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Black Fridays Hardcover – September 18, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 186 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Jason Stafford Series

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Editorial Reviews


“Sears is terrific at generating momentum and suspense” – Publishers Weekly

“This stunning first novel…is one of the year’s finest crime debuts. The writing is fresh and vivid…[and] the book is thrilling and haunting at once.” – Booklist

“Exciting and compelling” – Wall Street Journal

“Author Michael Sears clearly knows his way around the financial world. What makes his debut novel, Black Fridays, stand out from other financial thrillers s Stafford’s devotion to his 5-year-old son, who is severely autistic…Black Fridays is definitely worth the investment.” – Associated Press

“It’s been awhile since I’ve read a pop thriller so immediately captivating…[and I am] anxiously waiting for Sears’ next book.” – Dallas Morning News

“A Great read. It’s also a window into the fascinating slice of Wall Street…Black Fridays is a book you’ll enjoy and remember.” – Fortune.com

 “Black Fridays is the real deal: a compelling, beautifully written thriller offering a fascinating insider’s view of corruption in high places.” –Jonathan Kellerman

"One of the best books I've read this year -- a  novel for people who like thought with their thrills. No cartoons here -- you feel that you're really beginning to understand the workings of the crazy Wall Street underworld. Jason Stafford is a cool, edgy character who will do almost anything for money, and will do anything to protect his young autistic son. By the end of the book, so will you." –John Sandford

"Extraordinary! Michael Sears has a knack for completely complicated, thoroughly likable characters caught up in a deadly web of lies, greed, and financial corruption. Never has Wall Street been so interesting and so dangerous." –Lisa Gardner

"Black Fridays has it all: superb writing, a riveting plot, and a hero I'm still thinking about days afterwards. A must read!" –Tess Gerritsen

"Black Fridays is a taut and compelling thriller, a vivid story of sleaze beneath the slick surface of Wall Street. But what sets the book apart, and gives it its heart, is Jason Stafford's quest to reclaim his life and make a home with his autistic son. Stafford's voice really grabbed me -- Michael Sears has got the goods. Gripping.” –Meg Gardiner

"An exciting and fascinating tale of big money and even bigger crime, an insider's glimpse into a world where fortunes can be made or lost at the click of a button and the stakes can be life and death. More than a gripping procedural, it's a moving ,deeply human story." –Joseph Finder

"Jason Stafford is a totally endearing and winning protagonist. Michael Sears has a permanent place in my portfolio and in my heart." –Jennifer Belle, bestselling author of High Maintenance and The Seven Year Bitch

"A riveting book. Black Fridays is required reading for anyone who wants a great modern thriller -- and anyone who wants to know how a bunch of obscure, arrogant, cranked-up financial whiz kids can bring an economy to its knees. So timely it's scary." –Tim Hallinan, Edgar-nominated author of The Queen of Patpong and The Fear Artist
(Praise for BLACK FRIDAYS)

About the Author

Michael Sears spent over twenty years on Wall Street, rising to become a managing director at Paine Webber and Jeffries & Co., before leaving the business in 2005. He lives in Sea Cliff, New York, where he is at work on a second book featuring Jason Stafford and his son.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399158669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399158667
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #570,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alan A. Elsner VINE VOICE on August 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
We first meet Jason Stafford on his last day in federal prison after a two-year stretch for financial fraud (he never bilked clients, only the system -- or so we are told). Stafford, a former high-flying Wall Street trader, emerges trying to put some kind of life together. His first task is to reclaim his profoundly autistic five-year-old son who he calls "the Kid" from his drunken Southern-belle ex-wife.

Soon, Jason gets a call from the head of an investment firm asking him to look into a possible scam. The SEC is on the trail and the head of the firm wants to get ahead of the curve. Of course, what starts off looking like a small scandal quickly mushrooms into a big one. The FBI is involved -- and there's murder and the ex-wants the Kid back and there's a dash of romance with Wanda, a magician's assistant. It's a rich brew.

I couldn't begin to understand the details of the scam but I'm sure it all adds up given the author's expertise and personal experience in the field. What I did understand was that he has managed to craft a highly-enjoyable thriller that makes you care about the protagonist and the Kid and that ratchets up the tension to reach a satisfying conclusion.

The depiction of the autistic child and his father's touching relationship with him is one of the great strengths of his book. I also liked the fact that the hero is in fact more than a little immoral himself. He doesn't have much remorse for his original crime and he doesn't hesitate to try and steal a couple of hundred thousand dollars when he gets the chance -- and ultimately a lot more than that.

There are however some weaknesses too. The southern belle ex-wife is a caricature as are her new man and her Louisiana momma.
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Format: Hardcover
Jason Stafford has nothing. He was once a top Wall Street trader living the high life, but after a getting in over his head with falsified profits and fraudulent trades, he finds himself at the end of a two year jail sentence with no money, an estranged ex-wife who has his only son, and seemingly no future job opportunities. You can imagine his surprise when the CEO of a large Wall Street firm asks Jason to investigate the trades of a junior trader who recently died in a boating accident. Intrigued by the prospect to work in his old environment and desperate for any kind of income, Jason accepts.

As he begins to reclaim his professional dignity, Jason also is determined to gain custody from his alcoholic ex-wife. Jason Jr., nicknamed "the Kid", has been diagnosed with autism and is not getting the care he needs. With his ex just as unstable as his son, Jason is shocked to learn that the Kid is locked in a room all day. Risking his parole, Jason flies to Louisiana to retrieve his son. When he returns to New York, son in tow, Jason is forced to reevaluate his life, and learn to live with his unique son.

Meanwhile, Jason's investigation is revealing a larger conspiracy than he ever expected. As he digs deeper into the web of fraud, he attracts the attention of Wall Streets power players as well as agents from the FBI. When he uncovers a system that will certainly rock the entire financial institution, Jason must decide what to do with the information. If he makes the wrong decision, it could cost him his life.

With this excellent debut novel, author Michael Sears enters the thriller genre with a bang. His knowledge of Wall Street brings a unique perspective to the story.
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Format: Hardcover
Yes, I liked Black Fridays, and three stars is a good rating for it. For me, the story was rather haphazard, and I did not think the autistic child added anything that really furthered the main story. It was interesting to learn more about autism, but I was looking to read a financial thriller. In that respect, the book didn't always work. The bad guys weren't very credible, again, for me. The scheme was not something I thought it likely that so many traders would have jumped on. Too many people knew about it,for one. The chances of getting caught went up with every participant. The FBI agents were virtually unbelievable as characters.
But I am not unhappy to see that many people liked it better than I did. I've read many financial thrillers, and I read over 100 novels a year. No Harriet here, but I just didn't get the thrill that so many others did, and that's okay. We won't always agree. I thought that Black Fridays rated in about the middle.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an entertaining and engaging first effort from an author who knows the trading side of "The Street". The subject matter shows the seamy side of Wall Street and strongly suggests that perhaps the taste of big money fosters even greater greed among those who consider themselves smarter than the average bear. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your perspective)these smart guys always get caught (eventually) and usually are relieved to finally end the pressure they put themselves under. Regardless of the rules and procedures used where large volumes of big money are involved, there always seems to be someone smart enough to maneuver around the systems in place. What one man can create another is able to defeat.

I really enjoyed this book, both for the entertainment value and for the lessons on autism. Reading this novel helped me to better understand the rituals and triggers involved with this condition. The rapidly growing presence of this disorder means that just about everyone knows someone who has to deal with it. Previously cancer was the only disease that affected such a large part of the population. What are humans doing to this planet that causes such dramatic physical changes?

The writing it tight, the perspective unique, and the story downright entertaining. This effort is good enough to win literary awards for best first novel. I look forward to additional work from Michael Sears.

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