A sophisticated pause-resister about a wealthy New York family embroiled in a financial scandal with cataclysmic consequences.
Now that he's married to Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to New York society and all of its luxuries: a Park Avenue apartment, weekends in the Hamptons, bespoke suits. When Paul loses his job, Carter offers him the chance to head the legal team at his hedge fund. Thrilled with his good fortune in the midst of the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression, Paul accepts the position.
But Paul's luck is about to shift: a tragic event catapults the Darling family into the media spotlight, a regulatory investigation, and a red-hot scandal with enormous implications for everyone involved. Suddenly, Paul must decide where his loyalties lie - will he save himself while betraying his wife and in-laws or protect the family business at all costs?
Cristina Alger's glittering debut novel interweaves the narratives of the Darling family, two eager SEC attorneys, and a team of journalists all racing to uncover - or cover up - the truth. With echoes of a fictional Too Big to Fail and the novels of Dominick Dunne, The Darlings offers an irresistible glimpse into the highest echelons of New York society - a world seldom seen by outsiders - and a fast-paced thriller of epic proportions.
©2012 Cristina Alger (P)2012 Penguin
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"Another Madoff Spin-off"
Fundamentally a fictional version of - or perhaps an "homage" to - the Madoff family saga, this book is every bit as gripping as the true story. Even without the presence of young children on stage in this particular iteration of the "deal with the devil", the book has depth, suspense, and ingenious twists and turns, especially at the end. The writing is fast-paced, descriptive and multi-layered, but watch out if your attention wanders because you may lose track of the character connections.
The author manages to get in something for everyone - there are personal histories, backstories and lots of front-end action - it all comes into play and it all works. The timeline structure functions well and adds to the suspense, with the primary action taking place during a Thanksgiving weekend (similar time frame as the Madoff story), and each section is given a clock point (5:45, 8:15 etc.) which functions as an effective and ominous narrative device.
The narration could not have been better. Fried gives an evenly-toned performance, with subtle cues when needed, but never turns up the volume for the sake of histrionics.
I may go back and re-read this one - I am sure there are many details that I missed the first time around.
"Fun Novel (Early Beach Read)"
Perfect beach read (listen) for anyone connected to finance. Also good for running (plot moves nicely). Thei book might not endure, but it's a well constructed, sophisticated and believable Madoff-type drama. Reminded me a bit of the JC Oates book "We Were the Mulvaneys." I don't often comment on the narration, but the reader of this one was outstanding -- nuanced voices without screaming for attention.
"Okay, not great"
This book is a good glimpse into New York society but the characters are flimsy and the story is only so-so. This would be a good book to read on an airplane-and sometimes you need books like this to take you into another world for a little bit. Unfortunately, it wasn't very memorable.
There's an interesting story of the 2008 financial crisis hidden under the all the overstuffed cast of characters. It was hard to keep track of all the names and relationships, on top of the complexities of financial malfeasance.
"I couldn’t wait for this one to be over."
Slow, slow narrative about the New York City super rich elite and other Wall Street insider stuff.
In the end what you’re left with is a jumbled rehash of the Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal and the story about the main characters remains completely underdeveloped and gets lost in the mix.
The first half of the book was tolerable, but part two was so boring that I found myself hoping someone would die or just get arrested already. There was endless recounting of conversations between characters that quite frankly, I couldn’t care about.
Too many characters. Not enough character development. Weak and over-done story.
"Could have been a great story."
No, I would not recommend this book. Very similiar to the Bernie Madoff story but the reader was terrible.
He sounded like a bad broadway actor.
"I enjoyed it"
There were too many characters for all of them to be well-developed, but the story kept me entertained as the seemingly separate people come together in a semi-plausible way. It's clearly a Madoff spinoff, but you know that going in.
I found this book to be unremarkable and predictable. The prose was bland, the characters formulaic and the outcome foreseen.
The author sets this novel amid the recent Wall Street financial meltdown, opening the story with the apparent suicide of a major hedge fund manager on the eve of the long Thanksgiving weekend. The ensuing tale takes place over the weekend, filling in back story, painting the picture of the Darling family who are tied to this fund and its principal. Throw in a few crooked lawyers and SEC officials and you have pretty much the material upon which this book is constructed.
This book is not terrible, and I did find myself at times wanting to listen more just to see how it turns out. However there were no surprises. The writing was mediocre and I was unsatisfied with the ending.
Maybe...it was a really good listen
You just can't wait to see what will happen next. You like these characters, even if you want to dislike them.
Paul...he is unwittingly caught up in the excessiveness
Since the story takes place in just one week, reading it might be a little slow. I can't wait to get in my car, or on the treadmill to finish this book!
"Not a Unique Plot"
In short this book is about a rich man falling from grace and for very "trite" reasons too. Not a very endearing scenario, similar to the other book "The end of Normal". I did not identify with the characters, sentiment or the way it was handled. It was written in an aloof manner, The characters were only sketched not "drawn". I did not learn anything, except that the criminal system can be worked to your advantage, (which everyone knows anyway) Nothing educational or uplifting in this book.
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