cover image The Takeover: 9

The Takeover: 9

Stephen Frey. Dutton Books, $19.95 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93985-6

Investment banking becomes a weapon of insurrection in this face-paced debut thriller. Menaced by the spread-the-wealth policies of a popular, liberal U.S. president (particularly his proposed 90% inheritance tax), The Sevens, a secret society of powerful Harvard alumni, unleashes a convoluted scheme to topple him from power, even at the risk of undermining the international financial system. E. Granville Winthrop IV, chairman of Wall Street's top investment banking firm, masterminds the conspiracy, undeterred by its several necessary murders-including that of the chairman of the Federal Reserve. But Winthrop makes the mistake of weaving his longtime vendetta against former protege Andrew Falcon into the plot. Now desperate and broke, Falcon jumps at the chance to orchestrate the corporate takeover at the heart of the conspiracy-and by the time he figures out what's going on, it may be too late. Frey's plotting requires leaps of faith, and his characters are cartoonish, but there is much here of what thriller readers enjoy: enormous wealth, murder, dirty tricks, political intrigue, colorful villains and relentless pacing. 200,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; movie rights to Paramount; BOMC alternate. (Aug.)