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Numbered Account Hardcover – January 20, 1998

3.6 out of 5 stars 217 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Through the eyes of Christopher Reich, dive into the corrupt world of international high finance. In his debut novel, Reich offers a realistic and gritty "day-in-the-life" perspective on working in the world's financial mecca. For Nick Neumann, an ex-marine turned Harvard MBA with a gorgeous fiancée and an elite position at Morgan Stanley, life is good--until his mother's untimely death opens old wounds and rehashes questions regarding his father's unsolved murder. Nick wants the truth and is willing to sacrifice his career, love, and future for a crack at untangling the mystery surrounding his father's death. To do this, he takes a job at the prestigious United Swiss Bank, the venerable financial cornerstone of Geneva and his father's former employer. Before he can begin his investigation, however, disturbing events come into play: One portfolio manager is dead, another had a "nervous breakdown," and his training manager is jumping ship to cast accounts with their staunch enemy. All of the managers have one thing in common: they each oversaw a multimillion-dollar numbered account owned by the mysterious Pasha. If that isn't enough, the DEA steps in and orders Nick to serve up Pasha on a silver platter. Being the embodiment of American ideals, Nick takes matters into his own hands and is caught in a ruthless conspiracy that stretches around the world and into his personal life. Peppered with murder, revenge, and first-rate espionage, Numbered Account is a thinking person's thriller, a refreshing break from the old standbys.

From Library Journal

Delacorte is definitely banking on this first novel, with domestic and foreign rights already sold. Featuring the ever-intriguing Swiss banking system of numbered accounts, Reich's thriller focuses on the ethical issues of the origin and funding activities of huge "anonymous" sums. Enter ex-Marine Nicholas Neumann, who arrives at United Swiss Bank, his father's employer, to solve his murder 17 years ago when Nick was a child. Nick's quest throws him into an international web of hostile takeovers, drugs, and arms sales (including a nuclear weapon). A potential problem is the stereotypic portrayal of the primary villain as a ruthless Muslim. The novel is definitely a male fantasy, for after he conquers all, Neumann returns to the States to reclaim the fiancee who dropped him when he left for Zurich. This has almost all the elements of a best seller: murder, exotic locales, high finance, and danger, but there is surprisingly little sex; does the violence substitute? For public libraries with a large demand for thrillers.
-?Rebecca Sturm Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib, Highland Heights
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (January 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385320175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385320177
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By D. Ross on June 3, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Nick Neumann has what, at first glance, appears to be the perfect life. The former U.S. Marine just graduated from Harvard Business School and has joined the fast-paced world of Wall Street. His girlfriend is beautiful, the scion of an incredibly wealthy family. But Nick does have one problem: the unsolved murder of his father weighs heavily on his mind.

His father, murdered almost twenty years ago, worked for the secretive Swiss bank USB. And so Nick decides to follow in his footsteps: to move to Switzerland, join USB, and determine whether the trail can be followed or whether's it's gone cold.

Within days of joining USB, Nick finds himself entangled in a nightmarish conflict. The "Pasha", USB's premier client, is moving ever larger sums of money through the bank in seemingly nonsensical fashion. The DEA, investigating large-scale money transfers through USB, begins squeezing Nick for information. And an attractive vice president at the bank seems to be paying very close attention to Nick's activities.

This is Reich's first book and is, simply put, masterful. While its length (750 pages) is daunting, Reich's firsthand knowledge of the Swiss banking industry is invaluable and enlightening. I can almost guarantee that you'll be swept into this ambitious and fulfilling story: revenge and terror mixed into a near-perfect concoction.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel was compelling enough to keep me reading through until the end, even though it ran to over 700 pages. That said, however, Numbered Account is not especially memorable in terms of plot, characters or suspense -- all things that make reading for entertainment a worthwhile pursuit.

Nick Neumann is a likeable enough character, but he somehow didn't inspire a lot of passion from me in terms of whether or not he survives his situation and goes on to live a productive life. *Spoiler coming up.* And the fact that he ends up with his former fiance, Anna, is neither surprising nor very interesting since we never really get to know her and she never actually appears in the book.

I'm just not that curious about Swiss banking procedures to rate this story any higher than a 3. This is the kind of paperback that, should you find it lying around the vacation condo on a rainy day, you would pick up and read, but don't go out of your way to purchase it.

Maybe Reich's other books are more engaging than this one, given that other reviewers have awarded more stars than I. Somehow, though, I doubt I'll ever find out because Numbered Account just didn't get my number, so to speak.
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By A Customer on January 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Numbered Account" is a very good book: the plot is interesting and the more you go on with it, the faster you want to turn pages. Although the beginning may be a bit slow, Reich makes his best when he describes the Swiss bank system, and it is almost as if you could hear the steps of someone entering one of these huge Swiss banks that look like ancient temples with their own codes and laws. The characters have enough depth and it is absolutely intriguing to enter the world of the private banking in Switzerland. The country is well described, while the emotional conflict of the main character is nicely outlined. It is evident that the author has a great knowledge of Switzerland, its banking system, and he has great skill because he managed to mix a potential boring theme like banking with a pacing personal war of Nicholas Neumann, the main character. Definitely a book that is worth to be bought and read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
There is much to like about this book. I loved the beginning where the main character's incorporation into a secretive Swiss bank built wonderful anticipation and created an interesting atmosphere. I was certain I was in for a memorable reading experience. But as I finished the book, I found myself strangely disappointed. The last 200 pages were a bit of a chore. The main problem with this book is simple - it's too bloody long! At least 100 to 150 pages should have been cut/condensed/tightened. The ending was not worth the interminable build-up. Also, the characters were schizoprenic. One moment Nick and Sterling Thorne are hating each other, the next they are slapping each other on the back like old chums. Sylvia was dispatched with all too quickly, as if the author just wanted to get rid of her. It was confusing. Also, Mehlevi seemed to become more and more cartoonish as the book progressed. I found myself not caring at all about the bank takeovers - who cares if one greedy, immoral banker beats out another greedy, immoral banker? There weren't enough characters in this book to really care about. There were so many twists and character flip-flops it was almost as if, in an effort to be unpredictable, the author purposely made everything good bad, and everything bad good. Whatver the desired effect, I feel it partially backfired. And Nick lying to the DEA and Swiss authorities justso he could POSSIBLY get a crack at Mehlevi made him look unbelievably reckless. This book is worth reading, despite its length, but overall I was simultaneously satisfied and relieved to finish. Too many things went awry in the last 200-300 pages, and the book was just far too bloated. But worth plowing through - once!
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