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Posted September 18, 2012
Jason Stafford has nothing. He was once a top Wall Street trader
Jason Stafford has nothing. He was once a top Wall Street trader living the high life, but after a getting in over his head with falsified profits and fraudulent trades, he finds himself at the end of a two year jail sentence with no money, an estranged ex-wife who has his only son, and seemingly no future job opportunities. You can imagine his surprise when the CEO of a large Wall Street firm asks Jason to investigate the trades of a junior trader who recently died in a boating accident. Intrigued by the prospect to work in his old environment and desperate for any kind of income, Jason accepts.
As he begins to reclaim his professional dignity, Jason also is determined to gain custody from his alcoholic ex-wife. Jason Jr., nicknamed "the Kid", has been diagnosed with autism and is not getting the care he needs. With his ex just as unstable as his son, Jason is shocked to learn that the Kid is locked in a room all day. Risking his parole, Jason flies to Louisiana to retrieve his son. When he returns to New York, son in tow, Jason is forced to reevaluate his life, and learn to live with his unique son.
Meanwhile, Jason's investigation is revealing a larger conspiracy than even he expected. As he digs deeper into the web of fraud he attracts the attention of Wall Streets power players as well as agents from the FBI. When he uncovers a system that will certainly rock the entire financial institution, Jason must decide what to do with the information. If he makes the wrong decision, it could cost him his life.
With this excellent debut novel, author Michael Sears enters the thriller genre with a bang. His knowledge of Wall Street brings a unique perspective to the story. This timely tale of financial deceit flows at a perfect pace, never getting bogged down in the details that are presented. While the thriller side of the story is entertaining, it is the father-son relationship that really places the novel on a higher level. Jason's adjustment to becoming the guardian of his autistic son is the secret to this story's success. Sears subtly crafts the two characters, making the reader truly care about the son and root for the Father's redemption. I will admit that the secondary characters were not as strongly conceived as Jason and the Kid, but the focus on the two far outweighed the lack of development in the others. Overall, "Black Fridays" is a thriller with heart that I highly recommend.
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Posted January 29, 2013
Posted November 30, 2012
Posted October 23, 2012
Posted January 30, 2013
Posted September 24, 2012
An Enjoyable Thriller
Black Fridays by Michael Sears is a novel which capitalizes on the author’s Wall Street experience providing interesting insights on financials capers. This is a first book by Mr. Sears and seems to be the first of a series.
Jason Stafford has spent the past two years in jail after being caught running a Wall Street scam. Now the unemployable trader is trying to put his life back together.
A Wall Street firm has hired him to investigate some issues which a junior trader might have had before he accidentally died – but Jason might take on more than he can chew and might risk his life in the process. His only motivation to continue is his only son “The Kid” who is autistic and needs a lot of attention which money can help bring about.
Black Fridays by Michael Sears is a novel about financial schemes, murder and greed but mostly about the meaning of fatherhood. While I couldn’t begin to understand the complexity of the scam which Jason Stafford, the protagonist, pulled over his Wall Street bosses, I liked the other aspects of this book.
Jason has a son which he is fighting for. After spending a couple of years in jail Jason certainly wasn’t up for the “Father of the Year” award, but neither was his white trash ex-wife, her fixation with abusive men and her way of dealing with autism (locking the kid in a room at his grandmother’s house so he won’t hurt himself).
I enjoyed the financial aspect of the book and the motivation of the father to come back into an industry which deplores him (he got caught and took a few people with him on the way down), but I thought that the touching relationship between father and son gave the book unexpected strength which turned the novel from a run of the mill book into a memorable one.
I also liked the way Jason was drawn; he is by no means a good guy and certainly not a moral character. After all, Jason doesn’t hesitate stealing a few hundred thousand dollars here and there and is trying to justify it throughout the book. The protagonist has no remorse, only that he got caught and missed two years with his son.
Black Fridays is an enjoyable thriller, it is fast paced and interesting. Jason might be the only well developed character in the book, but the novel still stands on its own strength. A wonderful debut for Mr. Sears and I’m looking forward to more books about Jason and his son.
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Posted October 8, 2012
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