Written by Michael Sears |
FINANCIAL THRILLER | Former Wall Street high roller now paroled ex-con Jason Stafford is now a freelance fraud investigator working for a mid-sized investment bank that survived a Bernie Madoff-like scandal. His boss, Virgil, hired Jason to operate independently, report directly to him, and keep an eye out for things that seem “out of the ordinary.” This does not make Jason popular with his fellow employees, who refer to him as Darth Vader. The firm’s head of compliance “…tended to treat me like a pet cobra – I was convenient for getting rid of rats and mice, but she would have preferred a cat.” On a slow week, Jason decides there is something not quite right about a series of trades. He drives out to Long Island to exercise a little due diligence and check out a warehouse that has piqued his curiosity. The companies in question are only penny stocks, and no one else cares, so why does Jason find himself being chased across a field by a herd of enraged bison? What is he doing on the hate list of an ambitious U. S. Attorney who promises to send Jason back to jail for a long time unless he gives up information that he doesn’t possess? And by the way can anyone figure out who is trying very hard to kill him?
Jason has a buoyant spirit, despite being cut by old friends, threatened by the FBI, beset on all sides by financial chicanery, and blessed with an autistic young son whose behavior in public has other parents offering unsolicited advice on the need for a ‘firm hand’ and ‘discipline.’ Through it all, Jason knows that his son is the best part of himself and he is determined to keep his child safe, whatever the cost.
When I went to the author’s book signing at the Mysterious Bookshop on Warren Street in NYC’s Tribeca neighborhood, Mr. Sears told the group that when he first turned in this manuscript no one, least of all him, was happy with it. So he rewrote it in five months that he called the best five months of his writing life. Whatever the problems were with the book don’t show now. The villains are not arch criminals trying for world domination, just garden variety Wall Street bad hats, drug dealers and white collar gangsters trying to score their first billion. With a background of twenty years’ experience on Wall Street, it’s easy to believe Mr. Sears is writing about what he saw firsthand. Could be my favorite new series.
NOTE: A list of Michael Sears titles can be found in Magpie Recommends.
G P Putnam/Penguin Random House
February 2, 2016