Monday, April 29, 2013

Need You Now by James Grippando

In Need You Now, Abe Cushman commits suicide after pulling off a 60 billion dollar Ponzi scheme. Patrick Lloyd's girlfriend Lilly is somehow tied to the lost millions which puts both of their lives in danger. They hope they can remain on the run long enough to uncover the truth and evade the powerful people determined to keep their secrets.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked the premise, which played on the notoriety of Bernice Madoff. It probably would have been thrilling if I could have followed it all the way through. There was just too much going on. I have a vague idea about money laundering and Ponzi schemes. The people who set up these things make it hard to follow on purpose. However, with this one, it was almost impossible. It just seemed overly complicated with way too many people involved.

I like it when the author periodically goes over what's known so far in the mystery. That allows me to review what I've already learned, remember what I've forgotten and catch up if I missed anything. That's especially important with complicated plots like this. In my opinion, Grippando doesn't do that enough. At least, he doesn't do it clearly enough for me. I followed some of it, but I got lost many times and had to go back and reread some sections.

Having said all of that, I did find a couple of bright spots. I loved Evan the computer guy or "quant" as they called him. He was awesome, quirky and into computer stuff. I liked that. I also really liked the parts where Andie, the FBI agent, was trying to decipher Evan's research that was up on his walls. It was a little hard to follow (a diagram might have helped), but it was no worse than other parts of the book that I couldn't follow at all.

New Words:
quant (used in a couple of places): an expert in quantitative data.
hawalas (page 280) According Wikipedia, it's Arabic for "transfer". I didn't really understand the concept, but it looks like a way to transfer money outside of regular banking channels. If you are really interested and want to can read it for yourself, click here.

Apparently, the book title was taken from a song from Lady Antebellum called Need You Now. I wasn't familiar with it, so I looked it up on Youtube and listened to it. I'm not sure what it has to do with the story, but it's a pretty catchy tune.

I've read a couple of Grippando's books now and seem to come up with some of the same issues. Here are my other reviews: Afraid of the Dark and Lying with Strangers. The second one is a very early review that's mostly just a bunch of jumbled sentences. Also, it contains some spoilers.

I've come to the conclusion that maybe he's not the right author for me. That's ok, though. He's written lots of books and appears to be really popular with lots of people. As for me, I have lots of other authors to read.

Other reviewers on really liked the book. However, even with a few bright spots, overall it didn't do it for me.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins website.

For more about the author and his other books, please visit James Grippando's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins for this review copy.

Need You Now by James Grippando, Harper (HarperCollins), ©2012. ISBN 9780061840302(Uncorrected proof), 357p.

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