Debut author McInerny follows a young lawyer who’s up against the deadly forces of the international banking system in this financial thriller.
It’s 1994, and when Kenna Rand’s law-partner grandfather dies suddenly in Central Park, it’s assumed that he suffered a heart attack. However, Kenna suspects foul play. At the wake, she’s approached by Michael Fein, a lawyer representing an American Jewish organization in possession of Weimar government bonds, now worth hundreds of millions of dollars—if the German government decides to recognize them. Kenna’s grandfather was about to represent Fein’s organization at the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland, so Fein asks Kenna, an expert in the arcane field of pre–World War II gold bonds, to take his place. She’s attracted to the idea of finishing the work, although she has an incomplete notion of the risk involved. If Germany makes good, it would deplete their reserves and destabilize the nascent, fragile European Union. Additionally, the bonds represent an embarrassing complicity between the U.S. government, American firms, and Hitler’s Germany—one that many would prefer to keep concealed. Thus Kenna confronts a number of adversaries, including a murderous former U.S. secretary of state, a CIA man with a tendency to go rogue, and an avaricious countess out to seize what she wants at any cost. McInerny’s prose is sharp and stylish; for example, a railway station is said to dominate Zurich’s banking district “like a dowager-queen among courtiers”; the aforementioned countess is described as wearing “elaborate makeup and hair piled up on her head like a concoction of marzipan.” The book’s interest in the minutiae of bonds and settlements lends it an unusual verisimilitude that balances out the more cloak-and-dagger aspects of the plot. Overall, McInerny works comfortably within the genre rather than reinventing it, but fans of thrillers should enjoy this complex, historically based story of restitution, revenge, and redemption.
An intricate, compelling tale with a financial backdrop.