Thursday, June 11, 2009

Top Producer

A couple of weeks ago I was invited by to become a "Vine Voice". That means I get to select a book or two from their special catalogue to review, most often before it is actually published. I was excited to give it a try and so I selected Top Producer by Norb Vonnegut as my first option. I just finished it during my lunch period and am very anxious to let you know just how good this one is.

Top Producer is a "financial thriller" novel that absolutely keeps you turning the pages. We are introduced to Grove O'Rourke, a top producing stockbroker in a major Wall Street firm. Mr Vonnegut's writing style is very apparent right from the beginning, demonstrating elegant word choice and interesting dialogue that belies the fact that this is his very first novel. The action kicks off very quickly as a close friend of Grove's is murdered. The actual murder takes place in a public venue and we readers, along with a large crowd experience one of the most interesting murders to ever take place in fiction. I won't spoil that for you but rest assured it is an awesome scene.

The novel is largely a mystery novel as Grove tries to solve the murder and sort out all of the motivations of the various players. But his own life is in danger as well and thus the suspense keeps ratcheting up as he gets closer to solving the mystery. This book is well plotted, allowing us just enough clues to figure things out at the same time as the protagonist. When you get that "ah-ha!" moment, you realize the clues were there all along. And the ending is very satisfying. Some readers may struggle with the financial terminology that is sprinkled throughout but I think the author does a great job of explaining what we need to know without being condescending. The big name in financial thrillers is Stephen Frey and I feel this book stands up very well if compared side by side. Mr Vonnegut has great credentials to write this kind of story and I believe his background is essential to understanding the day-to-day pace and motivations of people in the high finance business. He writes with flare, captivates his audience, and ties together the plot most effectively. I was impressed and firmly believe he has a great future in writing fiction.

So watch the bookstore shelves in September 2009 for this one.

I haven't read the Stephen King short story from Skeleton Crew yet so will comment on that after the next book. Speaking of that, I think I'll return to the young adult series, "The Warriors" with book number 5.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire