Need You Now
"A Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff proportions drives this winning financial thriller ... Grippando slowly reveals the twists and turns of his intricate plot while fueling the proceedings with a steady supply of action. A solid ending will leave readers wondering if the author has come up with a solution to the real-life Madoff mysteries that still remain."
- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
The New York Times bestselling author returns with a gripping new stand-alone novel ripped from the headlines, in which a young financial advisor and his girlfriend uncover a conspiracy that reaches from Wall Street deep into the halls of government.
Abe Cushman, the evil genius behind a sixty-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, has killed himself and taken his secrets to the grave.
For Patrick Lloyd, a young Wall Street advisor at the world's largest Swiss bank, Cushman's fall has unexpected-and deadly-repercussions. His girlfriend, Lilly, is directly tied to billions of dollars in losses suffered by Cushman's most dangerous "victims," a group of powerful investors whose identities and dirty finances are shrouded in secrecy. What Lilly knows can get her and Patrick killed, and now the pair are in a run for their lives that leads to the heart of a secret operation, and to a cabal of powerful officials determined to keep their agenda hidden from the public.
With no place to turn and no one to trust, Patrick and Lilly must uncover the truth before they become collateral damage in a "financial war" where casualties are no longer measured in dollars and cents.
"A Madoff-like character pilfers billions, but some victims don't complain. They kill. … A complex and mind-dizzying shell game, Grippando's tale is heavy on action and [will] keep pages turning. Agreeably entertaining, Grippando's novel adds up the collateral damage when billions belonging to the wrong kind of people go missing."
- Kirkus Reviews
"A timely and solid plot-driven read… full of surprising revelations. Another Grippando gripper."
"Superb ... Current events have proved that financial thrillers set against the background of Wall Street, banking and investments can be as exciting as any espionage drama, and Grippando makes the most of this backdrop in Need You Now while delivering a character-rich plot."
- Miami Herald
BEHIND THE BOOK ...
Behind the Book: Need You Now
© James Grippando 2011. All rights reserved.
Of course it was too good to be true: A Wall Street whiz whose performance was the statistical equivalent of a baseball player batting .962 for ten years running. In statements mailed just days before his arrest, Bernard Madoff notified investors that they had about $68 billion in their accounts. In reality, his giant Ponzi scheme was down to its last few hundred thousand dollars. The stunning collapse in December 2008 left bankers, lawyers, regulators, and victims asking the same question: where in the world did all that money go?
Some of America’s brightest minds were immediately on the trail. In January 2009 the law firm led by David Boies (Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, to which I have served as counsel for the past nine years) filed one of the first class actions on behalf of Madoff’s victims. The suit sought over $7 billion from Fairfield Greenwich Group, the largest Madoff feeder fund. It was so-called feeder funds that expanded Madoff’s reach beyond the United States into wealthy enclaves in Europe, Latin America and the Persian Gulf. Fairfield alone received as much as $500 million in fees by steering their clients’ money to Madoff. The legal theory was that feeder funds should have taken reasonable steps to investigate Madoff and should not have “fed” their clients’ funds to a Ponzi scheme. This past July, Securities Investor Protection Act Trustee Irving Picard announced a billion-dollar settlement of a similar case against other feeder funds (Tremont and related groups), bringing the total recovery for Madoff’s victims to $8.6 billion.
For purposes of the feeder fund cases, it was enough to ask who should have known that Madoff was a fraud. As a thriller writer, I wanted to get at the bigger question: who knew?
For years, and as far back as the 1990s, critics voiced their skepticism about Madoff’s purported strategies. Whistleblowers laid out dozens of “red flags” for the Securities Exchange Commission. One of them even wrote a bestselling book, aptly titled “No One Would Listen.” The entire law-enforcement arm of the U.S. government—tireless teams of federal agents and prosecutors who dedicated their entire careers to fighting complex and sophisticated financial crimes—was really just a bunch of incompetent, bumbling fools who couldn’t sniff out a Ponzi scheme that was right under their regulatory nose for over a decade.
Or so the world was led to believe.
As someone who has followed Madoff from “the beginning of the end,” so to speak, I found it hard to believe that any government agency could be that incompetent—that Madoff was policed by the Wall Street version of Keystone Kops. My original question—who knew?—took a sharper focus: who in our own government knew?And why didn’t they do anything to stop it?
Those questions are at the heart of Need You Now, my second Wall Street thriller since the real-life calamity of 2007. It’s a step beyond the familiar premise of a White House cover up that is worse than the crime, though surely the fallout would be bad enough if the American public were to find out that government officials knew about Madoff and let it happen. But, what if a certain faction at the highest levels of government actually wanted itto happen, in furtherance of another agenda? What if the Madoff losses were simply acceptable collateral damage in a larger financial war?
Now, I’m not arguing that anyone in the U.S. government understood the scope of the Madoff fraud—estimates ranging between $18 billion and $60 billion. Nor did anyone expect Madoff to simply turn himself in, before the U.S. government could swoop down and recover at least some money for the innocent investors. Certainly no one anticipated that Madoff would collapse at a time when the entire world economy was in crisis and the financial system itself was teetering on the brink of collapse.
But this combination of factors make the posited government miscalculations all the more ruinous…and make the thrill ride in Need You Now even more compelling.