The Dealer by Paul Kilduff

Cover of "The Dealer"
The Dealer

Once in a while you find a new author that you’ve never heard off and end up very pleasantly surprised, wanting to hunt down anything else they’ve written. Paul Kilduff, for me, is one of these.

I’m not even sure where I picked up this copy of The Dealer – I think it might have been at a nature reserve near Dundee! Wherever it was, I’m very glad I did. It’s been some time since I sat and ploughed through a novel in the way I did with the last half of this one.

As an ex-financier himself, Kilduff’s in a good position to write about the City and all it’s money-related goings-on. His gift is to do so without getting overly complicated or boring. After reading the book, not only did I feel highly entertained but also that I’d learned a little bit about how all those rich people in expensive suits make a (ridiculously large) living.

The plot follows a dodgy dealer, a madam and an investigator trying to prove allegations of insider dealing. Every chapter end with the reader wanting to know what happens next to these main characters and a handful of others. Backgrounds are drip-fed so there’s always something new to find out and the ending doesn’t wrap up quite as neatly as may be expected – in a good way.

Despite all the fun I had reading the book, the ending really stuck out for me. Kilduff’s technique of using fake newspaper articles instead of closing chapters is a smart way of giving a “what happened next” approach. Somewhat reminiscent of a movie flashing up a short paragraph for each main character before the closing credit, but allowing the author to give more detail and also pace things out a bit and add just a final bit of tension.

The reviews inside the book liken him to a “Grisham beater”, but I’d say he’s a sideways step from the American giant in terms of subject matter. Certainly, his ability to tell a story about what is a fairly complex business in terms which the reader can easily understand and become engrossed in is up there with Grisham.

As far as I can tell from the back, The Dealer is only Kilduff’s second novel and was published in 2000. Hopefully this means he has a few more out by now. I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for them.

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