"The Trust" (Minotaur), by Norb Vonnegut
Wall Street insider Grove O'Rourke knows all about the dangers of the nation's center of finance. As a top producer with a brokerage firm where he accounts for millions of dollars, he must also deal with cutthroat internal manipulations, a constant turnover of supervisors and the push to get the upper hand.
In Norb Vonnegut's "The Trust," O'Rourke gets a more direct taste of danger when he heads to sultry Charleston, S.C., to fulfill an old friend's last request by taking a seat on the board of the charity the friend founded.
O'Rourke feels himself settling into the city and the slower-paced lifestyle in Charleston, but before he can be completely lulled into the world of magnolia blossoms and Southern hospitality, things start to turn nasty.
Over the objections of his firm, he agrees to take one of the three spots on the Palmetto Foundation, which channels donations in a way that allows donors to be anonymous.
While O'Rourke is struggling to deal with his New York office, which is selling his division, he is also wrestling with his agreement to transfer $25 million from the Catholic Fund, as requested by a priest who may not be the kindly representative of the church he seems to be.
When attorney Biscuit Hughes contacts O'Rourke about a sex superstore that is owned by the Catholic Fund, O'Rourke and Hughes launch an investigation. Suddenly the FBI is moving in on O'Rourke, and he's learning that the money the Catholic Fund is supposed to be using to help homeless youth in the Philippines is going to much darker purposes.
Vonnegut turns out crisp prose and delightful conversations that move the reader from one exciting event to another. If the perilous journey that O'Rourke is forced to take seems a bit questionable, it also provides a tense turn for readers.
And there is a nice twist that few will see coming to take the intrigue right up to the last page.