Thursday 27 January 2011

Book club: Nineteenth St NW, by Rex Ghosh

The first in an occasional series, with the occasion being that I finish reading a book.
Nineteenth Street NW, a financial thriller by Rex Ghosh, an economist at the IMF. There's a rule of thumb in the book biz that the cover blurbs on good books are reviews of the book by real reviewers, on so-so books are reviews of the author's previous books, and on bad books are by the author's friends. This book's blurbs are by Simon Johnson and Paul Volcker. Uh, oh.

Nonetheless, it's not bad, a plot about a terrorist cell of expatriates from a country which is not Iran infiltrating an organization which is not the IMF, and with a conclusion at an economics conference which is not in Davos. (He moves it down the hill to the Palais des Nations in Geneva, which is actually where they keep the black helicopters.) The terrorists plan to destroy the world financial system via a hedge fund doing currency trading based on inside information that the beautiful terrorist steals using, well, the usual plot elements. Some of the characters are clearly thinly disguised versions of people he knows, like the smarmy careerist, flitting from one deluxe hotel to another as economies crumble behind him.
Even though this book was published in September 2010, it's already out of print. Through the magic of interlibrary loan I got a copy from the library in Las Vegas, which seems appropriate. I see the library in Greenwich CT has eight copies, presumably because it's required reading for anyone in its major industry.
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