Naked Option

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Press: Harriman House; 1st edition (September 24, 2007)
Publication Date:2007-9
Author Name:Kolman, Joe


Dave Ackerman, the narrator of Naked Option, is a brilliant trader but one day, recklessly trying to one-up his firm's superstar, he goes naked on an option trade and loses $112 million in two hours. 
His career is over.
Then he hears about an auditing job at an investment bank.
He knows within minutes that something is very wrong, but he's so desperate, he takes the job.His new partner is Susanna Cassuto, an attractive young auditor he tags as a rich party girl.
But on the couch with the lights off, she becomes something else - awkward and inexperienced.
What is going on? Together, they discover the elegant embezzlement scheme going on: one trader is working inside with a partner outside.
When somebody turns up dead, Dave and Susanna race to put the pieces together - but the bank drops the case.
They're fired.
Furious, Dave goes out on his own to find the killer.But the killer finds him first.

About the Author

Joe Kolman has been a financial writer for more than two decades. 
He began his career in 1983 as an associate editor at Institutional Investor magazine.
In 1992, he started Derivatives Strategy, a publication that explained the nascent market in over-the-counter derivatives in plain English.
The publication quickly became the leading magazine covering the U.S.
derivatives market.
In 2005, he became a vice president at AllianceBernstein Investments.
He has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, and his writing has appeared in more than a dozen financial publications.


Mystery, Thriller & Suspense,Thrillers & Suspense,Financial,Business & Money,Investing,Introduction,Crime,Murder

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Comment List (Total:12)

  •     Naked Option is the rare kind of novel that contains the best elements of a thriller (fast pace, crackling dialogue, unexpected plot twists) with an intelligent sensibility and...
  •     The font was so small in this book--possibly a 4 point or 6 point--that it was impossible to read without getting a headache. I wonder if they were trying to save paper by fitting it on fewer pages.
  •     .I had no idea what a Naked Option was when I picked up this book to read. However, I was immediately drawn into the story of Wall Street just after 9/11, and where the...
  •     I'm generally not one for Wall Street (or any other street) financial thrillers, but I do like fiction that provides a glimpse at new worlds, o thought I'd give this one 10-15...
  •     David Ackerman is a successful options trader even in the chaotic days after 9-11-2001, till the day he flames out, losing millions of dollars for his bank and committing...
  •     It is post 9/11. David Ackerman has lost his touch. Once known as a brilliant options trader, he enters into a naked options trade. Things get worse.
  •     Well- written novel, very entertaining!
  •     I'll be the first to admit that I'm not into this sort of thriller, but Naked Option intrigued me because it takes place shortly after 9/11 and because there are erotic elements...
  •     Dave Ackerman is a successful options trader who tries to outdo a cocky co-worker. His financial shenanagins get him in deep trouble and he loses his job.
  •     Set in the New York City financial district following 9/11, this is the best story about Wall Street since Lawrence Sanders "Timothy's Game." Dave Ackerman, a skilled options trader, gets into trouble plunging into the market with naked options doing derivative trading. He now needs new employment and finds himself teamed with Susanna Cassuto auditing the activities of derivative traders on the trading flood of an investment bank.Events take a sudden turn as a man under investigation turns up dead. The bank wants to close out its involvement, but Susanna is a woman on a mission, and Dave is drawn into the case to assist Susanna. Susanna is the dominant person in this relationship.Along the way, you will learn a lot about derivative trading - Dave's specialty; and you will learn about the possible financial irregularities that can occur. There is also some discussion of Orthodox Jewish traditions as Dave pursues Susanna.The novel has some discussion about attitudes towards gays. A trading floor is like a men's locker room. A man could never come out of the closet, and will even disguise his real interests to be "one of the boys." The novel has some language and sexual content (both heterosexual and homosexual). I would give the novel an AO rating for adult only.
  •     Judging by how few and far between they are, it's not easy turning everyday corporate world office challenges into a page-turning thriller. I mean, really, the lead character is an auditor. Doesn't lend you to thinking about a great thriller, does it?BuT, this book does it exceptionally well (and actually the main character is an auditor-failed options trader). All the characters are interesting, relatable, human and flawed. The mystery of how money is being scammed from the bank and who did it has plenty of twists and turns. Throw in a murder, and well, it's a smart, page-turner of a book that makes sleeping to prepare for your own life in the corporate world seem optional.Kolman, the author, knows his financial world. So, not only was I entertained, but I learned a few things about the weird world of optionS trading in NYC, as well.BOTTOM LINE: GREAT BOOK FOR ANYONE WHO ENJOYS A GOOD CORPORATE THRILLER!
  •     Joe Kolman, Naked Option (Harriman House, 2007)I don't know how it is I came to start reading this odd subgenre known as the corporate thriller. (Okay, I do-- it's all Joe Finder's fault. But I digress.) I know as much about corporate culture as I do about quantum physics, and to be honest, I find quantum physics a lot more interesting. So why is it that the corporate thrillers I read end up capturing my imagination? It's more impressive when the book in question really delves into the world it's floating atop, instead of simply using it as the backdrop for a conventional thriller plot. That's the case with Joe Kolman's Naked Option, which goes into all kinds of detail on, well, everything, from stock trading to Jewish marriage customs-- and somehow it's all utterly engrossing.Yes, I'm as confused by that statement as you are, but I guarantee you-- if you pick up Naked Option, you'll find it just as riveting as I did. I mean, come on, it's a corporate thriller blurbed by Alison Lurie. How can you go wrong?David Ackerman is not having a good month. He lost his bank $112 million in the wake of September 11, and subsequently lost his job (and his Series 7 license). His girlfriend has moved across the country to take a job as a film critic. Not a good time to be Dave Ackerman, that's for sure. But a corporate lawyer looking for a sharp options trader gives him a break and an auditing job, trying to find out how someone on the trading floor is scamming money from the bank. He doesn't know it's happening for sure, but he strongly suspects, and Dave and his new partner, Susanna Cassuto, are the bloodhounds he sets on the trail. Can we say 'rebound relationship", kiddies? We certainly can! But there's something different about Susanna. And something very different about this scammer. Especially when, just when Dave and Susanna are on the brink of catching him, he turns up dead...Kolman has a knack for explaining stuff and making the explanations work. I don't know how that happens, but it does. The amount that I know about stock options is nil, pretty much, but I know what one is, and the basics of trading them. So I'm not a complete amateur. And yet Kolman's explanations of the process didn't seem as if he were talking down to the reader, which is impressive. Even more impressive is that the explanatory sections of the book, which are often a pace-killer in the extreme, don't slow things down here at all. Part of the reason for this is, likely, that the book is slower-paced in general than your average thriller-- Kolman's wall street is not the adrenaline-fueled world of a Joe Finder novel. There's a mystery to be solved, that mystery gets more complex, and the book's pace matches Dave Ackerman's-- he's got no idea what he's doing in this world, save trying to make a paycheck and falling in love with Susanna Cassuto, and the book's pace matches Dave's-- hesitant and fumbling one minute, decisive (and headstrong) the next. That may sound like a criticism, It isn't meant as one. It's quite a performance on Kolman's part, and I find it impressive.The one thing that bugged me is what I perceived as the book's attitude towards gay characters. Now, I rush to say I'm 99% sure that Kolman's take here is that the characters who dismiss the murder as a "gay crime" are buffoons, or at least well-meant folks who have their brains in the wrong place, and that Dave's sexual confusion as he gets farther into the case is meant to help us identify with him somewhat (at least, those of us who've been in that same confused state). Overall, I think the book is meant to be sympathetic, in some general sense, to its gay characters. Certainly, two of the most likable guys we meet in the book are gay. But there's still a kind of undercurrent that made me less than comfortable a time or two. And again I say, that may well have been meant-- we're supposed to be offended at the bullheaded police detective, whose aggressive dismissal of the case as a gay crime borders on the homophobic. But it just rubbed me the wrong way sporadically. Your mileage may (and I'm sure it will) vary.That said, though, I sailed through this one in two days. It is readable, compelling, very well-plotted, and very good stuff. Recommended. ****

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