Set on a prosperous modern Wall Street, Luke Fellows’ SNATCH 2&20 centers on underachieving, privileged, and semi-British hedge fund manager Giles Goodenough. His inexplicable rise through the financial ranks and subsequent fall is this novel’s driving force. cast chock full of colorful and boldly unsympathetic characters—from Giles’s stripper-and-Instagram-influencer wife to his inexplicable admirer, egocentric tech startup CEO Egon Crump—provides action and momentum. Touching on everything from corporate espionage and widespread political corruption to the horrifying precariousness of the financial markets, readers will not be bored.
Following Giles’s meandering quest for career success and money, we see him swept along by the whims of Wall Street kings and startup royalty. Landing a cushy job at a new bank, Giles decides to rest on his questionable laurels. But as he realizes it’s only a false connection with larger-than-life Egon Crump that got him there, he has to buckle down and figure out what’s going on with Crump’s startup—and what’s this world-changing product everyone’s talking about, but no one’s seen? Along the way, Giles’s amorality, willingness to settle and cheat, and the financial elite’s general debauchery paints a grim picture. One that those who’ve worked in finance or out may recognize with no little dismay.
Its strong, unmistakable voice wrangles a confusing arc into a first-person narrative. Weak, often tautological dialogue and confusing cause and effect in the narrative, however, make this eventful tale fall rather flat. The kernels for a good satire are there, but substantive editing is needed to address the overflowing plot, excessive digressions, and confusing dialogue that obscure it. All that said, the author writes with an unmistakable enthusiasm and force of character that shines through even the most baffling character interactions.
In a battle to shock or wow, the narrative frequently undercuts its own aim. Lampooned moments of privileged excess are only occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. Satirical scenes of the powerful being utterly inept only sometimes provide powerful insight. Despite the wild ride, readers may ultimately walk away as perplexed as they are entertained, if not more so.
Luke Fellows’ SNATCH 2&20 falls short of its satirical Wolf of Wall Street promise, providing instead a zany story of the debauchery of Big Finance. The hijinks, scattered plot, and weak dialogue make for a novel both bewildering and entertaining.
~Remy Poore for IndieReader