Los Angeles comic crime novelist Mark Haskell Smith (Moist, Salty, Raw) sends up Wall Street in the comic thriller Blown. Bryan LeBlanc works the esoteric foreign currency trading desk among "the US Marines of capitalism... the few, the proud, the completely full of themselves... surfing the algorithm, riding the markets in new and ever more complex machinations, shooting the tube to wrest lucre from the system." Fed up and seeing a loophole that will allow him to embezzle $17 million while sending an "up yours" message to the fat cats sitting at the top of his firm, LeBlanc engineers a complex scheme to skim clients' margin accounts for a bundle of foreign currency stashed in the Cayman Islands. The chase is on.
As LeBlanc goes island-hopping, Smith flexes his character muscles and funny bone with a colorful coterie of company bloodhounds unleashed to track him down. There's his immediate boss, Korean American Seo-yun Kim, who's an algorithmic automaton chafing under an impending conventional marriage and getting a little frisky sexually. The firm's chief security investigator, Neal Nathanson, is recovering from a boyfriend break-up and looking to trucker porn for comfort. After a fatal run-in with his silent partner in George Town, LeBlanc finds yet another pursuer closing in--a relentless, randy 4'7" ex-cop PI from Curaçao. Like one of Tim Dorsey's Serge and Coleman road trips, LeBlanc's romp through the Caribbean is full of conniving and missteps. Cleverly plotted, raunchy and very funny, Blown is a crime novel with an edge--an unlikely mashup of Gordon Gekko and Jimmy Buffet. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.