Top Producer

“Vonnegut’s debut meets the gold standard for financial thrillers as it puts the frenzied, cutthroat world of Wall Street’s best stockbrokers (aka the ‘top producers’) on brilliant display.” – Publishers Weekly (6/19/09 starred review)

Top Producer by Norb VonnegutOn Wall Street, deals change, friends become enemies, enemies become friends—and you just might get fed to the sharks.

In a world that moves as fast as finance, top producers think three steps ahead and make snap decisions. Theirs is a blurred version of reality, one that conceals motives or rewards bold moves. All too easily, scams can be disguised as success; plotting can be mistaken for killer instincts. And it’s all fun and games…until someone gets hurt.

For Grove O’Rourke, top producer at the investment firm of Sachs, Kidder, and Carnegie, his job is his life. His friends are his colleagues, and his best friend, Charlie Kelemen, is legend—larger than life both in the business world and in body mass, known and liked by everyone. At least it seems that way, until his spectacular murder is carried out in front of hundreds of horrified party-goers.

When Charlie’s widow asks Grove for help after her husband’s death, Charlie’s legend begins to crumble, and even his widow is hiding a dark secret. Still reeling from the death of his friend, Grove stumbles upon a web of false statements and forged documents, a web of people whose lives drastically changed the instant they signed a dishonest deal. And what he discovers is how money—vast sums of money—can cover up even the most glaring imperfections in relationships, and fool everyone.

Well, almost everyone.



“Norb Vonnegut, who has made a career out of wealth management, pulls off a compelling thriller that centers on the murder of hedge-fund schemer Charlie Kelemen: He’s tossed into a public aquarium and munched by sharks…This novel ponders the age-old ramifications of greed, but Vonnegut gives it a fresh, timely twist.”

USA Today

“[Vonnegut] knows what he’s talking about.”

―John Searles, book editor at Cosmopolitan, speaking on the Today Show

“An entertaining debut…The story mirrors reality —in ways that may now surprise even its author, who finished the book before the economic meltdown .The two decades Vonnegut spent as a wealth advisor are evident in the venom he brings to descriptions and in his grasp of the cutthroat world of finance.”

SmartMoney magazine  (A Smart Book “Best Of” pick)

“Norb Vonnegut makes a sterling debut in Top Producer, a financial thriller extraordinaire that reads like a 2009 version of Tom Wolfe s brilliant Bonfire of the Vanities for a world that has lost its taste for Wall Street excesses….A former wealth manager himself, Vonnegut paints a vivid picture of life lived between million-dollar trades. But he also writes with an aplomb that makes Top Producer a literary reimagining of the film Wall Street where murder, as well as money, never sleeps.”

Providence Journal-Bulletin

“Vonnegut’s debut meets the gold standard for financial thrillers as it puts the frenzied, cutthroat world of Wall Street’s best stockbrokers on brilliant display.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A smartly constructed tale with an appealing lead.”


“Vonnegut makes his irreverent protagonist someone we can root for as he pursues crooks who use the redemptive language of hedge funds to hide financial malfeasance.”

Library Journal