Banksters - Nicolas Wilson


This book is not what you expect. I picked it up, assuming it was a fictional account of what those crazy kids in the financial sector get up to these days (think Lehman Bros., Bear Stearns, etc) and it is...sort of.

By the end, I knew two things. First, when the MC Mark Dane begins by telling you he's a sociopath, believe him. It might be the only time he tells the truth.  Second, I will never look at my financial advisor in the same way.

Yes, there is plenty of business jargon but it's almost incidental. The real story is the lengths Dane goes to as he claws his way to the corner office. He is a reprehensible human being, unburdened by morals or a conscience. The nicest thing you can say about him is he truly does not discriminate. He'll screw over (often literally) anyone of any race, colour, gender & religious affiliation. He's also wickedly funny. 

The story opens as he is promoted to assistant VP & follows him as he slithers toward CEO. It turns out to be a war of attrition. Sex, lies & videotape  plus drug dealing, backstabbing, murder and a little B&E help level the playing field in his favour. (I'm pretty sure if he went on, the name "Machiavelli" would pop up somewhere in his tree.) 

What's scary is he fits right in. The rest of the cast are not exactly paragons of virtue, either. What's REALLY scary is he bumps into a female version of himself along the way.

It's a fast paced, easy read with snappy, often crude dialogue. Although Dane narrates the story, he doesn't let us in on everything so some events & the subsequent fallout come as a surprise. Prepare to be shocked, titillated & for bursts of inappropriate laughter. 

Don't read this expecting a serious, true-to-life account of illegal trading activity. It's mocking, outrageous, OTT & at times, like watching an impending train wreck. You can slap your hand over your eyes but you'll keep reading between your fingers because you have to know who will survive to walk away.