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The Chairman: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – December 27, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Diminished by dull prose, but distinguished by colorful, well-drawn characters and an arresting, labyrinthine plot, this 10th novel by Frey (after Silent Partner) illuminates the machinations of big business and high finance. Frey introduces Christian Gillette, who will be a continuing character in this inaugural volume of a projected series. As 36-year-old Gillette walks out of a Park Avenue church after delivering the eulogy following the suspicious "accidental" drowning of the late chairman of Everest Capital, he is nearly killed when a firebomb obliterates his waiting limo. Undaunted, newly elected chairman Gillette steps into another car and carries on with his planning: he's determined to make the company's new equity fund, Everest Eight, the biggest in the history of private equity and to eliminate his competition within the firm. Corporate chicanery, boardroom sex and backstabbing abound, and conspiracies proliferate, as Gillette enters into a deal with the chief of a mega-insurance company to increase Everest Eight's capital to $15 billion in a bold attempt to surpass rival Paul Strazzi at Apex Equity and become the nation's dominant private equity firm. Sadly, a perfunctory denouement does no justice to the clever plot. Agent, Cynthia Manson. (Mar. 29)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

After the chairman of Everest Capital dies and private-fund manager Christian Gillette is elected successor, Gillette finds himself wielding previously unimagined power and exposed to equally unimagined danger (he barely averts being assassinated when his limo explodes). He doesn't mind wielding his might, first by firing one of the managing partners, then by snubbing a U.S. senator; however, accumulating enemies does not stop Gillette from planning the biggest venture fund in history. Frey does not characterize Gillette as a purely evil money-grubber; he is also shown to have a weakness for the downtrodden and gives generously to many needy families--even going so far as to buy them homes and establish trust funds for their children. Frey tries a bit too hard with this fast-paced financial thriller, and his plot contains a few glaringly implausible scenarios--would billionaire Gillette really frequent pool halls in seedy neighborhoods just to win $5,000? This is Frey's first series so perhaps the next Gillette venture will be a bit smoother. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; Reprint edition (December 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345457617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345457615
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Frey has written 18 novels. The latest, a political thriller entitled, ARCTIC FIRE, was published by Thomas & Mercer (Amazon Publishing) in October 2012. The sequel to ARCTIC FIRE, entitled RED CELL SEVEN, is scheduled for release by Thomas & Mercer in January 2014. The series follows the activities of RED CELL SEVEN, a top-secret intelligence group which has no formal reporting responsibilities to anyone inside the United States government and funds itself entirely with private sector money. Stephen is currently working on the third book in the series, KODIAK SKY, which is scheduled for release by Thomas & Mercer in January 2015.

Stephen began his career in finance, working at JP Morgan's New York City office in the mergers and acquisitions department before moving to Washington, DC in 1999 to work at Winston Partners in the group's private equity business. At Winston he led the investment into and chaired three of the firm's portfolio companies.

His first 14 novels involved the financial world, beginning with THE TAKEOVER which was published by Penguin Putnam in 1995.

In order, his other works are: THE VULTURE FUND (1996), THE INNER SANCTUM (1997), THE LEGACY (1998), THE INSIDER (1999), TRUST FUND (2001), THE DAY TRADER (2002), SILENT PARTNER (2003), SHADOW ACCOUNT (2004), THE CHAIRMAN (2005), THE PROTEGE (2005), THE POWER BROKER (2006); THE SUCCESSOR (2007), THE FOURTH ORDER (2007), FORCED OUT (2008), HELL'S GATE (2009) and HEAVEN'S FURY (2010). The first four novels were published by Penguin Putnam, the next 10 by Random House, the next 3 by Simon & Schuster and Stephen is published by Thomas & Mercer.

Stephen lives in northern Virginia, is an avid fisherman and has three wonderful daughters: Christina, Ashley and Gabriella.

Customer Reviews

Mr. Frey, well done I look forward to you next book.
May be ok with others but that will make me drop a book faster then anything else.
Steve Day
I thought it was well written and the storyline definitely intrigued me.
Konrad Kern

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tucker Andersen VINE VOICE on April 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The factors which have made several of Stephen's Frey's previous novels extremely enjoyable are his detailed knowledge of the financial markets and investment industry together with his ability to create action filled plots with enough misdirection to maintain the reader's interest. Thus, I have been willing to overlook what I regard as their main failures - the minimal character development with the usual exception of his central character and the completely unrealistic assumption (usually central to his plots) that desperate business leaders in positions of power who find their secrets or wealth threatened will routinely resort to murder in an attempt to solve their problems. Unfortunately, the plots of his recent books have gotten more unbelievable and extreme; THE CHAIRMAN continues that trend. In addition, this book suffers from several instances of extremely sloppy editing and a conclusion that fails to tie up several loose ends and leaves in doubt the fate of one of the major characters. My four star rating is due to the fact that my enjoyment of the plot, the strong character development of THE CHAIRMAN Christian Gillette, and a few other positive factors outlined below offset the several negative aspects which I will mention. Approximately half way through the story, I was actually tempted to speed read to the conclusion; I was sufficiently hooked to want to follow the plot to its conclusion but was increasingly frustrated at times by excesses in which the author indulged. However, the relative brevity combined with some interesting insights made me glad that I paid attetion to the details until the conclusion.Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By B. Cable on June 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
First of all, let me state forthwith that I certainly don't consider myself to be a moralist, Anchorite, Anarchist or any other like kind. But nonetheless, I found the characters in this book to be absolutely appalling. At the very beginning of the novel, Chris Gillette, who after working with his peers for a decade suddenly becomes its Chairman, states immediately, "you will now call me Christian". The author may just as well have substituted "Your Excellency" with "Christian." And from that point on the tone of the book seems to be set. Only one other reviewer seems to have been disturbed by the central character's flawed behavior, and stated "in terms of extreme behavior, Frey's corporate world would put Caligula's court to shame. Spot on. I am recently retired from an ultra competitive Fortune 50 company myself, and coming from a very high level of upper management what I found most lacking in this novel was any form of business ethics, and most importantly, honor. I am not naive, and yes the business world today is ruthless and hardcore, but I found that the most successful people, even while being competitive and ruthless, still have a sense of honor, and not always, but for the most part, demand it from those around them. If not, they are doomed, both as a person and as an executive. No man is an Island. This book is a horrible example for young people, who espouse to become successful executives themselves. I just hope that they won't come away thinking that dishonorable behavior is as acceptable and commonplace in Corporate America as is displayed within this novel. I hope they realize that honor and fairness are important and still have meaning, and that this book is fiction, and not very good fiction at that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By clifford on July 24, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
wow. Frey as an author has produced several tight stories over the last decade. The Chairman is his best work. A good third of the story is just deal making. The Chairman starts off with Gillette (the main character) at a funeral. Gillette is the newly minted CEO of the 2nd largest private equity company in the U.S. The funeral is for the ex CEO who died in mysterious circumstances. But the story doesn't go into this for quite a while. Instead Frey spends a good chunk of the novels real estate just talking back room deals. Its sort of like the God Father with Don Corleone in the back room at the wedding while he's making life & death decisions.

I may be remembering how I feel about Frey in a negative light. But it seems to me that I have always almost really enjoyed every one of his books. And I stress the 'almost'. His characters are always stand-offish. He writes in an almost impersonal manner. For the first time he has found a protagonist here in 'The Chairman' where this negative turns into a positive. Gillette is a brutal CEO. Time and time again he is relentless and ugly. But as a reader, you forgive him for this... after all he is a CEO of a powerful modern business entity. What else would you expect. One mistake that Frey makes however, is about half way through he shifts the character of Gillette and tries to make him a Coben style everyman hero... odd and doesn't work. So over the ending of this story Gillette switches between good guy/evil CEO.

One thing that struck me was how mysterious this whole book was for the first half at least. The story starts, as I said, at a funeral. Its chaos. 20 small deals and stories are told in rapid fire. This helps flesh out the characters and the situation... but we still dont know what the heck is going on...
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