Ballantine, Jan 2003, 24.95, 320 pp.
Angela Day has come a long way from her trailer park salad days as she is now a rising bank executive in Richmond, Virginia though she detests her racist boss Good Ole Boy Bob Dudley. The Sumter Bank Chairman uses his position of authority to keep blacks out of white neighborhoods by denying loans.
Billionaire software mogul and growing Sumter bank stockholder Jake Lawrence summons Angela to meet with him to discuss the removal of Dudley to be replaced by her. Angela sees an opportunity for herself with the dislodging of her odious boss and an even greater break for the community especially the middle class black. She might even be able to leverage her ex for greater custody of their child. However, acceptance of the job or not, Angela finds herself tugged between two forces that apparently have no interest in her or the community except for what they can obtain from both with her only seemingly ally, a muckraker.
SILENT PARTNER is an exciting financial mystery that is at its best when Stephen Frey provides a behind the scenes look at regional banking. However, much of the cast is stereotyped and taken from headline news. The immoral Southern good ole boys get away with rape and murder while disapproving loans for optimistic black wannabe homeowners. Thus, the prime theme of redlining seems pale in comparison. Still the heroine makes the novel worth reading as she is an intrepid individual whose accomplishments and willingness to do what she believes is the right thing for her community keeps the story line focused.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner