Alynda Wheat
August 22, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Devil's Banker

Current Status
In Season
Christopher Reich

We gave it a B+

In Reich’s fourth novel, a bomb detonates in a Paris suburb, killing four government agents and one very connected militant last seen toting $500,000 for a jihadist organization. Playing follow-the-money is forensic accountant Adam Chapel, a former investment banker whose nose for fiscal foul play is almost as developed as his biceps. Chapel is a pencil pusher’s superhero: faster than a debit card, more powerful than the IRS, able to leap international monetary regulations in a single bound. Fortunately, Reich makes Chapel just human enough to tolerate for nearly 400 pages as he tags along with his possibly untrustworthy sidekick, Sarah Churchill. When something isn’t exploding, this smart, fast-paced read shuttles between Wall Street finance and the Eastern paperless hawala banking system — and makes both sound surprisingly cool.

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