Carl Messina is the only one of his friends still at the accounting firm where the four of them started more than 20 years ago. Marc is a lawyer, Ken heads a company’s tax department, and Kavi, Carl’s best friend, is CFO at American Dynamics Group. When ADG is accused of bribery, initially at a construction project in the Ukraine and later at plants in other countries, the Securities and Exchange Commission sends Gary Bevins. The SEC generally handles civil matters but is working with the Department of Justice to investigate the case as a criminal offense. And Gary, it seems, is gunning for Kavi, compiling all the evidence, including statements from ADG employees and officers, against him. Carl, Marc and Ken scramble to find a way to help their friend, but since the SEC’s case is so strong, they may have to resort to a solution that’s not exactly within the scope of the law. This is a staunch corporate thriller that forefronts white-collar crime. The novel ably deploys the traditional hero and villain roles. The physically capable Ken, with “muscles on his muscles,” does help devise “the Plan,” but he proves far less helpful than Marc or Carl. Gary is a formidable opponent, and his razor-sharp, mature intellect, especially when interrogating Kavi, belies his youthful appearance—Kavi’s first impression is that the bowtie-sporting Gary looks like a teenager. The relationships among the friends are strong; the book opens with the men at their annual get-together, commemorating their dinner as recruits at the firm, and occasionally flashes back to their meals and conversations throughout the years. In comparison, Carl’s romance with Vicki, an asset-protection attorney hired for Kavi, is feeble. The love he inevitably develops for her seems based solely on Vicki’s bodily attributes.
A crafty thriller in which characters’ wits are their weapons and crimes are often committed without anyone taking notice.