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Top Producer: A Novel of Dark Money, Greed, and Friendship (Grove O'Rourke #1)

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  320 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
In a world that moves as fast as finance does, top producers have to think three steps ahead and make snap decisions. Theirs is a blurred version of reality, one that conceals moves as much as it rewards the bold ones. All too easily, scams can be disguised as success, and plotting can be mistaken for killer instincts. And as Grove O'Rourke finds out, "Nothing obscures vul ...more
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Published September 15th 2009 by Tantor Media (first published August 25th 2009)
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Nov 01, 2009 Anya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Norb Vonnegut's first novel attempts to do for investment bankers what John Grisham's books have done for lawyers. With Top Producer, Vonnegut creates his own mini-genre: the post-Madoff hedge-fund Wall-Street scandal novel. Oh, and it has sharks too--and not just the human kind.

Actual financial advisors and Wall-Street types would probably really enjoy this book. It reeks of authenticity; Vonnegut is himself an investment consultant, and clearly knows their lingo and culture in his bones. He sp
Crystal Starr Light
"Stuff shows up when people die"

NOTE: I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program

I've never read a financial thriller, but I thought I'd give it a whirl, as the Vine program was offering it.

Grover O'Rourke is a top producer at SKC financial firm on Wall Street, but when his friend, Charlie Keleman, dies in a freak accident, he finds himself caring for his friend's widow, Sam, and turning up a lot of skeletons.

I Liked:
I must commend Vonnegut on his usage of the first person style.
Jul 14, 2011 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This was a pretty good book not too deep, but all-in-all a decent effort. It was written and published before the Bernie Madoff scandal broke, so the fact that some of the pivotal characters are involved in a "mini-Madoff" scam is possibly just coincidence. (What did Mr. Vonnegut know and when did he know it? Inquiring minds want to know!) I also liked the occasional descriptions of financial instruments and various transactions. I think the "mix" of these forays into the sleuthing plot was prob ...more
Aug 20, 2012 Ashutosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent novel... A fantastic financial thriller..
Looking fwd to reading all of Norb's novels.

Always liked John Grisham for legal thrillers and now we have Norb Vonnegut for the financial thrillers. I wouldn't be surprised if this gets made into a movie someday.
Aug 17, 2012 Fran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Top Producer: Norb Vonnegut

Illusions are often hard to see through. Some people create their own persona and many never look past what they see on the surface and ignore what some hope to keep hidden behind the veil of deceit or illusion they have created. Grove O’Rourke is a top producer as they are branded or named at an investment firm in New York. Working hard, dealing with the investments of the wealthy he handles more than 2 million dollars in the area called Private Clients at Sachs, Kidd
Jeff Battles
Nov 17, 2016 Jeff Battles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have worked in financial services for 38 years and read a lot of novels. I do not remember enjoying one more than this one. Authentic. Great plot. Satisfying conclusion. If you like Michael Lewis, I think you will really enjoy this first effort by Kurt's 4th cousin. I'm currently reading Gods of Greenwich.
Sep 26, 2016 Salsadancer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grove is a top producer at an elite investment firm when his best friend is murdered in front of hundreds of party-goers in this Wall Street thriller.
Benjamin Thomas
"Top Producer" is a financial thriller novel that absolutely keeps you turning the pages. We are introduced to Grove O'Rourke, a top producing stockbroker in a major Wall Street firm that gets thrust into a complex and dangerous situation. The action kicks off very quickly as a close friend of Grove's is murdered. The actual murder takes place in a public venue and we readers, along with a large crowd experience one of the most interesting murders to ever take place in fiction. I won't spoil tha ...more
Aug 30, 2009 J.C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads, arc
A Good Financial Mystery

Although I do not consider it a thriller, Top Producer was an enjoyable experience. The opening chapters set the stage as Grove O'Rourke and 500 other people watch as Charlie Keleman is gruesomely killed by sharks in an aquarium. Obviously Charlie was not as well loved as everyone seemed to believe.

Vonnegut displays his knowledge of Wall Street with skill, and against all odds, paints an exciting and interesting picture of high finance and a world where money is king. Tra
Gerald Sinstadt
Jan 22, 2013 Gerald Sinstadt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Norb Vonnegut knows what he writes about. A recent managing director of a wealth management outfit, he has worked for the name brands on Wall Street, Morgan Stanley among them.

His Grove O'Rourke is a wealth generator - a man who finds and nurtures the clients - in that market. At a time when his spirits are at the lowest, following the death of his wife and daughter in a road accident, he is taken in and supported by his dear friends, Charlie and Sam Kelemen. When Charlie is the victim of a sing
Rob Smith
Jan 15, 2016 Rob Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
Norb is light years away in mindset from family member Kurt Vonnegut, of who I know too much. 'Top Producer' is a top producer of detailed, yet understandable, words of how Wall Street works. To tie such a complex subject in with an involved case of murcer is more than admirable.

However, this book is struck by what I find in the bulk of contemporary novels: Massive excess. For me a quarter of this book could be cut loose and work so much better. Vonneguts asides of bicycling and food and over fo
Dec 02, 2011 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was hesitant at first to read this book, because if it was about Wall Street and Stock Markets, I was not interested. However it was recommended to me and I figured I give it a shot.

Well, the beginning was so gruesome with the brutal death of Charlie, the main character's best friend, that I wanted to put it down.

However, something told me to keep reading and I'm glad I did. This book was fast paced and exciting. Never knowing what was going to happen next as he tried to figure out what happe
Jun 08, 2009 Samantha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed parts of it but parts of this book were draining to get through. The book starts off fast paced and exciting. The murder in the book is stomach churning. Then it gets into the main character's past and his current life. Norb Vonnegut starts going into a stockbroker's work in numbing detail. I have read Stephen Frey's financial thrillers and I don't believe that this is of that caliber. There seems to be no point to most of the detail. However, if you are in stockbroker or financial bus ...more
Andy Collado
Jun 27, 2011 Andy Collado rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am in the financial industry, so I understood many of the concepts in the book, but he describes them very well for those without investment history. At its core, it is a murder mystery. Instead of having biological evidence like blood, or fingerprints left at the scene, Grover has to follow the paperwork through statements, his knowledge of the industry to eventually find out who has killed his best friend. Its a very good read, and highly enjoyable. I will definitely be picking up his next b ...more
Nov 12, 2009 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Publishers Weekly called Top Producer "The gold standard for financial thrillers," and I would agree. The book is a nice blend of financial information and a murder story that begs to be solved. The book's main character, Grove O'Rourke, is engaging, fearless, but perhaps a bit too impetuous to manage my portfolio--if I had one. He seems to let his emotions get in the way of logic, but the author always pulls him out of the tough situations he puts himself in.

It's a good yarn and I hope the fir
Jun 29, 2010 Brenda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was a definate change of pace from my normal read. I won it, so I read it! A murder mystery set on Wall Street. Definately a financial thriller. If you yawn when it comes to all the jargon they use on Wall Street this book isn't for you. As I supress a yawn. The basic story, the murder mystery was a good yarn, the financial background to all of it, wasn't really my cup of tea. It kept my interest enough that I was able to finish the book, which is saying quite a bit, but it almost beca ...more
Nov 18, 2009 Alison rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Grove O'Rourke is a "top producer" (shocking), which I promise you you will never forget because I'm pretty sure those words are placed together at least twice on every page. Grove's friend Charlie Kelemen throws this big birthday bash for his wife at the New England Aquarium at the beginning of the novel, and pretty soon a bunch of men are wearing burqas and Kelemen is swimming with the sharks. And then eaten by them. Mmmm, finance guru is delicious in the evening.
Jun 24, 2009 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my husband's first novel. While he was out of his office I ran in with a zip drive and stole a copy. I was worried. I put the zip in my computer and sat down to read. I laughed my head off. I couldn't stop reading. Top Producer held me captive. It is very good! St. Martin's will publish in the US on September 15th. Murdoch Books publishes in Australia on September 1st. Reviews and more information at and Amazon.
I don't know if I would go as far as recommending this book but if pop-fiction is what you like or need in order to unwind yourself from serious non-fiction stuff this will do. I was skeptical through the first one third of the book, comparing it to that terrible waste of ink and paper written by Brad Meltzer "The Millionaires", but the plot picked up and was even entertaining at times. Still would only give it a 4 out of 10.
Jan 22, 2012 Stefan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Norb Vonnegut’s ‘The Producer’ was an exciting peek inside the inner workings of Wall Street. Vonnegut took this beyond simply being a story about large-scale fraud (though that was well done) and used his financial experience to make some interesting points about how stock markets, particularly in Wall Street, function. Norb’s use of technical terms and concepts was never overwhelming and nicely complimented the main plot.
Dick Reynolds
Jul 27, 2012 Dick Reynolds rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exciting read. Vonnegut takes us into the dark world of frantic high finance on Wall Street where phone calls are short and personal loyalty is even shorter. Once you start reading, it's hard to put the book down because you can hardly wait to find out what's going to happen next. But he gives you clues along the way, those delicious "Aha" moments when you figure out what's happening just before the protagonist does.
Apr 25, 2013 Nathan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-10s
This was not quite a financial eye-opener, nor a highly refined tale of suspense. It took a little from column A, and a little from column B. The sum didn't add up. The best part of the book is the first-person narration from the point of view of the modern, well-educated but cynical and juvenile protagonist. The plot however, is insufferable.
Lucy Montgomery
Although similar in format and tone, I did not enjoy Top Producer as much as Gods of Greenwich. There was a marked improvement in the writing quality and plot development between the two books. If you read Gods of Greenwich and are looking for more Norb Vonnegut, I suggest waiting for the publication of his next novel.
Jun 07, 2010 Pam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
In the fast-moving world of finance, Norb Vonnegut is a great author. I really enjoyed his descriptive processes. Especially that of bed-suck (The bed just sucks you in) and the relationship of Grove O'Rourke and his pillows. Those two stick out to me, but the novel as a whole is very very good and I enjoyed it very much. The murder itself was pretty unique.
Mickey Hoffman
Perhaps a reader who works in the finance sector would better enjoy this book. I found about 1/3 of the book to be completely extraneous and much of that, incomprehensible. The book began well with a most unexpected murder, but the plot wandered into long detailed passages about stock transactions.
Sep 07, 2012 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the better legal thrillers. Not as disposable as most of these books are, Vonnegut knows what he is talking about and delves deep into the world of finance and dark dealings that are entrapped within.
Apr 14, 2016 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this mystery even if it involved the stock market - who woulda thought! Lite cussing, no graphics. I hope author continues as ending left some things in the air. I'll read it. C•2009. Recommended.
Jul 21, 2009 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Wall Street thriller. Interesting, seemed a little dated already because of the crash of the market this last year but the story line is intriguing and interesting. This is a murder mystery whodunit. A good beach or poolside ride.
Apr 14, 2016 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this mystery even if it involved the stock market - who woulda thought! Lite cussing, no graphics. I hope author continues as ending left some things in the air. I'll read it. C•2009. Recommended.
Julian Johnson
I thoroughly enjoyed this - something of a guilty pleasure, because its popcorn. Nonetheless, recommend it for anyone heading off on holidays and in need of a bit of suspense, glamour and escapism. Will watch out for his stuff in future.
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"Author of glittery thrillers about fiscal malfeasance...his own improbably sexy genre." -Janet Maslin, the New York Times

When money talks…I listen. Always have. I'm fascinated by what can go wrong and spent years on Wall Street dealing with the problems of wealth. Morgan Stanley, Paine Webber, and Kidder Peabody—I've been around the block. Back then, my job was to protect clients from market disa
More about Norb Vonnegut...

Other Books in the Series

Grove O'Rourke (2 books)
  • The Trust

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