Atmosphere Press (2022)
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (12/2022)
Winston Crumm, Corbin Van Sloot, and Maxim Ripovsky all come roaring together in this work of financial fiction. From the United States to London and Russia, the intricacies, power plays, and “squeeze plays” take front and center stage.
There are almost two simultaneous stories occurring within the pages of “Squeeze Plays.” The first story is of a bank, calling a $20 million loan to Star Enterprises, a publisher and news outlet. Star Enterprises also happens to be the primary party in the second story, revolving around how CEO Winston Crumm is going to cover the $20 million loan getting called back as Star Enterprises faces a financial downturn. While these stories ultimately tie together via the bank loan, there are some intriguing insights into the business, the process, and the journalism occurring as a sidebar to tying the pieces all together. Most intriguing, though, are the players within the story. From the MBA and resume-perfect banker to the son now running the Star Enterprises family business, the white men running rampant through this story feels entirely non-fiction at times.
As a banker and lender myself, I obviously was drawn to this book and loved the story weaving throughout. The author himself, Jeffrey Marshall, has professional experience in financial journalism and crafted an extremely realistic read. But even despite mine and the author’s background, this was a story accessible to all. I never felt the concepts, topics, or dialogue were over the average reader’s head, and the story was easy to follow and entertaining enough to keep the story flowing. The scenery and jumping back and forth across the pond from the United States to London kept the reader on their toes as we held our breath for it all to come crashing down, because if we’ve learned anything from television it’s that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. And boy does Marshall deliver, as we can nearly feel the sweat dripping from Crumm and Van Sloot’s foreheads as they try to unwind themselves from the messes they’ve made.
Whether a financial connoisseur or not, “Squeeze Plays” is a high stakes, fast-paced read accessible to all.
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