DIRTY SECRETS by Norman Garbo


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Veteran thriller writer Garbo (Gaynor's Passion, 1985; Turner's Wife, 1983, etc.) this time tries his hand at the subgenre of Wall Street terrorism--with predictable if suspenseful results. Over-heroic hero, two-time Pulitzer investigative reporter, and divorced and handsome Paul Foster is shocked when his longtime mentor Wendell Norton (now head of the Securities and Exchange Commission) is arrested--along with five bankers--for insider trading. The stock market crashes at the news, causing worldwide panic. Norton meanwhile pleads innocence to Foster and asks him to find out what's behind the frame-up. Quickly Foster discovers that the six men served together 20 years before on a federal banking commission whose investigation led to the suicide of Daniel Berenstein. Research and a flight to San Francisco turn up Berenstein's two children--Melissa Kenniston and Robert Bennet--now grown to brilliance, power, and beauty behind false names and shrouded histories. They soon admit their identities to Foster, as well as their desire to avenge their father's death, but they deny involvement in an unsuccessful theft attempt and threats to Foster's life. As Foster tries to thwart the unscrupulous children, he also is attracted to the gorgeous Melissa, learns of a Jewish cabal from Robert, finds himself drawn back to the comforts of his ex-wife Annie, and discovers more than he wants to about his friend Norton. The story skips briskly if implausibly along, interrupted by hokey peeks at the President responding to the economic crisis by planning for armed intervention in the Mid-east, and by similarly ineffective vignettes of doomed average citizens losing their livelihood. The financial twists, political consequences, personal vendettas, Jewish/Arab themes and stories of the common folk make for a messy plot full of showy set pieces, but Garbo pulls off a few neat turns in the final revelations.

ISBN: 525-24657-6
Publisher: Dutton
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