Michael Sears worked on Wall Street for 20 years and is therefore more than qualified to bring us a novel involving white collar crime in the financial world. His main protagonist, Jason Stafford, has appeared in two previous thrillers and is presented as a person with flaws but very well equipped to work on problems associated with the complex world of high finance.
Jason served two years in prison for insider trading while working for a Wall Street firm. Now, not able to return to his trade, he is dedicating himself to helping others who find themselves involved with problems within his previous field. Stafford is a complex individual fleshed out very well by Sears. He is a single father raising an autistic son and involved with a woman he is falling in love with while attempting to rebuild a life changed radically by prison time.
Philip Haley, an engineer whose company is close to developing a biofuel breakthrough, has been indicted for insider trading based on the projected increased value to be derived by the development. He asks Jason to help him prove his innocence and convinces him that the accusation is false. Stafford does take the case and finds himself involved not only with a white collar criminal accusation, but with murder and hit men attempting to do so.
Sears is extremely good at fleshing out his characters and allowing the reader to see them as human beings that are real and react to situations as most normal people would. He holds the reader’s attention by building towards a logical climax. The one flaw that I noticed is the use of overlong descriptions of various details which are extraneous to the plot and not essential in moving the action forward. While the novel has an overage of these details they should not cause the reader to lose interest in the action. An interesting and basically well written book, excellent characterizations, and one that delves into a world that most of us know little about but with descriptions that do allow the reader to understand what is involved.
2/15 Paul Lane
LONG WAY DOWN by Michael Sears. Putnam Adult (February 5, 2015). ISBN: 978-0399166716. 352p.