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Herding the Wind
Richard Layh, author
Herding the Wind is a Wall Street novel. It is the story of two people caught in the riptides of young love, memory and loss, jazz and dance, and the arduous impulse of striving for happiness in the heart of a pulsating city.
Layh draws on his thirty-plus years of experience working on Wall Street in his debut novel, as a widower remembers the romance with his high school girlfriend several decades before. When Wall Street trader Democedes “Dee” Felico meets Mary Jo Barnes, the potential new sales assistant at his firm, he is astounded at how much she looks like Beatrice “Bea” Sharpe, the girl who left him heartbroken when he was just 22. Meanwhile, back when Dee fell for Bea, their passion-filled relationship was intense and mutually satisfying despite Bea’s somewhat mercurial nature and Dee’s stress-filled life working in finance while still attending college. But their romance ended abruptly when Bea took off for San Francisco to see her parents.

Layh’s understanding of the cutthroat nature of working as a trader imbues the novel with intense realism, as his characters work their deals, speak their insider language, their thoughts shaped by their business. (“You know how traders are—always looking over their shoulders,” one character observes.)” His New York City pulses with traders’ competitiveness, but also jazz, romance, possibility, and the ups and downs of recent history. The story weaves through recent decades, carefully linking the events of Dee’s personal life to the bumptious era of the Vietnam War (“Vietnam… was a violent cartoon; an indoor/outdoor musical, sloshed in harsh Van Gogh colors, conducted by a spastic corpse”) and the dark days following September 11, 2001.

Readers will be drawn to the intense, intriguing plotline of the similarities between Mary Jo and Bea as well as Dee’s electric reflections on the evolution of his relationship with Bea amid the turmoil in their lives all those years back. Though Dee’s work involves concepts that may be unfamiliar to readers, what matters is always clear, and Layh’s expertly paced depiction of a city, an industry, and a man over decades is convincing and touching as it surges toward its magnetic ending.

Takeaway: A widowed Wall Street trader recalls the girl who broke his heart decades ago in this intense New York novel.

Great for fans of: Randy Susan Meyers’s The Widow of Wall Street, Gary Helms’s Doubled Down: A Novel of Wall Street in the 1970s.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A