The lifestyles of Russian oligarchs are front-page news as sanctions levied against them by the Unites States and the European Union expose their financial reach. Jeffery Marshall, a retired New York City financial journalist, pulls directly from those headlines and leverages knowledge gained from his career to deliver Squeeze Plays, an intriguing and action-packed tale of financial shenanigans, Russian oligarchs, sexual blackmail, and covert violence in the financial capitals of London and New York City.
Corbin Van Sloot lives the good life as the CEO of Whitehall banking. Married to his college sweetheart, he enjoys all the perks that come with his perch on top of the world: private driver, international travel, and a mansion in a fancy suburb. However, a snake enters the garden and Van Sloot finds himself in desperate circumstances as a result of crossing paths with Winston Crumm, publisher of the failing New York Star, and Maxim Ripovsky, a Russian oligarch. Ripovsky, as the name implies, is a seedy Russian hood who has invested in enterprises in England and is striving to make his mark in New York City.
Ripovsky secretly invests in the New York Star, demanding only that Crumm’s wife, who is a clothes designer and connected to New York City’s black tie charity circuit, provide him with entrée into the rarefied circles of the city’s cultural elites. He also buys a major piece of Whitehall stock, only to be denied a coveted seat on the board of directors. Chaos ensues as the three men’s lives are forever changed by Ripovksy’s actions. Corbin worries about exposure because of his interactions with one of Ripovksy’s “consultants” and Crumm’s world is rocked when Bob Mandell, a New York Star investigative financial reporter, enters the fray and exposes the secret Ripovsky investment.
Squeeze Plays examines how arrogance and greed often cause missteps that result in a loss of prestige and fortune. It is a cautionary tale of how fleeting success is in a world populated by vultures for whom the law has little reach. Sex, financial intrigue, and blackmail all combine in the narrative to create a volatile and dangerous world. The characters are well drawn and come to life as the story develops. Marshall’s use of language is economical and pushes the taut narrative and plotlines forward as they intertwine to make the novel’s denouement. At the end of the day, the novel demonstrates that not much has changed in the world of New York City finance and culture since Tom Wolfe examined it in Bonfire of the Vanities, which this novel resembles. It remains populated by those driven by greed, ego, and avarice.
|Page Count||263 pages|
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