The Bottom Line: An absorbing and ingeniously crafted financial thriller.
The title of Tony Powers’ new financial thriller is a clever double entendre referring to its main character, Emanuel Graves. After years of working in the Bronx, the forty-six-year-old Gulf War veteran will soon be approached with a Faustian bargain that will be hard to resist.
Enter hedge fund manager Richard Alleroy, whose life could not be more different from Emanuel’s. Richard lives in a building with a view of the East River, a private elevator, a door man and a Mercedes waiting downstairs. He has budgeted two million dollars on college for his four children. He’s also keeping a secret that could destroy life as he knows it.
Richard’s life changes when he finds a note in his office that reads, “I know.” He’s instructed to head to the nearby park for a meeting. There, he mistakes Emanual for his blackmailer (and in a delicious bit of dialogue that rings true, Graves’ last name for a threat on his life). It’s just one of several interactions the two men have that become more explosive over the course of the story.
Author Tony Powers, whose readers may recognize from crime classics like Goodfellas and NYPD Blue, has written an ingenious thriller that simmers to a boil multiple times en route to its surprising, heartbreaking finale. The novel is a master class on income equality on a psychological, emotional and tangible level, but it’s never reduced to pedagogy or truth-telling. Instead, Powers focuses on the intertwined destinies of these fascinating characters, delivering a first-rate financial thriller in the process.