5 Reasons to read Stephen W. Frey’s Financial Thriller: The Day Trader

Because I write financial thrillers (the Joe Robbins Financial Thriller series) I read other authors in the genre to see how they approach the subject matter.Untitled

Today I share with you:

5 reasons to read Stephen W. Frey’s Financial Thriller: The Day Trader

NUMBER ONE: Prolific author.

Stephen W. Frey is one of the true masters of the genre, having written fourteen financial thrillers, beginning with The Takeover in 1996. This gives readers a rich vein of fiction they can mine for many hours of great reading.

From Stephen W. Frey’s Amazon author page:

His first 14 novels involved the financial world, beginning with THE TAKEOVER, which was published by Penguin Putnam in 1995.

In order, his other works are: THE VULTURE FUND (1996), THE INNER SANCTUM (1997), THE LEGACY (1998), THE INSIDER (1999), TRUST FUND (2001), THE DAY TRADER (2002), SILENT PARTNER (2003), SHADOW ACCOUNT (2004), THE CHAIRMAN (2005), THE PROTEGE (2005), THE POWER BROKER (2006); THE SUCCESSOR (2007), THE FOURTH ORDER (2007), FORCED OUT (2008), HELL’S GATE (2009) and HEAVEN’S FURY (2010).

NUMBER TWO: Fascinating (and Hotheaded!) protagonist.

Augustus McKnight – (Isn’t that an awesome name for a day trader? I’d like to steal that name. Maybe I’ll split it up and use Augustus for one character and McKnight for another.) Anyway, Augustus took a $10,000 inheritance from his mother and promptly turned it into $90,000 with a brilliant trade. What did he do next? He quit his job as a paper salesman to become a day trader. Who doesn’t dream of making a career move like that?

Despite his good fortune, Augustus is having serious problems with his wife, Melanie. (See number 5 below) He loves Melanie, and knows they can make it work, but early in the story Melanie is brutally murdered in a back alley. Augustus becomes both suspect and detective in the story that follows.

One of the really cool things about Augustus is how he deals with problems in and out of the workplace.

“I stand up slowly and move to where Max is smirking, towering over him. “Don’t ever talk about Mary that way again.” … “One more remark like that, and I’ll pull your head backward through your ass.”


Here’s how Augustus deals with an uncooperative palm reader:

“Get out of here,” she orders, her voice cracking. “Or I’ll call the cops.” When I don’t react she reaches for the phone on her desk, but I step across the room and rip the cord from the wall before she can finish dialing. “Tell me what’s going on?”

I can’t count the number of times I wanted to do just that in the middle of a tense corporate meeting.

But it’s not all conflict for Augustus. Occasionally he has a few drinks, sometimes more than a few, but no worries:

“Being strong means I’m able to recover quickly from a long night of drinking—”

Don’t we all wish we had this gift?

NUMBER THREE: Awesome day trader theme.

Stephen W. Frey cleverly works his theme into the story:

“One of the things I’ve learned about the financial world is that everyone exaggerates. Performance inflation is standard operating procedure. If you don’t juice your results, you’re only shortchanging yourself because you better believe everyone else is stretching the truth.”

How about these words to live by?

“Day trading sounds simple, which is the problem. The average Joe figures he can easily identify a historical trading range in a security by himself and be an instant success.” … “But in the minute-by-minute chaos of the market, day traders can lose sight of the bigger picture. Then they lose their shirts.”

NUMBER FOUR: More twists than a politician trying to get out of a campaign promise.

Every time you think you’ve figured out who killed Melanie, Frey slips through your fingers. First you think it’s one guy, then someone else, then back to the first guy, then someone altogether different. Frey keeps you guessing until the very end.

NUMBER FIVE: The cheating wife subplot.

There’s no better way to get a hothead worked up than to tell him his wife has been stepping out.

“I tried to be understanding about the late hours, the new wardrobe full of short dresses and lacy blouses, the matchbooks from expensive Washington restaurants on her dresser, even the hang-up telephone calls I endure on weekends. Her indifference to me. But no more. “It’s Frank Taylor!”

Melanie cheated, but that’s not all. She had a few fantasies she had to fulfill, which partially explains why they found her in an alley.

Bonus quotes:

“Look at this stock price. It’s falling off a cliff and I’m getting massacred. The shorts are screwing me.”

“No, I’m just a husband trying to find out what happened to his wife.”

You have to love lines like these.

When you’ve made it through Frey’s list and are looking for another great read, try the Joe Robbins Financial Thriller series.