In Cunningham’s debut thriller, a down-on-his-luck Wall Street strategist races to solve his friend’s murder—and lands in the middle of a government conspiracy.
Dylan Regan, an investment strategist, was devastated by the 2008 financial crisis. After he made a bad call on Lehman Brothers stock, he lost both his job and his fiancee. Three years later, he’s biding his time at a lackluster firm, itching to rejoin the big leagues. One day, after he grossly underestimates a U.S. Employment report, he reaches out to his friend Caroline at the Bureau of Labor Statistics to get an explanation. He’s shocked to find out that she’s been killed—a victim of a hit-and-run. Both the jobs report and the circumstances surrounding Caroline’s death are suspicious, prompting Dylan to try to track down the truth. Dylan’s ex-girlfriend, rising-star journalist Mary Gannon, joins him in his pursuit; she works for an Internet news company that blends sexy sensationalism with hard-hitting news. Her character provides excellent, timely commentary on the current real-life climate of news reporting, in which shock jocks and sexy headlines rule the day. In this innovative novel, it appears that the government is manipulating economic data in order to boost consumer confidence—a simple but intriguing idea for a conspiracy plot. But although the story starts with a bang, it suffers from pacing issues; the mystery takes too long to develop, and bursts of activity are weighed down with extraneous details and too many characters. The conspiracy at the novel’s heart, however, is quite nuanced, and the story is at its best when it explores the notion of government control of information for the so-called greater good. Readers may wish that the novel spent more time developing this theme and less time on side plots, such as Dylan’s less-than-stellar love life.
A believable and provocative, if uneven, political thriller.