His novels of big money and murder in the world of finance have earned New York Times bestselling author Stephen Frey a richly deserved reputation as a master of suspense who always delivers a high yield. Now he raises the stakes, and the risk factor, in a new thriller that pits a young Wall Street player against corporate conspiracy and White House intrigue—in a dangerous game of double crosses, dirty tricks, and deadly consequences.
An investment banker in the maverick firm Phenix Capital, Conner Ashby is doing all right for himself. At twenty-seven, he’s practically the right-hand man of the company’s founder—a wealthy old pro looking to make a big comeback on The Street while grooming Conner for a place at the top. Between his career and his gorgeous girlfriend, it’s a good life, with every indication of getting even better—until a wayward E-mail crosses Conner’s computer, and plunges his near-perfect world into a terrifying downward spiral.
“The ‘operation’ is way out of hand. If we don’t do something, it’s going to detonate.” It’s a communication not meant for Conner’s eyes, between people he doesn’t know, about a company he’s never heard of—a company that’s engaged in corporate fraud on a massive scale. With no way to trace the E-mail, it’s impossible for Conner to act on the volatile discovery. But with millions of dollars at stake, high-powered careers in the balance, and hell to pay if the truth comes out, whoever clicked the “send” button by mistake isn’t about to take any chances. And for Conner, the evening that began in the arms of a beautiful woman ends in a harrowing race for his life.
As he follows a twisting trail of misdeeds and misinformation that stretches nationwide, Conner slowly uncovers a shocking plot as undeniably real as the gunshot wound in his arm. Now, surviving will mean struggling to expose the truth as relentlessly as his shadowy enemies seek to conceal it— and fighting for his life as ruthlessly as those determined to end it.
At every unexpected turn, Shadow Account deftly reveals Stephen Frey’s many and considerable gifts: his genius for plotting, his mastery of suspense, and his unmatched insight into the dark territory where finance meets felony, money meets mortality, and profit and loss are matters of life and death.
Frey's latest pecuniary adventure follows his formula of extremely complicated plots spun around illegal, high-level financial shenanigans. He's used it with variations before (The Takeover; The Legacy; The Insider; etc.), and despite clunky writing, implausible situations, lucky coincidences and untied threads, it proves perfectly serviceable once again. Investment banker Conner Ashby is checking his e-mail while beautiful girlfriend Liz Shaw lounges nude on his bed when he accidentally intercepts an interoffice memo that refers to improprieties in an entity named Project Delphi. The wayward communication states that this company is engaged in rampant corporate fraud: "Big expense accounts, undocumented loans, and tons of in-the-money option grants. Plus, the senior guys are hiring executive assistants who look like centerfolds but can't spell their own names." Shortly after Conner receives the message, an intruder breaks into his apartment and starts shooting. Conner is out the window and on the run; Liz is dead. The plot encompasses a mysterious presidential chief of staff who is out to either save his boss or do him in, a secretary of the treasury who has cashed in big time on ill-gotten corporate shares, and quite a few women who either want to be Conner's girlfriend or want him dead. It's all very tangled, but Frey has the undeniable ability to explain complex financial transactions while at the same time providing plenty of action and nuggets of insider money lore. Those readers who like their financial fiction fast and furious will be perfectly happy as long as they don't pay too much attention to the details. Forecast: Advertising in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and USA Today will alert Frey's fans to his latest. They'll do the rest. Look for it on bestseller lists.