A CALCULATED RISK by Katherine Neville


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Bank-robbery-by-computer romance from the ex-banker author of the 1988 treasurehunt brouhaha, The Eight. Thirty-ish Verity Banks, the Bank of the World's senior woman executive, is dedicated to her job--until her conniving boss axes her proposal to beef up the bank's lax security. She finds herself wondering how to borrow a great deal of money by hiding it inside the bank's own systems, just to prove that it's possible. But then she's contacted by her mentor of a decade past, the financial/computer whiz and bon vivant Dr. Zoltan Tor--who inveigles her into a bet: Who can steal a billion dollars, invest it to make 30 million, then replace the billion without being detected?! Verity's computer programs are all set to go; Tor intends instead to swindle the bearer-bond market. To complete the seam, Tor will buy an Aegean island, declare independence, and operate as a tax-free but highly profitable international currency exchange. Tor, meanwhile, is romancing Verity ardently; unworldly and computer-obsessed, she's hard to get. Just as their plans mature, Verity's boss's boss attempts a leveraged buyout of their island--using stolen Bank of the World money to do it! Verity will defeat the malefactor and swoon into Tor's arms ere the evil deed is done. The banking details help but lack enough depth to be really persuasive. Meanwhile, Tor, supposedly a towering talent, bungles all the crucial points; and career banker Verity displays all the sex appeal of a dead haddock. By contrast, the ostensible padding (how, circa 1800, the Rothschilds made their pile) stands out.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Ballantine