It is an important story, and Mr. Newman, himself a former hedge-fund manager who specialized in sovereign debt, tells it with a combination of investigative skill and dramatic flair ... The tale is intricate, and Mr. Newman’s plotting is tight. The twists are compelling ... This is Mission: Impossible meets The Wolf of Wall Street, to be sure, but Undermoney is also much more. Choppers and megayachts whisk us through this milieu of murderous oligarchs, freelancing spooks, and the people who manage and move their money. From Rembrandt and Dürer (in their artworks) to John Ruskin, Marcus Aurelius, Émile Durkheim and Friedrich Nietzsche (in apt quotation), Mr. Newman’s supercharged world is populated by quite a few personalities with whom you might actually want to have dinner. Sadly all of them are dead, but maybe that’s the point ... Along the way, Mr. Newman’s uncanny eye for detail is on constant display ... or newcomers to this world, Mr. Newman provides a fine primer; for those already familiar, it’s like having your own table at St. Tropez’s Club 55 for a whole week in August ... Tough but humane, as learned as it is lurid, fast-paced but deeply thoughtful, and ultimately an insightful rumination on our times, Undermoney does for this regrettable moment what Boccaccio’s 14th-century Decameron did for the era of the Black Death: provide escape through storytelling, certainly, but also commentary and no little degree of passionate illumination ... stimulating, relevant and dramatic.
... isn’t always an easy read, but ultimately it’s compelling ... the sex scenes are over-the-top, bizarre and geared to, one assumes, indiscriminate male readers ... The takeaway from this everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink, but still important, novel is that even a seemingly pure and honest candidate doesn’t want to risk losing for lack of money. The good that will come from victory justifies the source of the money, but alas, it’s still undermoney.
Newman’s international-finance background is evident here as he takes readers deep into the cloaked financial-espionage world where tricked-out planes and jet packs provide glitter and layers of double-crossings mask the final play.