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Numbered Account
     

Numbered Account

4.0 58
by Christopher Reich
 

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A job he shouldn't have taken... A woman he shouldn't have loved... A secret he shouldn't expose...if he wants to live.

Nick Neumann had it all: a Harvard degree, a beautiful fiancée, a star-making Wall Street career. But behind the dazzling veneer of this golden boy is a man haunted by the brutal killing of his father seventeen years before.

Now chilling new

Overview

A job he shouldn't have taken... A woman he shouldn't have loved... A secret he shouldn't expose...if he wants to live.

Nick Neumann had it all: a Harvard degree, a beautiful fiancée, a star-making Wall Street career. But behind the dazzling veneer of this golden boy is a man haunted by the brutal killing of his father seventeen years before.

Now chilling new evidence has implicated his father's employer, the United Swiss Bank, in the crime. Nick doesn't know how. Or why. But he has a plan to find out: move to Zurich. Work for the same bank. Follow in his father's footsteps. Look for the same secrets...and uncover something so shocking, so unexpected, justice may not be enough.

For as a circle of treachery tightens around him, as a woman with secrets of her own enters his life, Nick makes another chilling discovery. Not just about his father but about himself. And how far he's willing to go to find out what happened seventeen years before--when a man died and a conspiracy was born.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
With his fortune, his future, and his career on the line, former Desert Storm pilot John "Jett" Gavallan has dispatched his best buddy to Russia to scope out some very disturbing rumors. When his friend fails to return, Gavallan doesn't have time to suspect the worst. Instead, he must beeline it to Moscow to resolve the mess and save as many lives as he can. A pulsing international thriller from the author of Numbered Account and The Runner.
Library Journal
Featuring the ever-intriguing Swiss banking system of numbered accounts, Reich's thriller focuses on the ethical issues of the origin and funding activities of huge "anonymous" sums. Enter ex-Marine Nicholas Neumann, who arrives at United Swiss Bank, his father's employer, to solve his murder 17 years ago when Nick was a child. Nick's quest throws him into an international web of hostile takeovers, drugs, and arms sales (including a nuclear weapon). The novel is definitely a male fantasy, for after he conquers all, Neumann returns to the States to reclaim the fiance who dropped him when he left for Zurich. This has almost all the elements of a bestseller: murder, exotic locales, high finance, and danger, but there is surprisingly little sex; does the violence substitute? -- Rebecca Sturm Kelm, Northern Kentucky University. Library, Highland Heights
From the Publisher
"Fascinating...the tension crackles."
—People

"Chilling detail, suspense and intrigue."
—The Denver Post

"Reich keeps things moving at breakneck speed."
—The Wall Street Journal

"Smart and sophisticated.  .  .  Wonderfully credible."
—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786215058
Publisher:
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1998
Series:
Basic Series
Edition description:
Unabridged Large Print
Pages:
896
Product dimensions:
5.78(w) x 8.76(h) x 1.52(d)

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

Lights. Magnificent lights.

Martin Becker paused before descending the stairs of the bank and gloried in the sea of glowing pearls. The length of the Bahnhofstrasse was festooned with row upon row of Christmas lights, strands of yellow bulbs falling from the sky like warm, electric rain. He checked his watch and with dismay noted that only twenty minutes remained before the last train to the mountains left for the evening.

And still one errand to run. He would have to hurry.

Clutching his briefcase, Becker joined the bustling throng. His pace was brisk, fast even for the dourly efficient executives who, like him, called Zurich their home. Twice he stopped and looked over his shoulder. He felt certain no one was following him, yet he could not help himself. It was a reflex born more of guilt than any perceived threat. His eyes scanned the crowd for a flurry of activity that might justify his apprehension -- a guard yelling for him to halt, a determined face forcing its way through the crowd -- anything out of the ordinary. He saw nothing.

He had done it and now he was free. Yet already his exuberance was waning, the triumph of the moment replaced by a fear of the future.

Becker reached the silver doors at the entry to Cartier as the manager was locking up. Frowning good-naturedly, the handsome woman opened the door and ushered him into the store. One more harried banker buying his wife's affection. Becker hurried to the counter. He had his receipt ready and accepted the elegantly wrapped box without ever losing hold of his briefcase. The diamond brooch was an extravagant gesture. A token of his fierce love. And a glittering reminder of the day he had decided to listen to his soul.

Becker slid the box into his pocket and, thanking the jeweler, left the store. Outside a light snow had begun to fall. He set off toward the railway station at an easier pace. Crossing the Bahnhofstrasse, he continued past the Chanel boutique and Bally, two of the city's numberless shrines to luxury. The street was filled with last-minute shoppers like him: well-dressed men and women rushing home with presents for their loved ones. He tried to imagine his wife's expression when she unwrapped the brooch. He could see her lips pursed in anticipation, her skeptical eyes squinting as she removed it from the box. She would mumble something about the cost and saving for the children's education. Laughing, he would hug her and tell her not to worry. Only then would she put it on. Sooner or later, though, she would need a reason. Marty, why such an expensive gift? And he would have to tell her. But how could he reveal the extent of his treason?

He was pondering this question when a foreign hand found the lee of his back and gave him a violent shove. He stumbled forward a few steps, his knees buckling under him. At the last moment, his outstretched arm found a nearby streetlamp, and he averted a nasty spill. Just then a city tram rushed by, passing no more than two feet in front of him. A blast of wind tousled his hair and spit grit into his eyes.

Becker sucked in a lungful of cold air, calming himself, then spun to locate the culprit. He expected an apologetic face eager to lend him a hand or a leering maniac ready to toss him under the next tram. On both counts, he was disappointed. An attractive woman passing in the opposite direction smiled at him. A middle-aged man dressed in a loden coat and matching hat nodded sympathetically and walked by.

Standing straighter, Becker ran a hand over his jacket, feeling the bulge that was his wife's present. He looked down at the pavement, then at his leather-soled shoes. He breathed easier. The snow. The ice. He'd slipped. No one had pushed him into the path of the tram. Then why could he still feel the imprint of another person's palm scalding his lower back?

Becker looked into the stream of oncoming pedestrians. Frantically, he sifted their faces, not knowing what or whom he was looking for, only that a voice deep inside him, some primal instinct, was screaming at him that he was being followed. After a minute, he resumed his course. He had seen nothing, yet his anxiety remained.

As he walked he assured himself that no one could have discovered his theft. Not yet, anyway. He had, after all, taken measures to avoid detection. He had used his superior's access code. To be safe he had waited until the imperious little man had left the office and used his computer as well. There would be no record of an unauthorized request. Finally, he had chosen the quietest day of the year, Christmas Eve. Those that weren't already in the mountains skiing with their families had left the building by four. He'd been alone for hours. No one had seen him printing the files in his superior's office. It was impossible!

Becker tucked the briefcase under his arm and lengthened his stride. Forty yards ahead the tram was slowing as it approached its next stop. A swarm of passengers pressed forward eager to board. He moved toward the gathering, attracted by its promise of anonymity. His walk turned to a trot, and then to a run. He had no idea from where this sense of desperation had sprung, only that he was full in its grip and had no choice but to obey its commands. He closed the distance quickly, sprinting the last few yards, and arrived as the tram groaned to a halt.

Air whooshed, the doors opened, and a pair of steps extended from the undercarriage of the car. Several passengers descended. He forced his way into the rear of the crowd, rejoicing in the crush of bodies against him. Step by step, he neared the tram. His heart rate slowed and his breathing calmed. Secure in the jostling mass, he managed a short dry chuckle. His worry had been for naught. He would make the last train to the mountains. By ten o'clock he would be in Davos, and for the next week there he would remain, safe in the bosom of his family.

The restless crowd climbed one by one into the tram. Soon it was his turn. He placed his right foot onto the metal step. He leaned forward and grasped the iron railing. Suddenly, a firm hand fell onto his shoulder and arrested his movement. He struggled against it, using the railing to pull himself into the tram. Another hand snatched a fistful of his hair and yanked his head back. A cool ball traversed his neck. He opened his mouth to protest, but no sound emerged. He had no air with which to cry. Blood sprayed from his throat, painting the passengers around him. A woman screamed, and then another. He stumbled backward, one hand groping at his ruined throat, the other mindful of its grip on the briefcase. His legs grew numb and he fell to his knees. It was all happening so slowly. He felt another hand on his, prying the briefcase from his grasp. Let go, he wanted to cry. He saw a flash of silver and acknowledged a tear in his stomach, something gnawing at a rib, then breaking free. His hands lost all feeling and the case dropped to the ground. He collapsed.

Martin Becker lay still on the cold pavement. His vision was blurry and he could no longer breathe. A stream of blood touched his cheek, warming him. The briefcase lay on its side a few feet away. He wanted desperately to retrieve it, but he could not will his arm to move.

Then he saw him. The man in the loden coat, the dapper fellow who'd been walking just behind him when he had stumbled. No, dammit, the man who had pushed him! His murderer bent over and picked up the briefcase. For a second their eyes met. The man smiled, then ran into the street, Becker couldn't see where.

Stop, he yelled silently. But he knew it was too late. He rolled his head and stared above him. The lights were so beautiful. Magnificent, really.

What People are Saying About This

James Patterson
A brilliant thriller that holds you in a vice grip from the first page to the last. It is the strongest, most original suspense fiction debut I've read in a while. If you like The Day After Tomorrow and Absolute Power, you'll love Numbered Account.
Nelson De Mille
A taut, sophisticated, and very well-written international thriller. Christopher Reich, a former insider, opens the vault and lets us peek inside the inner sanctum of secrets...

Meet the Author

Christopher Reich was born in Tokyo and grew up in Los Angeles.  He worked in the private banking department of a major Swiss bank in Geneva before joining the bank's department of mergers and acquisitions in Zurich.  In 1995 he decided to pursue writing full-time.  He lives in Texas with his wife and child.

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Numbered Account 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bought this on a whim and turned out to be the best book I've read in 5 years. Fascinating detail of the Swiss banking industry, a beautiful woman, cloak and dagger, can't trust anybody - the whole nine yards !!
KenCady More than 1 year ago
Having enjoyed Reich's later books, I wanted to see how he started it all. Numbered Account had my attention from the get-go and never let up. I was reading it at every moment...even the awkward ones!
BobW More than 1 year ago
This is a "sit on the edge of your chair" thriller that will keep you guessing until the last 2 pages. Twists and turns that will keep you up at night. We both loved it.
slatsdawson More than 1 year ago
Christopher Reich gets better with each book he writes. This is one of his earlier books and although it is a fairly good read the newer Reich books are pure dynamite. Still, I would recommend buying and reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it! It's a great thriller. I'm not much of a reader, but when I find a great book (like this one) I get hooked. Can't wait for his next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, very detailed. About 600 pgs. Definitely recommend reading this one.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful new menace under the ocean made believable by scientific data.
nookseller More than 1 year ago
This book not only opens up the secret world of Swiss banking, but takes the reader on an exciting journey around the land of the Alps and into the minds of financial geniuses. Very fun to read, and so suspenseful that I often read for hours after I should have just to see what was happening next. Great read, can't wait for more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plot twists and turns make this book interesting right to the end. After working in domestic banking 30 years, a real eye opener to the international scene. The Bank Secrecy Act was aimed at this type of abuse. I didn't want to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Decided to purchase this book to give Mr. Reich a try. It was much, much better than expected. I'm purchasing more of his works. I now have high expectation and I'm hoping his later novels will meet them. Numbered account is a great read! I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written and hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. Fast paced, and an interesting look into the Swiss mindset and its financial and judicial systems. Locations are vividly written. Its many twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. Even while the hero of the story is being seduced by the dark side you keep rooting for hiim to stay true. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wordy but intriguing
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