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Black Fridays: A Novel (Jason Stafford Book 1) by [Sears, Michael]
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Black Fridays: A Novel (Jason Stafford Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 186 customer reviews

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Length: 353 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


“An exciting and fascinating tale of big money and even bigger crime.”—Joseph Finder

“One of the best books I’ve read this year.”—John Sandford

“One of the year's finest crime debuts.”—Booklist 
“Immediately captivating.”—The Dallas Morning News
“Never has Wall Street been so interesting and so dangerous.”—Lisa Gardner
“Sears does the near impossible in this high-finance thriller: He turns a Wall Street executive, who’s just served jail time for fudging figures, into a sympathetic character.”—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Michael Sears spent more than twenty years on Wall Street, rising to the position of managing director in the bond trading and underwriting divisions of Paine Webber and, later, Jefferies & Company, before leaving the business in 2005. He lives in Sea Cliff, New York, with his wife, artist Barbara Segal, and is at work on a new novel featuring Jason Stafford and his son. 

Product Details

  • File Size: 1590 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2012
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007T8G3WU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,600 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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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