Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BAD CONNECTION by Michael Ledwidge

BAD CONNECTION

By Michael Ledwidge

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7434-0593-5
Publisher: Pocket

Tough, streamlined thriller about a Big Apple telephone repairman who starts to listen in on selected calls—and soon finds himself swimming with the sharks.

It all starts off so innocently. Checking out a bad loop in midtown, Sean Macklin suddenly realizes he's accidentally eavesdropping on a conversation that tips him off to a juicy forthcoming merger. Instead of even thinking about ignoring the tip, he rushes to play it. Within a few months his $5,000 stake has grown exponentially, and he's got a standing tap on the phone of the investment banker who's been obliging him with information. The latest call he records offers still another opportunity for some insider trading, but something more nasty and explosive: the news that Robert Brent, the squeaky-clean CEO of Chemtech, has just authorized a payment to a bagman in El Salvador to cover up the murders of dozens of protesters executed for opposing a new pesticide plant. It's not news that would burnish Brent's image with Ted Phillips, the tree-hugging head of the biotech company whose takeover he's engineering. Sean considers taking the money and running once more, but, unable to ignore Brent's pontificating face on TV, decides to make him pay. Since he can't let anybody know the damning evidence came from him, he turns to his brother Ray, whose connections as a cop will surely allow him to drop a dime without anybody getting hurt but Brent. But Ray, whose years on the force have taken the shine off his badge, has ideas of his own about what to do with Sean's tape—and his plan launches what's so far been a middling tale of plot and counterplot into the stratosphere.

More old-fashioned, even predictable, in its thrills than Ledwidge's striking debut (The Narrowback, 1999), but just as sharp and efficient in delivering them. Hollywood, take note.