Book Review: The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn

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The Domino Effect
by Davis Bunn

The theme of this novel centers around the stock market and CMF, one of the largest banks in the nation. Though there are several important characters in the book, the main focus is on Esther Larsen, the whiz kid math genius who is the senior analyst in the trading sector of CMF. Esther is a single woman carrying hurt from the past in her soul. Her older brother is dying, having given up on life. She has lost her faith and the only thing that keeps her going is her love for her job.

Esther’s immediate boss is Jason, an aggressive, mean trader, one of the best in the business. Jason finds the deals and Esther’s team of analysts crunches the numbers to determine the risk of the deals. Jason and his team of similarly mannered traders plan a huge trade that will require the bank to give Jason $2 billion to finance the trade expecting to get a very high rate of return. Esther’s report reveals that the venture is just too risky. He threatens her into silence. The bank finances the deal and the bank makes a huge profit, this time.

The problem is that this trade is on paper only and would not be sanctioned by the Security Exchange Commission. Had it failed the bank would have lost a boatload of money. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Esther discerns that there is more afoot, something only she perceives based upon her years of research and experience. The problem is that she is only one person. Who would listen to her?

She and her team have been labeled as the “Downer Group.” The head of the bank is listening less and less to her data. She knows that trades like the one Jason has made are happening everywhere on a global level. If these trades begin to fail countries will go bankrupt.

Honestly, the stock market has always been a mystery to me. I only know that a green arrow next to a company’s name means they have made a profit. A red arrow means they have lost value. I also don’t understand what the folks yelling and waving papers on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange are doing exactly. The author explains things about how the stock market works which were kind of hard to understand. I did learn quite a bit, yet I have to admit that some of it was over my head. Just as the stock market is a wild ride so is the story in this book. How does Esther get people to listen to her? Will her voice of warning be enough to help those who may lose their life’s savings? The thought that this kind of thing could be going on in real life is pretty frightening.

I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers for sending The Domino Effect to me to read for free in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed it and learned something at the same time. I would give the book 4 of 5 stars.

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