Black Fridays by Michael Sears

Black Fridays by Michael Sears

Genre: Suspense
Series: #1 in a possible series
Publisher: G.P Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 341
Source: copy provided by the publisher.

The Short Version:
After two years in prison a Wall Street hotshot is rebuilding his life and is hired to look into some suspicious trading activity that may lead to more danger than he expects.

Why I Read It:
The publisher’s synopsis sounded like a thriller that was a bit different than the same old type of story.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Sometimes a man can be redeemed. But not in the way he expects.

Jason Stafford is a former Wall Street hotshot who made some bad moves, paid the price with two years in prison, and is now trying to put his life back together. He’s unemployable, until an investment firm asks him to look into possible problems left by a junior trader who died recently in an accident. What he discovers is big – there are problems, all right, the kind that get you killed.

But it’s not his only concern. Stafford has another quest as well: to reclaim his five-year-old son, “the Kid,” from his unstable ex-wife, and then learn just what it means to make a life with him. The things Stafford discovers about himself in the process are every bit as gripping as his investigation, and when the two threads of his life come together – the results are unforgettable.

Black Fridays marks the arrival of a remarkable new writer.

My Thoughts:
On his website Sears says “This book has been described as a financial thriller with heart – and I gladly accept that description.” I agree that it’s an excellent description.

I enjoyed the thriller aspect. The trading hijinks came close to losing me a couple of times but Sears takes the opportunity to have Jason explain the situation to some non-trader types and it helped to reel me back in and just the right time. The suspense of what will happen next and who is really behind the financial scam as well as the danger to Jason and the other people involved stays high. There are plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing (and fretting).

At the same time the story of Jason and his autistic son charmed me. Some of the best moments in the book that made me re-read a sentence or paragraph were related to the Kid and Jason’s relationship with him. I have friends with kids who fall in various places on autism spectrum. Sears obviously has a personal connection and this comes through in the sensitive and heartwarming way he portrays both the frustrating and rewarding moments that can happen when dealing with an autistic child.

His universe is very small, unique and nothing like the one you and I travel through. And it is my challenge every day, first, to try to see the world through his eyes — and I fail at that all the time — and second, to try to get him to see the world as we see it — and I fail at that, too, but not as badly. I think.

Some of Jason’s amusing moments came when dealing with his mother-in-law who while desperate to do right by her daughter, realizes that Jason is her grandson’s best hope. This one just made me smile

Inside, I was screaming with frustration. But over the years, I had learned that you can’t rush a southern woman with a story to tell.

This was both a thriller and a heartwarming story of a man building a relationship with a son in the face of tremendous roadblocks. It may seem like an odd mix but Sears makes it work. I will be passing this one along to The Hubster because I think he’ll enjoy it too. This book has so much to offer: suspense, humor, touching moments and characters you can care about.

I am glad to see that Sears is working on a second book featuring Jason and the Kid because I want to find out what happens with them.

4 stars Rating 4/5