Man in the Middle
Read Chapter One
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According to Clive Cussler, Alan Russell (award winning author of Exposure), Herb Greenberg (Fortune Magazine), Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Charlie Jones (NY Times best-selling author and legendary sportscaster), and dozens of others, Man in the Middle is one of the most gripping, most timely financial thrillers ever written. While unquestionably fiction, the novel is influenced by some of the individuals the author met during his Wall Street years at the top of the capital markets -- people who routinely bent or broke the rules.
Excerpt from Man in the Middle:
As Peter waited for an answer, something nagged his subconscious. He looked at the Civil War trophy case. The safe. Toward the small desk-key hidden in the index card box. Tape. Matches. He considered all of Muller's words, and then glanced at the man's hand and arm and body. He imagined noise and chaos. How did all these pieces fit together? Did they fit together?
A powerful shudder suddenly passed through Peter's body, rattling his spine and clearing his mind. In that moment, he convinced himself of the futility of negotiating with Muller. He had the seeds of a plan that was less than brilliant, but seemed better than taking his chances with Muller. A knot released in Peter's belly like a spring...
Praise for Man in the Middle
"Pure entertainment. Enjoyably engrossing. Enough intrigue to satisfy anyone. A fun read."
- CLIVE CUSSLER, Bestselling Author of The Numa Files Series, and Vallhalla Rising
"Wall Street-refugee Morris brings an appealingly wild-eyed enthusiasm to his first novel... a breathless...financial thriller."
- KIRKUS REVIEWS
"If the recent rollercoaster ride of the stock market hasn't jump-started your heart, it's time to read Ken Morris' Man in the Middle. This financial thriller both educates and excites, and offers a pulse-pounding return on investment. My market tip? Add this one to your literary portfolio."
- ALAN RUSSELL, award-winning author of Exposure
"Man in the Middle is a great, great book that I couldn't put down. The novel starts with a bang (literally...I can see that in the movie!), the plot unfolds and then it really grabs you. While it was fiction I could swear it was fact. I have been telling people about it and intend to mention it in my column."
- HERB GREENBERG, monthly columnist for Fortune Magazine, daily columnist for Thestreet.Com, and former financial columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle
"Man in the Middle grabs you like a crazed broker and hurls you into a cutthroat world of money, drugs, and murder. Sizzling, high-voltage, hair-raising suspense, plus a treasure trove of fascinating insider's knowledge, practically assure this debut novel a slot on the bestseller list, not to mention readers' calls for an encore."
- FRAN BAKER, best-selling author of Once A Warrior
"It can happen -- perhaps it already has. And, if hasn't happened yet, it will. That's what makes Man In The Middle so great - so enjoyable -- so thoroughly enthralling."
- CHARLIE JONES, legendary sportscaster and NYTimes best-selling author (What Makes Winners Win)
"Kenneth Morris' novel Man In The Middle is a gritty trek through the piranha-inhabited water of high finance. His protagonist, an everyday guy seduced by adrenaline and then by greed, finds the water getting a little too deep when a message left behind by his murdered mother forces him back to himself, back to reality, and back to the distinction between right and wrong. The story is compelling, the characters are interesting, and because I have little experience with high-stakes players in the global marketplace, it was a truly fascinating ride. I would recommend it to readers who want to think while barreling along on a roller coaster of a plot."
- DEBORAH SERRA,successful screenwriter for over ten years, with scripts for CBS, NBC, Interscope, Lifetime, 20th Century Fox, Vanguard Films, Sony Entertainment, And Spelling, among others
"Man in the Middle is gripping from start to finish, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engrossed. Morris manages to balance an insider's view of the way Wall Street works with the intrigue and action of a fast-paced thriller. It was hard to put down, and has me looking forward to his next book."
- DOUG RAMSEY, former FNN and CNBC anchor, author of The Corporate Warriors, business contributor to KUSI-TV (San Diego, CA), and senior information representative, Jacobs School Of Engineering (UCSD)
"This smorgasbord of Wall Street shenanigans, insider trading, murder, adultery, protection money, and many other indiscretions of high finance will keep you glued to your seat until the finish."
- NORM GOLDMAN, Reviewer, TheBestReviews.com
"I've just finished Man in the Middle and was thoroughly impressed. It is a well-told story with beautifully crafted and descriptive language. Dynamically paced and unquestionably authentic, it's written by a first-time author who's destined for the big-time! Who'd a thunk it?"
- CHARLES GOYETTE, KYFI Talk Show Host, Phoenix, AZ
"I very much enjoyed Man in the Middle. The characters are well-drawn, the situation is suspenseful, and the background -- the world of stock trading into which Peter Neil plunges -- is fascinating...this is a world as bizarre and fantastical as any fantasy setting, and similarly divorced from the ordinary world of everyday; the forces manipulated are as mysterious as sorcery. Ken Morris did an excellent job of portraying its incredible amorality while making it all comprehensible (at any rate I comprehended it, and I'm a real financial dunderhead). I thought the dialogue was especially good -- contemporary dialogue is awfully hard to get right and Ken did."
- VICTORIA STRAUSS, Author of The Garden of the Stone (Eos), legendary writers' activist, and Creator/Hostess of Writer Beware
"Ken Morris has created an intriguing, financially correct story wrapped around a gripping and suspenseful page turner."
- CHARLES BRANDES, managing director of the $60 billion Brandes Investment Partners Equity Fund, and author of Value Investing Today
"Bravo to Man in the Middle. The book has great suspense and is filled with twist and turns. The concept is novel, not to mention very clever. It was great -- really great -- and I was sorry it had to end."
- BILL FLECKENSTEIN, Seattle, Washington, legendary short seller and president of Fleckenstein Capital, writer for RealMoney.com, and frequent contributor to CNBC
"I loved Man in the Middle. The story was gripping and the pace was perfect. I've read a lot of thrillers, from Ludlum to Grisham, and Middle had the most intricate ending I've seen. Melding a complex array of financial and economic variables into a heated trading situation, then tying everything together at the conclusion, was terrific -- and rare."
- ANDY KNEETER, former equity research analyst, Geico Insurance; and currently equity research consultant
"I whizzed through Man in the Middle, which is a ripping good read. As a story for our times, I trust it will become the best seller it deserves to be. From the opening chapter, which has an awesome impact, the story really does sock it to you. The characterisations were very strong and the description of the banking environment was so atmospheric it brought back (mixed) memories. The amazing thing, in my experience, is that these guys aren't so much immoral, as amoral. They don't understand why pursuing money at virtually all costs is wrong."
- ROBERT MILLINGTON, investment analyst, government of Singapore, and former managing director, CSFB London, England
"As a former convertible bond trader on Wall Street in the 1980's and early 90's, I can confirm that Man in the Middle's securities trading descriptions are terrific and quite accurate. The author has done a splendid job characterizing the seductive energy that, for both good and bad, drives the markets and individual motivation. As Peter Neal hurtled toward his trouble, I couldn't put the book down. I rarely trade sleep for recreational reading, but Man in the Middle gave me no choice. It's a great read."
- JEAN-CLAUDE KYRILLOS, CFO, Geneohm Sciences, Inc.
"I really enjoyed Man in the Middle and thought the story quite gripping. Having been on Wall Street for more than twenty years and seen a lot of strange characters, the ones in this book were very credible to me. The writing style is very fast paced and very visual. I felt I was watching a movie. Good luck with this terrific and thrilling read."
- BILL O'LEARY, managing director, Morgan Stanley, San Francisco, CA
"Reading Man in the Middle was quite a delight. What I liked most was the dialogue -- it really crackled -- the skillful descriptions of settings, and the plot intricacies, which managed to include murder, drugs, trading scams, old friendships gone wrong, romance, adultery, and a pretty fabulous locale. Wow!! Author Ken Morris did a great job of getting under the skin of Peter Neil. Had I not known better, I would have guessed that Morris must be a 28-year-old male from Southern California -- Neil's expressions, habits, and demeanor were spot on. It is also refreshing to find a financial thriller in a world where so many books revolve around the legal profession. Today's headlines truly demonstrate that the world of finance is not without its villains. And the author really does know his stuff. It is great to see such an exceptionally talented individual expand his efforts to writing, and achieve such exciting results."
- HELEN MCGOWAN, former syndicated loan vice-president, ABN Bank (Denver, CO)
"I spent 17 years on Wall Street, and Man in the Middle immediately took me back to my first days on the trading floor -- the frenetic pace, the machismo, the seduction of outsized sums of money immediately gained and lost, and the ambition it spawns in all who work there. Peter Neil is a believable protagonist, and we sympathize with him as he quickly uncovers the blurred line between good and evil, especially when so much is at stake. In the wake of Enron and Worldcom, Morris' first novel is uncannily prescient of the current travails of corporate America. Morris has the ability to simplify the most complex financial transaction, and, with his insider's view, takes us on a fast paced ride through the world of global capital markets and Wall Street, the heart of capitalism. He reminds us that greed is an unenviable taskmaster."
- SUSAN GILBERTSON, head of equity research, international banking firm, New York, NY
"Man in the Middle was riveting. After the first few chapters, I simply couldn't put it down. One night I sat in the bathroom of the hotel -- so as to not disturb my family-to find out how all the pieces of the puzzles would fall into place. It was a fine combination of Wall Street intrigue sprinkled with just enough romance to capture the attention. I particularly liked the generational connectivity -- the reader has to wait until the last pages to figure out how it all came together. And I thought the character development was spot on."
- LISA GIUFFRA DIAZ, V-P, Global Equities, Goldman, Sachs
"I truly loved Man in the Middle. I intended to read only until my bedtime (early), but stayed up past midnight until I couldn't see the words on the pages anymore. When I awoke the next morning, I picked up the book and finished it (I may have even dreamed about some of the characters). The plot was unpredictable and the hero seemed in trouble far too deep to ever get out. And because I believe there are some real bad guys out there in the investment world -- and I wouldn't want to meet them -- it was all the more frightening. Now I can't wait for the next book!"
- BILLY JOYNER, retired insurance executive, stock analyst, mutual fund manager, and currently consultant to Marshfield Associates
"Man In The Middle -- a terrific read with excellent character development -- manages to be both thought-provoking and captivating at the same time. Brilliantly, the novel dealt with the complexities of Wall Street on both a personal and technical level such that all readers -- not just those in-the-know -- will readily understand. And the constant balancing of values and ethics, compounded by the great pressure on Wall Street to make money at all costs, was fascinating and real. Reading Man in the Middle made me realize that dealing with one's greed and temptation is a struggle that people face every day, not only on Wall Street but in other careers as well. This is a great book, and I am looking forward to Ken's next novel."
- PAUL LOUNTZIS, PRESIDENT, Lountzis Asset Management, LLC (Wyomissing, PA)
"You will not want to be interrupted once you start reading Man in the Middle. Besides being a fast paced, intriguing tale, Ken Morris gives the reader an insider's look at the cutthroat, rip-your-face-off culture and techniques of big time global traders. If investors want to have a great read while learning what they are up against, get this book!"
- SAM MITCHELL, managing director, Marshfield Associates Asset Managers (Dulles, VA)