Black Fridays by Michael Sears (Jason Stafford #1)

Black Fridays Book Cover
Not Your Regular Crime Fiction – 4.5 Stars

I’m not sure how I ended up with this book, but suffice to say, I enjoyed it immensely. If you read a lot of crime fiction, you may eventually get bored with the never ending stream of murders and the surprisingly common serial killer. Black Fridays offers the reader a surprising and interesting look at white collar crime.

Plot Summary

Jason Stafford is a former Wall Street manager/trader. He lived a fast paced life with plenty of money. Pressures on the market and on his job led him to engage in creative accounting. His creativity was eventually discovered and did not receive due appreciation. After spending some time in jail, Jason has been released and is trying to pick up the pieces of his life. Soon after his release, a young wall street trader drowns in a boating accident and the SEC comes snooping around his place of business with an interest in his trading history. Given his dishonorable past, Jason is hired by the company to look into the records of the dead man’s trades to see if there is going to be a problem. What he finds put his own life in the line of fire.

My Take

The author write a story with a balance between interesting plot and excellent character development. The author clearly has a background in the trade and write with knowledge. If you are like me, and have no knowledge of world of bonds, stocks and securities, don’t be scared off by this one. The author writes in such a way that the uninitiated can understand. Personally, I enjoy reading of crime other than murder and it was change to read about criminals in $3000 suits.

I also enjoyed the setup of the novel. I thought that Jason was an engaging and well meaning (ex)criminal. He personal code was not one of strict integrity and it allowed him to investigate with a little more freedom and to work out some more interesting solutions.

There was also an element of story that was not expected. Running parallel to the main plot was a rather intense family drama. The focus of this was Jason and his autistic son. I thought this element made Jason a more interesting and complete character. I also thought this portion ran a bit long and began to take away from the novel as whole. Some readers will not enjoy this parallel storyline.

Final Thoughts

If you are interested in white collar crime, finances or simply mysteries that don’t rely on a sadistic killer, I think you will enjoy this one. It is well written, well plotted and has a steady supply of interesting characters.

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Tim Written by:

Tim is a lawyer, sports fan, parent, husband and book lover. He runs his own legal practice and is the founder of The Literary Lawyer book blog and a contributing writer for Tim loves to share his love of reading by providing reviews to entertain as well as provide information to help you make an informed reading decision.