Abby's Reviews > The Darlings

The Darlings by Cristina Alger
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Apr 14, 2012

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bookshelves: books-read-in-2012
Read in April, 2012

Cristina Alger is a talented author who knows how to craft a taut thriller. She takes a cliched, prosaic plot (the well-known Bernie Madoff scandal) and adds her own twists. I could easily see this novel as a movie. Alger is also an acute social observer of different NYC archetypes and uses minute details to situate every character in his/her proper milieu. As a business school graduate, I was also glad to see that the financial (and legal) details are for the most part accurate.

I do have some reservations about this novel, however. There are simply too many coincidences that don't add up. What is the likelihood that Paul (the protagonist) and Alexa (the SEC lawyer investigating him) would come from the same small town in North Carolina, in addition to being ex-lovers? How does Alexa just happen to be related to the editor-in-chief of a Vogue-like magazine if she grew up in the middle of nowhere? And how did both of their fathers just happen to end up in NYC (which is a long way from small-town North Carolina)? In addition, how is it possible that Alexa and Paul's wife (Merrill) have never met despite the fact that Alexa, Merrill, and Paul all attended Harvard Law School? And why are we treated to long, convoluted backstories about even minor characters if these stories do not contribute to later plotlines in the novel?

Despite these reservations, I was pleasantly surprised by this novel and enjoyed it overall.

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02/29/2016 marked as: read

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Linda C I would like to see a book where the lawyers went somewhere other than Harvard, myself. If you use the number of Harvard lawyers in literature, every graduating class must have 10,000 graduates each year.


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