A bank executive gets more than he bargained for as he fights for his life, his reputation and his family in this timely financial thriller.
Halsey “Stu” Stuart is a prodigious banking talent—it’s his personal relationships that he can’t quite figure out. Working at his father’s bank in New Jersey, Stu feels suffocated by his unloving CEO patriarch. Despite his wife’s pleas, Stu moves his family to the posh enclave of Fortune Beach, Fla., to work for his brother-in-law, Des Cain. Des is the renegade chairman of the local bank, where many celebrities and wealthy second home owners keep accounts. Fast-forward five years, and Stu has been dragged into an ugly and potentially fatal series of investigations at the bank. It seems that Des has been making hefty commercial loans to friends and business partners with the bank’s money and writing off any delinquency on the accounts. Stu, head of the commercial loan department, has no idea of these transgressions (along with many others, including conflicts of interest with the bank’s chief counsel and de facto money laundering), but he may pay the price nevertheless. Stu is forced into battle to save his reputation and keep himself out of jail—even though they are family, Des would not hesitate to blame everything on Stu. As the Justice Department, FDIC and state agencies close in, the illegal involvement of Don Zale, congressman and chairman of the House Banking Committee, makes the situation even more dire. Fortunately, Stu has a few allies on his side, including a newly protective father and a best friend who knows some important law enforcement agents in Washington. The Fed’s reasons for keeping Stu in Fortune Beach may be a little flimsy, the banking terms may confuse some readers and predicting how all the pieces fall into place may not be terribly difficult, but the novel is still an enjoyable read.
Despite some plot holes and occasionally clunky prose, the book moves quickly and provides a great ride.