BOOK REVIEW: THE DAY TRADER by Stephen Frey
The Day Trader (Pub. 2002) is one of the best books I've read in the past six months--it definitely makes my top three. This is Stephen Frey's seventh novel, and from checking out his website he's written a total of nineteen published novels to-date. I really loved this story (my first read of this author's works)--for several reasons, and will be checking out his other books ASAP!
Day Trader is a combination finance thriller/who-done-it. I have to admit that it's been a while since I've read a finance thriller, so I think that was part of the juice for me - it was a nice change. It appears from his other titles that this genre is Frey's specialty, and he is in the finance industry himself (or was, back in the day). Frey does a fantastic job of inserting factoids related to stock market trades in an easy-to-absorb way, weaving them in amongst the real meat of the story in a quick in/out way. I felt like I learned quite a bit about the stock market while being greatly entertained, which is always the ultimate for me in any book I read (learning facts while being entertained).
The story moves at a perfect pace and will suck you in from page one, whether you enjoy Wall Street stuff or not. By page 20, the MC, Augustus McKnight, has been blackmailed by his boss for using company euqipment at his low-paying job to do day trades, and threatened with divorce by his wife of eleven years. It only gets better from there. I read this 347-pg (paperback) book in less than eight hours. I would have finished it sooner but I fell asleep, aarrggh.
The story is written in first-person, present tense, which often times can ruin a book for me, but the author does such a smooth job of it, I didn't even really think about how he was writing the story per se. Frey uses first-person to the best degree, deep POV, while somehow still giving us a good hard look at the other supporting characters. The author makes Augustus McKnight come to life in a very real way, but yet subtly, nothing feels forced or fake or overwrought. And yet, the story is so well thought-out, the details of the plot, the characterization, as well as those great factoids, are all woven together in an irresistable way. The prose is simple, yet spot-on. The who-done-it is not easy to figure because Frey gives us several possibilities for the culprit and on top of it, he manages to pull off a couple surprises we have no way of seeing coming toward the end of the book that really kick this story to the tenth power.
Clear you calendar when you pick this book up because you won't want to put it down!