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Saturday, December 15, 2012

"The Darlings" by Cristina Alger: Because white-collar criminals have family, too.

The Darlings by Cristina Alger is an entertaining and suspenseful read.  Set aside your skepticism about reading a novel concerning a wealthy, society family brought down low by its patriarch's criminal involvement in a Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme.  Set aside your skepticism about toting around a book called "The Darlings".  If you are looking for a good airplane read, beach book, or snowy-winter weekend escape, check out this novel.

Events in The Darlings take place in New York City over Thanksgiving weekend.  The Darling family learns that Morton Reis is dead. Morty, the book's Bernie Madoff figure, was the head of Reis Capitol Management and a close friend and business associate of Carter Darling.  Carter Darling and his partners run Delphic, a Wall Street investment firm.  Morty's death will, as Carter's lawyer cautions Carter, have fallout.  And indeed it does.

Carter's firm is deeply involved in Morty's phony finances.  With Morty gone, the scheme is over and Carter will inevitably face the consequences. The tension in the story builds as the Darlings' legal strategy develops over the weekend.

One person Carter could set up as a fall guy is Paul Ross, Delphic's General Counsel and Carter's son-in-law. Although Paul has worked at Delphic only for a short time, he quickly recognizes his jeopardy.  What he doesn't know is the scope of felonious behavior that has been going on.

Will the Darling family stand together or are the long knives out?  Who will be the first one through the door, cutting a deal with prosecutors and regulators?  This is the engaging story line in The Darlings, a novel that starts slowly but builds up steam, and has many surprising twists and turns all the way to the last page.

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