Michael Sears’ impressive 2012 debut, Black Fridays, was a thoughtful cautionary tale about greed, mismanaged money, and cheating, and it earned Sears five major award nominations.
Sears’ intriguing second novel proves he has a lock on complex financial plots without overwhelming the story with the intricacies of the stock market. In Mortal Bonds, Sears finds new ways to explore those themes of greed, mismanaged money, and cheating with aplomb.
Once a Wall Street hotshot, Jason Stafford spent two years in prison for financial fraud. As a felon, he can’t legally handle accounts but he can work as a consultant. Jason is hired by the family of William Von Becker, a Bernie Madoff-like investor whose Ponzi scheme blew up spectacularly and who recently committed suicide in prison. His widow, Olivia, and her four grown children want Jason to find the missing billions. If the Von Beckers find the money first and turn it over to the federal courts, the action will help clear the family’s name. Also,
Jason’s lucrative finders’ fee will go a long way in providing care for his severely autistic son. Jason’s trail leads to the usual network of Wall Street colleagues, Von Becker’s former employees and his victims, including a wealthy Colombian drug lord.
Sears’ brisk plot packs in believable action while also delivering a heartfelt character study of a man trying to rebuild his life. The domestic scenes are grounded in realism, giving an inside view of the challenges of raising a child with autism.