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Book Review: Reckless by Andrew Gross

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In London the chief investment officer of the Royal Saudi Partnership receives a special call ordering him to execute a job. Thousands of miles away, in Connecticut, chief equities trader at one of Wall Street's oldest firms and his family are murdered in their own home in what seems to be no more than a robbery gone terribly wrong. All apparently unconnected events they are, in fact, the falling dominoes of a conspiracy set into motion by group of international financiers known as the Gstaad Gang in Andrew Gross' newest thriller Reckless. Gross presents a fast-paced, action-packed story with a ripped-from-the-headlines feel: set against the current financial crisis as a backdrop, Reckless is based on a disturbing what-if which Gross spins into an addictive yarn.

Gross' hero from Don't Look Twice, Ty Hauck, is drawn into cross hairs of this sinister financial conspiracy when he decides to find the killer of April Glassman, the victim of the Connecticut murder and a close personal friend. Ty has left law enforcement after twenty years, including time with NYPD, to work in the private sector as a partner with the Talon Group, a global, private security company with new offices in Greenwich, Connecticut. Solving two high-profile murder conspiracies has made him something of a local celebrity, but his work for Talon is mostly mundane and slow paced. Fortunately, and perhaps too conveniently, he is given a background investigation case involving a man who has become a serious part of the life of a wealthy socialite Merrill Simons, the former wife wife of Peter Simons, a Wall Street power player. There are however questions surrounding Dani—his past seems to be a cypher, and Dani himself seems to have sprung into being only few years before meeting Merill Simons—suspicions that make Simons want to know just who she is really dealing with—the man of her dreams or something else. But when Ty is asked to investigate Dieter Thibauld, Dani, he has no idea that his investigation will connect the dots, including the murder of his friend, to reveal a global conspiracy.

Naomi Blum is the lead investigator for the U.S. Department of Treasury's Financial Crime and Terrorism Task Force with a mandate to intercept large scale financial fraud and conspiracies with national security implications. As a sort of first responder to clandestine economic and financial attacks on the United States, it is Blum's job to notice things and to try and find patters that reveal threats. The deaths of two prominent Wall Street traders certainly have her interest, as does the fall of one of the Street's major firms, Wertheimer Grant. Then there are the phone intercepts of a month old conversation between a London-based chief investment officer of the Royal Saudi Partnership and an unknown man with their cryptic but ominous phrase, the planes are in the air. With Dow down 20 percent, Blum is certain that something is bad is happening.

Soon the separate investigations of Hauck and Bloom cause their paths cross and the two end up working together, to the point of even becoming close, as the two try to unravel a conspiracy. But what at first appears to be an apparent terrorist plot to strike at the financial system of the world soon turns out to be something more sinister, something involving high government officials.

As in the work of James Patterson, chapters here are short and come with the impact of 9mm rounds which makes for a quick, intense, pulse-pounding reading, an experience that fans of the Patterson-style thriller will find irresistible.

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About A. Jurek

A. Jurek is one of the editors at Blogcritics. Contact me at: a.jurek@blogcritics.org