A murder mystery set against the backdrop of the impending financial crisis of 2008.
Dr. Joshua “JD” Dionne receives an anxious call from the wife of one of his closest friends—Dr. Richard Bridger—who seems to have gone missing. When Dionne checks Bridger’s hotel room, he finds a blood-soaked scene with signs of a struggle and a severed finger he’s sure came from Richard’s hand. The list of suspects is long. Richard’s wife, Dot, was exasperated by his chronic infidelity and had financial motives to kill him. Every husband whose wife slept with Richard has to be considered as well. Additionally, Richard had busted a former student—John Maynard Carter—for plagiarism and then alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission that he might be involved in financial fraud. Dionne has a background in forensic accounting and participates in the investigation led by Detective Antonio Puccini, a Columbo aficionado. But the complications don’t end there. Dionne’s friend Fareed gets entangled in a contretemps with an artist who has ties to Carter as well as Carter’s friend Harriman, who also seems knee-deep in nefarious financial activity. Fareed’s life is threatened over the dispute (and his dog is murdered), and Dionne is nearly offed after he discovers Harriman is running a complex Ponzi scheme. Thrown into the mix is the possibility of a maniacal serial killer with plans to make Dionne his next victim. In his first novel, Pill creates a tangled skein of clues, a tantalizing feast for the reader hungry for investigative intricacy. Also, the author smartly weaves in the 2008 banking debacle, which serves as the motivation for considerable wrongdoing. And while the plot can be frustratingly dense, Pill repeatedly offers readers helpful synopses, sometimes delivered in bullet notes. The dialogue can be melodramatically rendered, however. Consider Dionne’s wife’s reaction to an attempt on his life: “JD, what in Hades is happening to us? A week ago our biggest problem was Lehman Brothers’ stock price, and maybe Junior’s curfew, and now we’re thinking about armed guards for our house.” Overall, Pill’s creation is both intelligently fashioned and genuinely immersive, ideal for fans of crime fiction.
An exciting, financially savvy story of Wall Street malfeasance and murder.