Kolhatkar’s Black Edge tells it depressingly well. Justice is not served. The little guy does not triumph ... If Black Edge weren’t about real life, it would be an uncomplicated pleasure to read. The book is many things: a Wall Street primer; a procedural drama; a modern version of Moby-Dick, with wiretaps rather than harpoons. Kolhatkar, a staff writer for The New Yorker and a former hedge fund analyst, expertly synthesizes an enormous amount of material, including court documents and hundreds of her own interviews ... Kolhatkar never reduces anyone in Black Edge to a stone-gargoyle grotesque. But Cohen certainly goes across the street and around the corner to reify certain stereotypes about hedge fund managers ... my hunch is that readers will most remember Black Edge for showing them just how alarmingly pervasive insider trading was in the years surrounding the 2008 collapse.
...a murky tale that reflects extremely badly both on Cohen and on investment banks such as Goldman Sachs that enabled him ... Kolhatkar tells lucidly how Cohen started off as an outlier — a profane and disruptive figure who had no interest in economics, strategy, or even the companies whose shares he traded — and inexorably pulled Wall Street in his direction ... Cohen’s enforced absence from the industry has coincided with a tougher period for hedge funds. The question is whether humans can match computers: the growing force in finance are exchange traded funds, which mimic indexes and investment strategies at a fraction of the cost. He will be competing with a robot if he returns, and the robot has my support.
...a richly reported, entertaining tale about the cat-and-mouse game between the government and Cohen ... Her book is also a deep examination of a culture within hedge funds that demanded employees find an 'edge,' and seemingly continued to rely on illegal tips by insiders for far too long ... If you’ve kept up with the headlines about Cohen over the years, you know the ending of Kolhatkar’s tale in advance: The government never brings a case against him. That reality, to some degree, gets in the way of an otherwise good story — and in the end makes it not nearly as satisfying as Den of Thieves ... This book works, to the extent that it does, because Kolhatkar piles detail after detail upon one another. That’s how she gets a reader to feel like he is in the room. However, too much of the time the reader seems to be in the wrong room, and that’s a major problem ... missing pieces undermine what is otherwise a well-told story. What’s more, if you’re looking for a great revelation or a headline, you will be disappointed. Kolhatkar doesn’t find anything more than what’s already out there.