Book - The Palace
Erdman's reputation as king of the financial thriller, won with such bestsellers as The Billion Dollar Sure Thing and The Panic of '89, is reconfirmed by this engrossing tale of profit skimming, money laundering and insider trading centered on the world of casinos. Danny Lehman may be plump, unlettered and without class, but (in addition to being mysteriously attractive to women) he knows what life is all about, or thinks he does. The crucial component is money, and Danny proves he has the skills to acquire it in vast amounts. From owning a modest coin shop he goes to bullion trading, to fencing the skim-offs from a Las Vegas casino, to owning the casino himself, to making it a dazzling success (after picking up a few tips from Europe). Eventually, he becomes the first to cash in on the gambling potential of Atlantic City. As if to the manner born, Danny dances through the minefield laid for him by the FBI, the mob and his own associates, and is not averse to arranging a rub-out or two on the way. Erdman's knowledgeability about high-flying international financial operations and his sardonic matter-of-fact tone combine to give the reader the chilling sense that his story is not by any means all fiction. 150,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club dual main selections; author tour.