Vanessa V. Friedman
June 17, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Black Money

Current Status
In Season
Michael Thomas
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a B

In the ’80s, it was greenmail. In the ’90s, it’s black money, that is, money that has been laundered, moved about, and otherwise cleansed of its illegal origin but still can’t be considered clean. Such money, in Michael Thomas’ latest Wall Street thriller Black Money, is the currency of South American druglords, a renegade presidential adviser, a government computer consultant, and the mastermind behind it all: a onetime CIA operative-turned-financial adviser who also happens to be a gorgeous, brilliant woman with a prominent nose (the nose plays a significant role). Linking them all is a clever scheme to wash their dirty money without ever resorting to offshore banking. A mid-level government operative stumbles onto a hint of the plot’s existence and alerts the (female) owner of a small independent Washington newspaper, who smells a Pulitzer and calls in a (male) private investigator (with the unfortunate name of Coole). The book is a fine example of what it is — a Wall Street suspense novel — but what it is just doesn’t seem that interesting anymore. B

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