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The Lingo of Debt Collectors


Advanced Praise for BAD PAPER

“A dramatic rise-and-fall tale . . . Halpern brings unexpected literary heft to the world of debt collection.”  — Kirkus

Bad Paper is nonfiction that reads like the finest thriller: suspenseful and frightening, eye-opening, and even, at times, funny. Jake Halpern’s fascinating, fearless tour of the underworld of debt collections introduces us to a cast of characters—the (mostly) men behind the scary phone calls—who deserve to be the stars of the next great HBO drama.”   
— Joseph Finder, bestselling author of Suspicion and Paranoia



Bad Paper is a riveting tale, fast-paced and filled with unforgettable characters. It is also a deeply reported and powerful exploration of America’s shadow economy.”  
— David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z and staff writer for The New Yorker



“Jake Halpern knows how to follow the money. Only a consummate reporter could have achieved such an intimate view of the two debt collectors he chronicles here. And because he really knows how to tell a story, we can’t take our eyes off this nasty business.”
  — Anne Fadiman, National Book Critics Circle Award–winning author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Bad Paper is a terrific achievement—for the wonderful Ponzi-scheme absurdity of the story, for the outsized characters and the skeptical sympathy they elicit. It’s a book that hangs out in that gray and widening zone where the civilization we take for granted starts to break down, and it reads like Michael Lewis with a sense of the abyss. It’s about downward mobility and the subtle apocalypse and it feels important—important in the way few books ever are.”
   Gideon Lewis-Kraus, author of A Sense of Direction

“Jake Halpern’s gripping tale provides an unprecedented view into the criminal underbelly of consumer finance. It’s required reading not only for everybody with creditors on the line, but for anybody who cares about money or debt.”    — Felix Salmon, senior editor, Fusion