Also of interest... in financial shenanigans
The Misfortune of Marion Palm
by Emily Culliton (Knopf, $26)
Marion Palm, a Brooklyn mom who’s embezzled $180,000 from her daughters’ private school, “has few likable qualities,” said Laurie Hertzel in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “And yet you will root hard for her,” because this “funny, pointed, and very smart” debut novel lets us see what makes Marion tick. “A homely woman is an invisible thing,” she thinks to herself on page 1. That’s both sadly true and the reason Marion only has to move to another Brooklyn neighborhood to disappear into a crowd.
by Richard Lange (Mulholland, $26)
Don’t get too attached to any of the eccentrics in Richard Lange’s latest caper, said Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times. “Lange’s bread and butter are his quick studies of colorful characters,” but he has no qualms about killing them off. Still, he’s built a tidy thriller around a con man, a darling prostitute who calls herself Tinafey, and a scheme to recover a small fortune that two Army buddies amassed in Afghanistan. To make the whole sordid business such fun “takes real talent.”
The Bettencourt Affair
by Tom Sancton (Dutton, $28)
Even the richest woman in the world couldn’t escape the storm unleashed by her own adult daughter, said Nina Martyris in NPR.org. In this “riveting page-turner,” Time’s former Paris bureau chief recounts the billowing scandal that consumed France for a decade after a L’Oréal heiress sought to prove in court that her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, had been swindled by a younger gay companion. Throughout, Tom Sancton shows “an unerring eye for the telling vignette.”
The Chickenshit Club
by Jesse Eisinger (Simon & Schuster, $28)
Jesse Eisinger “apparently does not care much about eating lunch on either Wall Street or K Street,” said Paul Butler in The Washington Post. In this “brave and elegant” exposé, the ProPublica reporter assails Eric Holder, Preet Bharara, and other public officials who never risked taking on any of the big villains behind 2008’s global financial meltdown. Though Eisinger’s zeal sometimes gets the better of his judgment, his “sustained outrage” makes the book a compelling read—and an important one.