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The First Billion Kindle Edition

52 customer reviews

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Length: 608 pages
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Editorial Reviews Review

Money makes the world go round for Jett Gavallon, a high-tech entrepreneur who's on the brink of bringing a Russian telecom startup to market with an IPO worth billions. But when his best friend and second-in-command disappears after Gavallon sends him to Moscow to make sure the new company is on the up and up, Jett begins to have second thoughts, which are exactly what his Russian partners can't afford. Beset by an FBI task force looking into Mercury Broadband's financing by Russian mobsters, rumors of fraud being circulated by a Drudge-like online financial gossip columnist, and the discovery that his former lover is not who he thought she was, Jett puts his fortune on the line in a desperate attempt to save his company--and ultimately, his life. An exciting, fast-paced adventure by an author who puts his experience in international banking to work in the service of this carefully plotted thriller. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

Reich continues to struggle, trying to recapture his early success. After a rather intriguing setup, this third novel gradually evolves into something more like an unintentional parody than a real thriller. Following the altogether lackluster Allan Folsom-esque Nazi war crimes plot of The Runner, the Swiss banker-turned-thriller writer returns to the more familiar arena of international finance, which provided the intriguing backdrop of his 1998 bestselling debut, Numbered Account. But action and pacing are made to substitute for the authenticity and credibility that distinguished his promising first novel. Borrowing to the hilt in a go-for-broke move, Jett Gavallan, ex-Gulf War fighter pilot turned founding CEO of Frisco-based Black Jet Securities an up-and-coming investment banking firm puts all his chips on the line for the chance to take public Mercury Broadband (Russia's answer to AOL) with shares worth $2 billion. The pot of gold at the end of his rainbow is a cool $70 million, but all is not blue skies. An enigmatic online financial analyst, Private Eye-PO, starts warning investors that the deal is bad, leading Jett to send partner Grafton Byrnes undercover to Moscow to verify the legitimacy of Mercury Broadband. Graf calls in with a coded warning that all is not well, Jett's investigator locates the real Private Eye-PO in Delray Beach, Fla., and bodies begin piling up. Credibility wanes and action spins out of control as Jett and an old flame embark on an intercontinental plane and car chase. Comic-book dialogue ("Kind of you, Mr. Gavallan. It's not often a disloyal, disgraceful slut gets any TLC") makes this thriller read like an old Saturday Night Live skit, which may give it kitsch appeal but undermines its dramatic effect.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1735 KB
  • Print Length: 608 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0440234697
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (August 20, 2002)
  • Publication Date: August 20, 2002
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FBFM84
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,368 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Hi Everyone,

It's great to be part of Amazon's new Author Page. Here's a short bio.

I was born November 12, 1961 in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Los Angeles four years later, in late 1965. I graduated from Harvard School (now Harvard-Westlake) in 1979, then made the move to Washington DC where I attended the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Upon graduating with a degree in international economics (a field in which I was neither particularly gifted nor interested), I worked as a stock broker for two years. One day my best client said, "Chris, you're a nice guy, but you have no idea what you're doing in this business. You might get into trouble one day. You gotta get your butt to business school." I followed his advice and headed down to Austin, Tx, to earn an MBA at UT.

After graduating from UT, I moved even farther east....all the way to Switzerland, where I joined the Union Bank of Switzerland, first in Geneva and then in Zurich. I left banking and worked first as a consultant, and then as the CEO of a small watch company in Neuchatel. The only thing I missed out on was the chocolate business! Anyway, after 7 years in Switzerland, I decided that it was high time to become an author. I'd never written a short story and I hadn't taken a single English class in college. So what? I was a demon reader and I thought for sure I could do. My wonderful wife supported the decision wholeheartedly and we moved back to Austin, where I would write my first novel, Numbered Account.

The rest, as they say, is history....Or, as I say, "history in the making!!"

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on August 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Christopher Reich has produced his third novel, "The First Billion", and it is a worthy addition to the first two books he offered readers. New authors always seem to be more harshly judged than their more veteran peers which I find quite unfair. The author who is arguably the most successful writer in the whole techno-thriller spy genre has just released his newest book, and while I am in the minority in that I enjoyed the novel, it has been overwhelmingly thrashed. No author is going to produce the perfect book each time out, and no author is going to have an easy time when his or her first book was as successful as Mr. Reich's first work, "Numbered Account". His first book remains my favorite of the three, and I would place his newest at number two, with, "The Runner", third. And even though placed third the book was well above the average of much of the production line derivative nonsense that fill bookshelves be they real or in cyberspace.
This book is weak in two areas from my standpoint. The author became a bit cliché when he decided to have a former pilot head a securities firm, and then names it Black Jet Securities. Tying a series of names or forced events to the character's former profession become tiresome when overused. Having the same character purchase a military attack jet on his American Express card also was hard to read without wincing. The other part I had difficulty with was a side story that didn't really seem to be necessary. It served more as a distraction than as a key element to an otherwise good tale. While dealing with what has emerged from the former USSR is fine, dredging up behavior that harkens to the cold war is becoming a bit overused.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on July 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"I knew you'd be happy. Listen, Jett, everything's copacetic over here."
Everything's copacetic-a code phrase between friends and warriors that signals danger as it did during the Gulf War. John "Jett" Gavallan is the CEO and driving force behind his company named Black Jet Securities. Named after the Stealth Bomber he flew during the war, his company stands at the brink of incredible success. He has hedged everything he owns and gambled his company's future on a bid to become an international player in the world of Initial Public Offerings (IPO). In six days, he is supposed to bring Mercury Broadband, Russia's leading internet multi-media company to market on the New York Stock Exchange. The IPO is expected to raise around two billion dollars, with a chunk of that going to Black Jet Securities for fees and services.
However, on the Internet, an anonymous webmaster who runs a very well known IPO news website states that Mercury is a sham and that soon Gavallan will be explaining why he defrauded the world from behind bars. He also seems to have digital proof in the form of pictures of Mercury equipment. As some of the big investment houses begin to question the deal, Gavallan sends fellow Gulf War pilot and friend Grafton Byrnes to Russia to check out the situation. While the Swiss financiers that claim to have checked things out assure Gavallan that everything is fine, Gavallan wants to make absolutely sure with everything riding on the deal being legit.
Soon, as he is held hostage by Konstantin Kirov, head of Mercury Broadband, Byrnes makes the call that for listeners should have reassured Gavallan. Warned, Gavallan begins to dig and discovers that everything he has believed the last few years has all been a lie.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 24, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Actor and Audie Award finalist James Daniels gives a riveting performance of this globe spanning story propelled by rapid fire action and dark intrigue. His voice ably conveys toughness, compassion, and regret. He doesn't over-dramatize, allowing Reich's powerful words to carry listeners along.

As many know, Reich has earned an enviable reputation as a master of international intrigue. The First Billion, his third book, again mesmerizes with a tale of frightening possibilities.

Jett Gavalian is a former fighter pilot, having served in the Gulf War. What he saw there inspired him to begin Black Jet Securities, an international financial consulting firm. He intends to use his profits to help rather than harm, improve the possibilities for life on this planet. Jett made his first billion in jig time, and now he's working on the next by putting Mercury Broadband, a Russian media company, on the New York Stock Exchange.

However, he's soon made aware that the company may not be all he believed. Jeff sends his best friend, Grafton Byrnes, to Moscow to look into the situation, which appears murkier by the minute. There's not much time as Mercury Broadband is due to go up in a mere six days, and the future of Black Jet hinges on it. We hear: "The IPO, or initial public offering, of shares in the company was valued at two billion dollars, and nothing less than his firm's continued existence depended on what he discovered. A green light meant seventy million dollars in fees, a guarantee of fee-related business from Mercury down the road, and a rescue from impending insolvency."

What Grafton finds in Moscow is more terrifying than he or Jett could ever have imagined.

Just when we think Reich has pulled out all the stops and couldn't possibly have another trick up his author's sleeve, he galvanizes with the unexpected. Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke
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