Brad Meltzer,
The Millionaires
(Time Warner, 2002)

With a million-dollar title like The Millionaires (and lots of promise to live up to with a name like that), I wasn't sure if Brad Meltzer's recent novel would be big bucks or small change. No need to worry -- The Millionaires pays off big.

With no father in the picture, Oliver Caruso must bring home the bread and support the family. However, even with years of success as an un-degreed banking executive at Greene & Greene (a private bank with a minimum deposit of $2,000,000), Oliver still can't get rid of the family's medical bills. Even taking younger brother Charlie under his wing at the bank doesn't make a dent in the debt. Oliver's only chance lies in getting into an Ivy League school and graduating a degreed breadwinner. Unfortunately, regardless of years of applications and sealed recommendations from his boss, Henry Lapidus, Oliver's college education remains a dream.

Then, strange events start happening at the bank. Quiet clients surface to request transfers of large amounts of money. A millionaire faxes a transfer request from the local Staples store. The inactive account of a deceased man named Martin Duckworth, slated for turnover to the State Department, suddenly becomes active.

With a little detective work, Oliver and Charlie determine that Martin Duckworth may or may not be dead, but isn't the one requesting the funds. But who is? When Oliver and Charlie choose to divert the money, they become tangled in an exciting web of corporate banking intrigue that leads them to the tunnels below Walt Disney World and doesn't stop unraveling until the very last page.

As an audiobook read by Tony Goldwyn, The Millionaires proves to be one of those stories that you can't stop listening to, even when you're out of the car. Highly recommended.

[ by Lynne Remick ]
Rambles: 7 June 2002

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