, so maybe when this downturn happens again we may know what to look for and stay out of the mess.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2011

    Great Read

    Awesome summertime read, fast-paced....don't start it unless you have time to finish! I couldn't put it down and was up way past my bedtime, well worth the loss of sleep! Can't wait to see what he comes up with next!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Good story

    If you like Wall Street thrillers, this is a god story, and timely too. I am in business so, I enjoyed it more so

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2009

    Top Producer's Stock Soars!

    Top Producer is a mystery/thriller set against the high streets of finance and the back alleys of corruption. That itself should be enough to scare you!

    If considering a "hedge fund" in the past, this reader's thought patterns would go towards money put away for purposes of purchasing and installing new landscaping. Understandably, I never quite followed how people made such a killing (no pun intended) on hedge funds. Yet I found the explanations of "Wall St. speak" in this book easy to follow, even for a financial feather brain such as myself. In fact I think I even learned a thing or two about the investment business while completely caught up in the story of Grover O'Rourke.

    In a world where even goldfish are sharks, Grover (a financial adviser at Sachs, Kidder and Carnegie) and his team are the angel fish of the aquarium. Who would think that a financial adviser had a heart, much less a sense of morality? (My first adviser churned my account while I lived overseas, my last one is currently facing 12 - 25 years on SEC charges.)

    Proving the old adage that "no good deed goes unpunished", the renegade hero wades in over his head to help the widow of a friend murdered in a freakishly public display - and the waters are not safe for swimming. Nonetheless, Grover O'Rourke battles the current - managing by willpower, luck and considerable effort to keep his head above water.

    The humor, vivid imagery and story line made for reading into the wee hours of the morning. I rooted for the unlikely hero and his small, undervalued school of accomplices. I feared the sharks circling the tank. I never saw what was coming, the red herrings were too tasty.

    I'll be looking forward to more works from Norb Vonnegut.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good Producer

    Norb Vonnegut has given us a financial thriller, except for most of us we have to gloss over the financial part. I don't understand that Wall Street jargon, but the good thing is that you don't have to. What we have here is a good story about a scam, with lots of timely allusions to more recent and famous scams. You'll like the main characters- at least the good ones- and the pacing of the story will keep you into it until you finish. Then you will probably thank your lucky stars that you don't have enough money to get scammed bigtime- unless you do of course, in which case you had best not read the book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Very interesting

    I enjoyed this story. I do feel that the book is better appreciated by those who dapple in the stock market.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Predictable Storyline and Plot

    This book has a gripping opening and hook, but it gets lost in its own complexity mid-way through. The author really goes to some length to add extraneous detail to every scene. It's almost obnoxious.

    I didn't mind reading the book because the subject matter - hedge funds, Wall Street, corruption - seems so compelling. Whether the author is a Vonnegut or not, the book could have been written within 250 pp.

    There's more exposition about stock regulation than page-turning action. The suspense gets solidly redundant as the book tries to build up the plot. Investor #1 wants her money back, investor #2 wants her money back, etc.

    I might have enjoyed the book more had there been more character development. The story essentially revolves around the main character without much attention to anyone else. The book could have used a little more action as well to make it a 4 star book.

    Reading the book, I almost got the sense that author Norb Vonnegut wanted to create a character he could live through vicariously. This made the character and the storyline one-dimensional and predictable

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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