Ned Allen is a brash young ad salesman for a striving computer magazine in Manhattan, and the perils and pleasures of such a life are brilliantly set out in the opening chapters. Then a German conglomerate (in what may be a particularly timely reference among book people) takes over, and disaster strikes. In no time, Ned is without a job and, because of a quarrel he got into with a powerful space buyer and an enraged swing at his creepy German boss, is perhaps unemployable. Meanwhile, wife Lizzie is tiring of his remoteness and tantrums. To the rescue comes an old school chum who works for a high-profile but shady real estate tycoon, and Ned finds himself enmeshed in money laundering and murder?with him as the suspect.
Several years into his career as an ad salesman for a successful computer magazine, Ned Allen seems to have it all' an ambitious, beautiful wife, a fabulous Manhattan apartment, a clear view of the top of the corporate ladder. Until he's faced with a seemingly clear-cut moral choice, that is, his company sold, and Ned suddenly, brutally fired. Empty-handed, on the verge of losing his marriage, he is at the end of his rope when salvation occurs in the unlikely form of an old high school friend who is working for Jack Ballantine, a former real estate tycoon with a shady past who has recently made a much-heralded, public comeback. Against his better judgment, Ned accepts a job working for Ballantine's latest venture, an offshore private equity fund, telling himself it's just another job. But all too son, he realizes the repercussions of his Faustial bargain, as it turns out that Ballantine has other uses for Ned, including blackmail, illegal banking activities...and murder.
Ned Allen is your typical ad salesman. He sells ads for a prominent computer magazine, living in a very nice New York apartment with his beloved wife Lizzie, who works in public relations.
All of a sudden, the company he works for is bought twice within the span of two months, and he is out the door. He life begins to stumble on its downward-mobility course where is sells software by phone. Finally he is rescued by a an old buddy who tells him about a wonderful new equity fund sales job that he would be perfect for.
This is frankly the best part of the book and on the one hand you wish that this segment were the whole book, but on the other hand you know that Ned might have been more suspicious and exercised more due diligence if he had not been so desperate at that point.
His native street smarts do kick in, of course, and save him from being hopelessly set up for a murder said street smarts also help him set up his own revenge. Has to be read to be appreciated. Many parts of this novel are surprisingly applicable to the financial scene a la 2008 or so. One minor character also happens to have worked for a dozen years in London for a little place called Lehmann Brothers....