Ballantine, Mar 2004, 24.95, 304 pp.
In Manhattan, Connor Ashby is in his apartment with his wealthy engaged to someone else girlfriend Liz Shaw when the email addressed to a Victor arrives claiming major wrong doings at an unnamed firm. Connor realizes the email he received was an error, but before he can decide what to do Liz sends him out to buy cigarettes. When he returns Liz looks dead, the place is trashed and a goon tries to kill him, but he escapes. However, when he returns with the cops, his apartment is clean with no corpse as if nothing happened.
Connor knows that the cops think he is a con artist. He also believes Liz is dead and these guys will kill him to erase a problem. Thinking of playing Chicken against unknown assailants, he decides to make inquiries, but if he succeeds in uncovering the truth and lives to tell it, the scandal reaches as high as the president's cabinet.
SHADOW ACCOUNT is the typical Stephen Frey financial thriller (see THE INSIDER) that takes an everyman financial expert and places them in the midst of conspiratorial environs in which their life is an accounts payable. Though Connor seems like a low rent David up against several Goliaths with no chance of triumph, the tale hooks the audience from the moment Connor brings the cops to his neat as a pin apartment until the final High Noon like climax. As usual no one takes complex financial issues and explains them inside an action packed plot as well as Mr. Frey does. Fans will better understand some of the recent meltdown scandals like Enron.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner