Scofield’s debut novel, a financial thriller, introduces readers to a main character so difficult and full of malice that he makes Hannibal Lector seem like a kindly old uncle with quirky dietary habits.
Evan Stoess, the byproduct of a ritzy prep school education but born out of wedlock to a trailer park–trash mom who raised him in a home dominated by an abusive stepfather, envies the rich and successful to the point of obsessiveness. Evan, who works in finance, spends much of his free time scheming ways to grow rich and spying on a wealthy man and his family. When Evan manages to persuade his employers to invest in a nascent company that might have stumbled upon the cure for a terrible disease, he thinks he’s found his ticket to the top. But that comes to a halt when everything tilts and he’s wiped out, along with his company. After his firing, Evan is hired by a firm that profited from his mistakes, and soon, he’s come up with a new plan involving short sales of stock to enrich both the company and himself. But the price Evan must pay in order to make his plan work is high and requires a great sacrifice. The question, Scofield poses, is how far will Evan go to succeed and get revenge on the people who have wronged him? Scofield, an attorney, writes knowledgeably about high finance, but unless readers are familiar with the terminology, they’ll find much of the book incomprehensible. This is a tale spun in staccato and somewhat lifeless prose. Scofield buries the plot under a mountain of name-dropping minutiae, to the point of regaling readers with the brand of shorts worn by a store clerk.
An intriguing idea that could have been better executed but instead ends up top-heavy with dull technical detail, static writing and a hard-to-swallow conclusion.