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Title: The Street
Author: Lee Gruenfeld
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Amazon Editorial Reviews
A razor-sharp, blisteringly on-target thriller set in the world of dot-com start-up madness — a deft and entertaining mix of the confidence-game masterworks of Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiassen, and Donald Westlake, as well as classic tell-all business narratives such as Liar's Poker and Barbarians at the Gates.
James Vincent Hanley, a Wall Street stockbroker specializing in Internet start-ups and unhappily slaving away for a subsistence wage of only $300,000, makes the jump to the other side of the Street and into the biggest game in history. He’s done his dot-com homework and launches his own start-up, Artemis-5.com, with the key ingredients for success–technology so cutting-edge it’s barely decipherable, a world-class board of directors whose credentials command a lemming-like public following, and carefully orchestrated Street buzz of epic proportions.
Jubal Thurgren, assistant director of enforcement for the Security and Exchange Commission and a man of Columbo-like intelligence and personality, smells a rat. Even as the buzz increases, Thurgren’s instincts tell him that Artemis-5, which has yet to reveal any substantive products or services, may not be quite what Hanley has cracked it up to be. As public delirium over Artemis-5’s impending stock offering escalates, Hanley and Thurgren, each with a spy in the other’s camp, launch elaborate and progressively more dangerous cat-and-mouse games. Each of them is deeply committed to his own cause: Thurgren can’t let Hanley continue unchallenged, and Hanley can’t let Thurgren get in the way of his plans. The two of them spiral inexorably toward a final confrontation, a complex and explosive sting where deceit and betrayal do suspenseful battle with old-fashioned idealism and the search for truth.
Featuring the most likable and insidious cast of characters since The Sting, The Street is sure to satisfy thriller lovers, business-story aficionados, and all of us who are hopelessly confused by a new, Net-crazed economy that threatens to overwhelm not only our culture but also our common sense.
Just in time for the dot-com meltdown, Lee Gruenfeld shows off his considerable knowledge of the New Economy in The Street, a novel that tries hard to turn the ups and downs of the IPO market into the stuff of thriller fiction--and almost succeeds. James Vincent Hanley is a wage slave on Wall Street who decides to turn his insider knowledge into a start-up. Armed with a brilliant business plan and little else, Hanley bamboozles enough big-business types who ought to know better into backing Artemis-5, which he bills as the next new thing. His high-powered board and the money-crazed denizens of Wall Street are convinced that a company with no products, no services, and no expectation of profits is the smartest idea since sliced bread.
At first, the unlikely new company is more successful than Hanley ever dreamed. The money's rolling in, and Hanley is well on his way to winning a huge pot in the stock market poker game. Then an SEC enforcer named Thurgren starts sniffing around Artemis-5, and the whole enterprise threatens to collapse. Like Hanley, Thurgren has a mole on the inside of his opponent's operation--and thereby hangs the tale.
The Street, while intermittently entertaining and a good introduction to New Economics 101, is plagued by improbable scenarios and a paucity of character development. Gruenfeld can't seem to decide whether he's writing satire or suspense. The entire charade will make sense only to those who believe that the stock market operates according to rational principles and that there is such a thing as a free lunch. --Jane Adams