THE SUCCESSOR by Stephen Frey


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Another nearly thrilling tale starring Wall Street buyout guru Christian Gillette (The Protégé, 2005), by former financial chief Frey.

In this latest manifestation, Gillette, the senator’s son, is in his early 40s. He’s still keeping a personal distance from Everest Capital partner Allison Wallace, the tall, blonde daughter of the famous investment family, but now he’s dabbling in politics, supporting the first African-American president, Jesse Wood. Summoning Gillette to Camp David, Wood needs help identifying a “good” group of insurgents in the power struggle that ensues in Cuba now that Castro is believed to be dead. Frey briskly cuts among several seemingly unconnected points of action, from the Oscar ceremony in Hollywood, where actress Melissa Hart has just won the Best Actress award and repudiates her famous director father in her speech; to Cuban surgeon Dr. Nelson Padilla’s shadowy political work in Havana as a member of the Los Secretos Seis (“The Secret Six”), who planning to undermine the military dictatorship with the support of the American government; to Republican shenanigans aiming to persuade powerful insurance matriarch Victoria Graham to undermine Gillette on his illegal Cuban mission and thereby replace him as head of Everest Capital. In a nutshell, everyone wants a piece of the powerful, charismatic, somewhat naïve Gillette, and he’s betrayed on all fronts, professionally and personally, especially in the alluring form of young Hart, shut out in Hollywood and hired by the conniving Graham to transform herself so convincingly into the character of poor wayward Beth Garrison that Gillette falls for her. Even his fiercely protective bodyguard and Everest protégé Quentin Stiles—reappearing in fine spirits here—can’t keep things from getting murkier and murkier. Frey’s action is typically rather far-fetched, the characters rather wooden.

A noisy thriller featuring a lot of evil-minded Republicans and money clanking in pockets.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 2007
ISBN: 0-345-48062-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2006


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