Mortal Bonds

Mortal Bonds

5.0 2
by Michael Sears

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From the author of the extraordinary Edgar-nominated debut novel Black Fridays, a sensational story of murder and financial corruption—and one man’s continued search for redemption.

William von Becker ran one of the largest privately held investment banks in North America, until the bottom fell out, and the whole edifice was demonstrated

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From the author of the extraordinary Edgar-nominated debut novel Black Fridays, a sensational story of murder and financial corruption—and one man’s continued search for redemption.

William von Becker ran one of the largest privately held investment banks in North America, until the bottom fell out, and the whole edifice was demonstrated to be a fraud.

After von Becker dies in prison, financial investigator Jason Stafford is hired by his family. There is still a lot of missing money out there, he’s told, and they want Stafford to find it before the Feds do—and certain other parties, some of whom are nowhere near as scrupulous in their methods. Bad things start happening to the people Stafford talks to. Soon bad things are happening to him as well.

Making it worse, his treacherous ex-wife has come to town, ostensibly to visit their young son. Stafford suspects there’s more to it than that, but even he has no idea how much that visit is about to change all their lives—and send him off to the next chapter of his life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Sears’s strong sequel to 2012’s Black Fridays, white-collar financier-felon Jason Stafford investigates some seriously shady activities on Wall Street on behalf of the family of William Von Becker, an infamous investor who ran a Bernie Madoff–inspired Ponzi scheme, lost billions, and killed himself in prison. The surviving Von Beckers—matriarch Olivia and her four grown children—engage Stafford to see if he can find the missing billions and “salvage something of the family name.” Stafford’s hunt for the money involves former Wall Street colleagues and some of the victims themselves, notably Tulio Castillo, a wealthy Colombian who may be involved in the drug trade. Meanwhile, Stafford continues to face some serious domestic difficulties: a young son with severe autism, a volatile ex-wife, and a girlfriend. The search for all that money in such a high-profile case feels like a longshot, to Stafford and the reader, but Sears’s knowledge of investment banking makes the plot compelling if not always convincing. Deft, witty prose is a plus. Agent: Judith Weber, Sobol Weber Associates. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Jason Stafford, on probation after imprisonment for fraud, certainly has the necessary skills to be a financial fraud consultant. When William von Becker is convicted of a huge Ponzi scheme and commits suicide, his son hires Stafford to find several billion dollars unaccounted for. The FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission naturally are interested, but so are Honduran drug dealers, Balkan thugs, and several von Becker family members. At the same time, Stafford must juggle care for his autistic six-year-old son and a visit from his alcoholic ex-wife seeking reconciliation. As bodies pile up and peril stalks Stafford from more than one direction, his hard-earned prison smarts, math skills, and Wall Street knowledge prove invaluable. VERDICT The author's two decades of Wall Street experience support Stafford's confident movement in the international world of bearer bonds, Swiss banks, and the superrich who use them. Introduced in the Edgar and Barry Award-nominated Black Fridays, Stafford again alternates between high-stakes risk-taking plus violence and the controlled world of his son, whom he'll do anything to protect. A touching, tense, and terrific thriller. [See Prepub Alert, 4/29/13.]—Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Kirkus Reviews
Disgraced Wall Street trader Jason Stafford hunts the proceeds of a scam more successful and grandly scaled than he ever dreamed of. When he killed himself in prison, William Von Becker left an unholy mess behind. The Ponzi scheme he'd run for years had finally blown up, leaving the latest investors holding the bag. The rifts between his widow, Olivia, and her children--foreign-exchange expert Binks, prodigal son Virgil, Asperger's-stricken Wyatt and daughter Morgan--make it hard for them to present a united front about anything. And they're stung by accusations that as much as $3 billion is still unaccounted for. On the theory of setting a thief to catch a thief, Virgil hires Stafford to look for the missing money. Jason's preliminary inquiries among William Von Becker's associates and staffers don't turn up the loot, but they do reveal another important player: Colombian banker Tulio Botero Castillo, who claims that Von Becker's haul included $100 million in negotiable bearer bonds. Castillo's under pressure from some unsavory types with quick trigger fingers to recover the bonds, and he's more than happy to share the pressure with Stafford. Soon, the tax attorney whose murder kicks off the tale is joined by two other victims, whose deaths do not bring Stafford any closer to his goal. Meanwhile, his poisonous ex-wife, Evangeline Oubre, has left Louisiana for a stay in New York. She says it's to make amends under her 12-step program and spend some time with her son, whose autism makes him a handful for either parent; Stafford's lover, Skeli, predicts darkly that she's looking to reunite with Stafford after the spectacular flameout of her second marriage. Any way you look at it, the man has serious problems. As densely plotted as Sears' strong debut (Black Fridays, 2012), with complications that keep mounting in the race to the final curtain. A particularly nice touch is the subordination of the scheming suspects to Stafford's troubled, loving relationship with his son.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
A Jason Stafford Novel Series, #2
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.16(h) x 1.16(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for Mortal Bonds

“Stafford is a cool, edgy character.”—John Sandford

“A hero I'm still thinking about days afterward.”—Tess Gerritsen

“A twisty tale of greed…Grade: A.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Raves for Black Fridays
Winner of the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel
Nominated for the Edgar®, Anthony, International Thriller Writers’, and Barry Best First Novel Awards

“[An] exciting and compelling Wall Street thriller [with] an insider's jaded wit.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Definitely worth the investment.”—The Associated Press

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