September 8, 2012

Review: Dead Cat Bounce

Dead Cat Bounce First book in Jonah Lightbody series
By Nic Bennett
Available September 13, 2012 from Razorbill (Penguin)
Review copy

Confession: I find stocks very, very boring.  Reading passages about Jonah Lightbody learning about stocks and derivatives from his father and then his father-figure the Baron was like listening to my father talk about them.  Now, Bennett explains the bare minimum needed for DEAD CAT BOUNCE to make any sense, but that was still almost too much for me.  That is how boring I think stocks are.

Second confession: Economics classes and friends who work in financial sectors have pretty much convinced me that no one knows how the economy actually works.  (Look, I was studying the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis in 2008.  It's no wonder I have a negative mindset.)  Fortunately for DEAD CAT BOUNCE, it didn't ask me to give up that view. 

Nic Bennett's novel starts off with a terrific, in media res prologue.  Jonah's in a hotel room, downloading some secret program and shooting people.  It's tense and violent and genuinely suspenseful.  Then we go back in time to him being a twelve year old and gaining a passion for financial trading.  By sixteen, he's working for the same bank as his father, but as the protege of his nemesis.  Jonah's into taking big risks, whereas his neglectful father prefers to make small, safe bets.  Basically, there's interesting interpersonal dynamics but it's surrounded by a topic that I find extremely boring.

That doesn't mean others won't find it interesting.  Lots of people are involved in the stock market and plenty of them start young.  And DEAD CAT BOUNCE centers around the Financial Crisis of 2008, a crisis still affecting the world.  I can't imagine there aren't people who would find a conspiracy about the crisis fascinating.

As for me, DEAD CAT BOUNCE really started moving once it caught up to the opening.  International chases, shoot outs, confronting the bad guys - all good stuff.  I'm interested in reading the sequel, BLACK SWAN DIVE, since it will probably be more of an actioneer than DEAD CAT BOUNCE.  There's really nothing wrong with DEAD CAT BOUNCE, but if a thriller set in the City doesn't sound like your thing, then it probably isn't.  If it does sound like your thing, then have at it.

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