Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt is a novel set in 2005 about a bond trader that isn’t so happy with his life, even though from the outside, it looks like he has everything he could possibly want.
“It’s 2005. Nick Farmer is a thirty-five-year-old bond trader with Bear Stearns clearing seven figures a year. The novelty of a work-related nightlife centering on liquor, hookers, and cocaine has long since worn thin, though Nick remains keenly addicted to his annual bonus. But the lifestyle is taking a toll on his marriage and on him.
When a nerdy analyst approaches him with apocalyptic prognostications of where Bear’s high-flying mortgage-backed securities trading may lead, Nick is presented with the kind of ethical dilemma he’s spent a lifetime avoiding. Throw in a hot financial journalist who seems to be more interested in him than in the percolating financial armageddon and the prospect that his own wife may have found a new romantic interest of her own, and you have the recipe for Nick’s personal and professional implosion.
By turns hilarious and harrowing, Ghosts of Manhattan follows a winning but flawed character as he struggles to find the right path in a complicated urban heart of darkness.” – Ghosts of Manhattan
Ghosts of Manhattan is a book that Douglas Brunt started while he was working as a CEO of a private venture-backed Internet security company. Instead of doing the unsavory things that the character in his book did, he relaxed by writing, which is how this book began. I find this bit of information about the book inspiring and makes me like the author that much more.
The main character in the novel, Nick Farmer starts off as the typical type of Wall Street guy I think of when it comes to this type of character. He is rich, wants more of everything, neglects his wife, visits strip clubs and hookers, and his drug of choice is cocaine. However, as the novel progresses, you see him as much more than that – and eventually he becomes more charming and likeable. He becomes worried about the financial outlook of the market and his company once Fred Cook, the market risk analysis makes his dire predictions. His marriage starts to become as shaky as the predictions in the market, and he realizes that he may not be going on the right path in his life. Is it too late for him to change though?
Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel. It was written very well and the author’s insider information on the lifestyles and characters in it made it more realistic and readable.
* Thank you to the Touchstone of Ghosts of Manhattan, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.