cover image Trust Fund

Trust Fund

Stephen Frey. Ballantine Books, $24.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-345-42829-5

Family political aspirations lead to corporate collusion with a rogue cadre of U.S. congressional and intelligence agents bent on co-opting the resources of the Internet and the military industrial complex in this high-octane conspiracy thriller. Jimmy Lee Hancock, the Joe Kennedyesque patriarchal head of a massive family-owned hedge fund, Warfield Capital, secretly approves the diversion of $2 billion to the cadre in exchange for evidence smearing his son Paul's presidential primary opponents. Youngest son Bo has brilliantly maneuvered Warfield Capital to the top of the Wall Street heap, but eldest son Teddy gets all the credit. When Bo makes millions for the firm on the gold market, he and his wife, Meg, find themselves inexplicably exiled to Montana by Jimmy Lee, ostensibly because Bo's drinking and potential womanizing might ruffle Paul's campaign. Frank Ramsey, a man Bo distrusts, replaces Bo as COO, becoming the first family outsider to wield company power. When a Warfield exec dies soon after alerting Bo to a shady money deal, and Hancock senior has a heart attack, Bo races back to Manhattan just in time to be told a devastating family secret. A showdown with Ramsey sparks a hardball attack by the secret cadre, and the bodies start piling up as Bo battles enemies inside and outside the family. Bo's ultimate weapon is his knowledge of finance, and real-life financier Frey (The Insider, etc.) cleverly incorporates the workings of Wall Street, global economics and the wired world into his melodramatic plot. The reader always learns something new about finance from Frey's suspenseful outings. (Jan 2.) Forecast: Any novel by the author of The Insider is going to get attention (a sample chapter of Trust Fund will be included in the mass market edition of The Insider, also due out in January), and bookstore and author media appearances in D.C. and New York will give this title an extra boost. This book should chart well.