Friday, July 6, 2012

Books I Love: The Darlings

Typically by the time Sol was pitching an exit strategy, the client was already so far in the woods that they had lost sight of any ambient light long ago. Sol’s job was to lead them out of the darkness.

Before becoming an author, Cristina Alger was an analyst at Goldman Sachs and an attorney. This is important because her pedigree means that her debut novel The Darlings is like The Devil Wears Prada. You know she knows what she’s writing about and you’re about to get an inside glimpse of that world. In the case of The Darlings it is high finance in New York City, the upper echelons of the hedge fund set. Within the first hundred pages Alger assembles a fully fleshed cast of characters, encompassing secretaries, associates, SEC agents, attorneys and journalists–the full spectrum of people who make Wall Street run. Having met them you’ll be hard-pressed to stop reading.

Carter Darling is the scion of a hedge fund firm with a chic, well-connected wife and two perfectly bred daughters who married as they should and brought their husbands into, not only the family fold, but the company. Theirs is an insulated society, both socially and professionally. It’s only when one of the family’s oldest friends, and the manager of the company’s largest fund, kills himself, that cracks appear in the smooth porcelain of their world. Each family member is faced with decisions they never thought they’d have to make.

The Darlings is a thriller in the best sense of the word. There are no car chases, explosives, or people shooting guns but the tension is palpable on every page. This is intrigue of the highest order; that which occurs between people and in the dark spaces of each man’s mind.

In the wake of the Madoff scandal, the avarice and vicissitudes of Wall Street have provided fodder for all kinds of writers but while the The Darlings’ plot will draw you in and grip you it is Alger’s quiet look at the life underneath the surface that makes this book such a strong read. The Darlings is about ethics, loyalty, and what happens when those lines are crossed and bonds broken. Assume nothing.


Sydney Shop Girl said...

Thanks for the review, Catherine!

I've found the novel in the Kindle store and am downloading.

SSG xxx

Catherine said...

Oh, fun! let me know what you think. I was not expecting it to get so suspenseful but wham- it did!

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