cover image The Legacy

The Legacy

Stephen Frey. Dutton Books, $24.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-525-94207-8

Cole Egan is watching a hitherto unknown tape of the JFK assassination, shot from the other side of Dealey Plaza. "" `God,' Cole murmured. It was shocking footage, so shocking he almost forgot the seven-million-dollar hit his portfolio had taken in the aftermath of the Fed announcement this afternoon."" ""Almost"" is the key word here: the quote tells you almost everything you need to know about Frey's latest financial thriller (after The Inner Sanctum, 1997), a strange, lumpy, often ludicrous but finally addictive story that mixes historic tragedy with the personal problems of a would-be Master of the Universe. At 29, Cole is having a bad year as a securities trader for a powerful Wall Street brokerage firm. His bonus is in dire danger; the mortgage on his condo is killing him; he hears rumors that the gorgeous model he grew up with (and now wants to date) is a lesbian; and he owes some connected loan sharks a bundle. When a mysterious voice directs him to a safe deposit box and the JFK tape (a legacy from his reclusive secret agent father), Cole sees it as his chance to clean up his debts and finally find out something about his parents. What he gets instead is a tangled link to the White House, a cabal of hired killers determined to keep the tape secret and brisk action scenes on the waters of Minnesota. What we get is a compulsive, if essentially unbelievable, summer read. (July)