Reviews for Black Fridays
Booklist Reviews 2012 September #1
*Starred Review* This stunning first novel has all the ingredients of a real turkey. A sad-sack investment-broker hero (sad sacks are fine, but sad-sack brokers lack all charisma) whose life and career are shattered by a fiddle he worked on a brokerage house's books. A wife who dumped him while he was in prison. Finally, to pile on the downers, an autistic son he must raise on his own. There are also yards of financial bafflegab--SWIFT numbers and standard deviation--that right-brainers won't be able to absorb. The result, improbably, is one of the year's finest crime debuts. The writing is fresh and vivid, and the scenes with the damaged boy go from touching to harrowing; in fact, the boy's obsession with patterns provides a key to the scam's unraveling. The disgraced hero is asked to investigate irregularities at a securities firm, and his snooping leads to fights, car chases, and murders--enough violence to please action-driven thriller fans. And all that financial droning makes its own point: those greedheads who stole pensions and destroyed life savings aren't swashbucklers. They're, well, drones with access to somebody else's money. The book is thrilling and haunting at once. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
First-time author Sears does the near impossible in this high-finance thriller: He turns a Wall Street executive who's just served jail time for fudging figures into a sympathetic character. Fresh from two years in jail, disgraced executive Jason Stafford lands a new job in record time: He's called in to tidy up records that were left in disarray after junior trader Brian Sanders died in an apparent boating accident. It doesn't take long to figure out that the death wasn't accidental, especially after Stafford discovers that Sanders was into kinky sex and high-stakes gambling. The trail leads Sanders through the Wall Street world he once frequented and leads to a colorful FBI showdown. A former Paine Webber executive himself, Sears peppers the story with insider details, and his portrayal of Wall Street tensions and rivalries is convincing. The murder plot is turned capably enough, though most avid mystery readers should be able to guess the outcome. But the book's other story, that of Stafford's rehabilitation, proves the more compelling one. The character is flawed but appealing (and making him a Deadhead was a nice touch), knowing he created the mess that he's picking up. That includes a failed marriage to Angie, an alcoholic former model, who's returned to her home in rural Louisiana and now has a second husband who's prone to violence. Jason and Angie also have a severely autistic son, and the details of his condition also have the ring of truth. Jason's attempts to reach his son--and to rescue him from his ex-wife's new partner--provide the book's strongest scenes and the key to Jason's redemption. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2012 April #1
Jason Stafford was a major player on Wall Street (like the author, once managing director at Paine Webber and Jeffries & Co.). But, having spent time in prison after some financial finagling (not like the author), he can't find a job. Then he's asked to check on possible irregularities in some accounts handled by a recently deceased junior partner. A debut thriller getting lots of push. [Page 57]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
Jason Stafford was a major player on Wall Street (like the author, once managing director at Paine Webber and Jeffries & Co.). But, having spent time in prison after some financial finagling (not like the author), he can't find a job. Then he's asked to check on possible irregularities in some accounts handled by a recently deceased junior partner, and all hell breaks loose. On the personal side, getting full custody of his autistic child is remaking Stafford's life. A debut thriller getting lots of push. - "Fiction Previews, September 2012, Pt.2" LJ Reviews 3/15/2012 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 July #2
At the start of Sears's impressive first novel, one of the best of a recent crop of financial thrillers, Jason Stafford admits: "I was the first alumnus from my MBA class to make Managing Director. I was also the first... to go to prison." A simple accounting error turned into a major felony--in effect, he mortgaged his trading portfolio's future to the tune of million, and lost his career, most of his wealth, and his family. Out of prison and back in Manhattan, Stafford takes a short-term consulting gig with a medium-sized boutique firm, Weld Securities, looking into the trading records of a young executive who died under mysterious circumstances. In an emotionally engaging subplot, Stafford attempts to reclaim his five-year-old autistic son from his ex-wife. Sears is terrific at generating momentum and suspense while juggling a convoluted plot and an enormous cast of characters. A former trader himself, he's also good at making the opaque intricacies of the financial markets transparent, even interesting. Wall Street doesn't necessarily need or deserve much sympathy, but this is no screed, and the book is the better for it. Agent: Judith Weber, Sobol Weber Associates. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC