Pat Foy leads a charmed life. She has a close-knit family, an expensive home, and a satisfying career as a landscape designer. She also reads mystery novels all the time-yet she can't see what is happening right in front of her eyes, and is astonished when her husband, Frank, is arrested for accounting fraud at LinkAge, the huge telecommunications firm that employs him. "How could anything that boring be illegal?" she wonders. The scandal hits the press and threatens to drain the Foys' bank account, send Frank to prison, and tear their family apart.
Frank claims that fudging the numbers is standard practice in today's go-go business atmosphere. Everyone does it, or would if he could. Americans love recklessness, he insists. They admire scalawags. Pat does too-at least in novels. And it's hard for Pat to imagine who has suffered from LinkAge's bankruptcy. So she decides to search out the victims, and finds more than she bargained for. At first she thinks that all she has to do to make amends is whip out her checkbook. What she doesn't know is that events have already begun to spin out of control, and that the future holds as many twists and turns as any of the whodunits she has read.
Jacqueline Carey's whip-smart and irresistibly sly novel deftly portrays the dire costs of today's corporate culture of runaway greed-and brings to life a fractured landscape filled with CEOs-turned-robber barons, privileged lives punctured by wretched excess, and personal relationships put to the ultimate test.
When Frank Foy, a high-living corporate accountant, goes to jail after his company's Enronesque fall, Pat, his landscape-designer wife, is pathologically unwilling to grasp the fraud's implications in this muddled novel from Carey (The Crossley Baby). Pat inexplicably decides to repay a random group of the fraud's victims, first through personal checks and then, even more bizarrely, through a planned investment in wind energy. Along the way, she reunites with her former lover, Lemuel Samuel, and her onetime best friend, Ginny Howley, both mystery writers who suffered in the company's collapse. The penniless Ginny joins Pat's odyssey, while Lemuel's son keeps the Foys' teenage daughter company. Though Lemuel and Ginny's sane presence and a mid-book switch to Ginny's wonderfully quirky, self-reflective viewpoint offer welcome relief, the narrative never gels as social satire, moral commentary, character study or intellectual puzzle. (Aug.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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August 11, 2008
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