#bookreview – Circumstances of Childhood by John W. Howell

Circumstances of Childhood

What Amazon says

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?
Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

My review

John W. Howell writes thrillers. This is not a genre of book I generally read. So why did I read it you may ask? Well, I read a few reviews of it and it mentioned the phrases “an investment fund”, “routine audit” and “SEC findings”.

I am in Corporate Finance and have been for sixteen years. I have been involved an many listings on the JSE Limited (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) and over the past six years have spread my wings and been involved in a number of international fund raising exercises. I have also been involved with, and learned a lot about, listings on the London Stock Exchange, Toronto Stock Exchange, Australian Stock Exchange and the Euronext stock exchanges. I have even written publications covering 11 African stock exchanges and a comprehensive comparison of the requirements for all of the stock exchanges mentioned above. I know a lot about investment funds and a fair bit about the SEC regulations. So, quite simply, this book tickled my interest. It also worried me that I might not find the story convincing due to my significant knowledge.

I loved this book. The growth of the investment fund, SEC audit and investigation and the outcome that feature in the book are convincing. John Howell clearly has a very good knowledge base of corporate finance and its rules and regulations and the story rang true to me. The book comprises of two story lines that run parallel.

One is the tale of a successful football star who turns his hand to running and investment fund, with some brilliance but, possibly, with to much trust and a lack of understanding of some of the technicalities. I though John Howell showed a very sound knowledge of computers and electronic trading and the associated risks.

The second story line is that of enduring friendship between two boys thrown together by life’s circumstances. John was skillful in describing the personalities of the two friends and how they both relied on each other for support as they traveled their chosen path of university and football. There is an interesting twist to this friendship that results in Greg moving on to stardom on his own.

There is also a bit of a romance in the book as Greg meets and courts his eventual wife, Terry. The effect of great financial success on their relationship and children is intriguing and it leaves you wondering about the natures and intentions of some of the characters right from the beginning of their entry into Greg’s life.

A fast moving and exciting story, I rated Circumstances of Childhood five out of five stars.

Purchase Circumstances of Childhood

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57 thoughts on “#bookreview – Circumstances of Childhood by John W. Howell

  1. What a lovely review, Robbie. I am so glad you were pleased with the book and especially the elements of your expertise. As you are well aware, today’s author has to spend a significent amount of time on research to make sure the story can hold up with professionals like yourself. Thank you for this review, you made my day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on Fiction Favorites and commented:
    Robbie Cheadle has written an excellent review of Circumstances of Childhood. What is so pleasing is Robbie is a professional in Corporate Finance, and she was not disappointed in that element of the story. If you haven’t visited her blog, you should. She offers terrific writing, advice, inspiration, and baked goodies to die for. Thank you so much, Robbie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Robbie. You had a wonderful topic to begin with, but I was fascinated with your personal technical comments on John’s book.
    He’s so modest that I only glean bits about his past career. I’ve always guessed that he was at a high level in the corporate world, but now I’m wondering if there wasn’t a lot of finance involved. 😉
    Your personal take on the book made the review particularly interesting.
    Best of luck to John with this one, and his soon to be released book too. Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Teagan. I agree with you. I seem to recall reading John was a lawyer. I am sure he was a really good one. Corporate finance is a very strange world of rules, regulations and people who look for loopholes to exploit.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the way you review books. You give just enough to tantalize. This is an area that frightens me. I’d never do investments as my business for the very reason Greg got in trouble. It sounds exciting, John!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review, Robbie! John’s a very talented writer but aside from this it is obvious that he does great research for his books. His books are grounded in reality and that makes them great reads. I look forward to reading this book.
    That being said, you have some impressive credentials. If I get stuck in any of those stock exchange, SEC, JSE areas––I’m coming to you. 😉 xx

    Liked by 1 person

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