What would you steal if you couldn't get caught? That's the tag line of Brad Meltzer's new thriller, which pits an ambitious young money manager against a corporate villain, whose intricate financial shenanigans accidentally put a huge chunk of dough right in front of a man who desperately needs it. Of course Oliver Caruso's conscience troubles him, but that doesn't keep him from letting his somewhat looser and less ethical brother convince him this is too good an opportunity to pass up. Meltzer's in interesting territory here, but in order to buy his premise, you have to believe that it's OK to steal if you have a good enough reason. This makes his protagonist, who narrates the novel, hard to root for and less than sympathetic. Despite this hollow ring, the book is nicely plotted and should please the author's enthusiastic fan club. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
This giddy fourth thriller by Meltzer (The First Counsel) mixes up banking, cyber-theft and Disney World in a fast-paced, fresh-scrubbed tale of financial adventure. Oliver Caruso is sweating out some scut work for Henry Lapidus, bigwig at Greene & Greene, a private bank so exclusive clients require $2 million just to open an account. When Oliver and his younger brother, Charlie, find proof that Lapidus has been sabotaging Oliver's career plans, the brothers conspire to rip off the lingering balance from a deceased client's account. Silly boys! Not only is the local security goon Shep (formerly Secret Service) already chiseling in on their scam, the real Secret Service thugs are on the case almost immediately. The $3 million the Carusos swiped has somehow cybernetically blossomed overnight to over $300 million. Desperate to clear their names, the boys escape to Florida, following the money to the daughter of the deceased millionaire, a former tech wizard for Disney with a secret invention everyone in this book would happily kill for. The ins and outs of how to steal money that isn't really there makes for an interesting premise if you don't think about it too much, but two flaws detract from the action. First, the narrative POV jumps too often from one character to the next and from present tense to past, making for a choppy read. Second, the novel's juvenile flavor from the PI who bluffs her way into a building by claiming to be searching for her mother's favorite sock to the hapless schoolboy dialogue ("You touched her cookies, didn't you?") loudly proclaims its Hardy Boys heritage. (Jan. 8)Forecast: Meltzer's legion of fans will jump-start sales of his latest, prompted by massive television, print, radio and transit advertising campaigns and a 12-city author tour.
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