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The Day Trader: A Novel of Risk and Reward [Hardcover]

Stephen Frey
2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 15 2002
Some people risk everything once in their lives.
Day traders do it every time they go to work.

The exhilarating and addictive world of point-and-click stock market trading takes on a lethal new dimension in this riveting thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Insider and Trust Fund.

Augustus McKnight wants a better life than the one he’s got: toiling as a sales rep for a paper products company and suspecting his wife, Melanie, of cheating on him. His only solace is managing his tiny stock portfolio. . . hoping to strike it rich. Then a shrewd investment actually earns him a windfall. But it’s too late to save his marriage. In a bitter, violent confrontation, Melanie admits to a secret affair and demands a divorce. One day later, she is found brutally murdered. And Augustus is the sole beneficiary of her million-dollar life insurance policy.

Suddenly, Augustus has the better life he’s always longed for–but at a devastating price. To escape his pain, he plunges into the world of the full-time day trader, surrounded by like-minded loners who risk it all to run with the bulls and bears. Yet even as his financial fortunes begin to soar, dark circumstances threaten to send his life into a tailspin. A suspicious insurance investigator is determined to prove that Augustus committed the murder to get the million. And a relentless police detective is watching Augustus’s every move–with the help of a mystery informant.

Augustus’s only ally has is Vincent Carlucci–an old friend and high-living player, who offers Augustus a sweet gig managing the money of some big shots who’ll pay handsome commissions on winning investments. But when the deal is sealed with a night on the town at an exclusive after-hours club, Augustus stumbles on the first of many shocking revelations about the events that have rocked his world–and discovers he is both a pawn in a complex game of manipulation and betrayal . . . and the target of a twisted quest for revenge.

The Day Trader is as thrilling–and terrifying–as gambling on a hot stock in this lightning-fast world where fortunes are made or lost at the touch of a button, where being rich means being ruthless, and where quick wits and killer instinct make the difference between success and slaughter.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

For Augustus McKnight, there's good news and bad news: he's just made a killing, but his wife wants a divorce. Then she's murdered, and McKnight gets her juicy life insurance policy and a whole lot of trouble.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

On the basis of previous novels such as The Vulture Fund (1996) and The Inner Sanctum (1997), Frey could be called the Grisham of financial thrillers. Here, he tarnishes that reputation a bit by offering an interesting but implausible story of the mixed-up world of a novice day trader. Augustus McKnight, married to his high-school sweetheart, has noticed that the spark has faded from their relationship. He figures it is due to their financial problems; he is a salesman, and she is a legal secretary. Augustus is obsessed with the financial market, managing a ghost portfolio that triples in value in a short time, and with the encouragement of his laid-back, playboy friend, Vincent, Augustus considers changing occupations. That decision is hastened by the murder of his wife. In his grief, and with a million-dollar life insurance policy in his future, Augustus takes the plunge and signs on with a day-trading group. The husband is always a suspect, of course, so adding to the stress of his newfound livelihood is the constant appearance of homicide detective Dorsey. As Augustus is investigated, he ventures on his own search, finding disturbing connections among his wife, her boss, his motley crew of coworkers, a certain gentleman's club, and his supposed best friend, Vincent. Frey attempts to paint Augustus as a tragic hero, his fatal flaw being his naivete, but it's hard to buy. He is intelligent, strong, insightful, but incredibly blind to his surroundings. Nonetheless, expect demand for this page-turner. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars very entertaining and informative March 1 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having never been terribly interested in the stock market, I was rather amazed at how much I enjoyed this book. Being quite an ignoramus on this subject, I found his explanations very informative. He writes well, the pages turn themselves and I was even reluctant to finish it as I enjoyed the mystery. Will definitely read more of Stephen Frey's books. Was quite amazed to see so many negative reviews.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good Nov. 17 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I thought this was a good book, unlike some of the other people who reviewed it. It kept me turning the pages, wondering what would happen next. Unlike other reviews, this IS worth the paper it is printed on.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh Nov. 10 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have never in my life read a more technically inproficient writer. Avoid at all costs.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
I do not understand the negative reviews on this novel. I found this book to be very well written and thoughtful. Stephen Frey is a lot of writer.
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1.0 out of 5 stars So Disappointed!! Sept. 9 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have lost respect for the NY Times and others who rave about this book on the cover. Most everyone hit upon why the book is weak so I'll focus on just a couple of things that were left out.
First, the writing is condescending. There are so many adverbs to describe the way someone said something, whereas any intelligent reader can grasp it from the context (e.g., he said sarcastically, she said seriously). It is an insult to the reader.
Second, the book is filled with stale cliches that it becomes unbelievable. For example, it's a hot July summer in Virginia and two police detectives show up at a guys door in the middle of the night. Of course they are wearing suits with the ties loose and one of them is patting his head down with a handkerchief. Another time Augustus McKnight is fighting someone on his lawn and naturally the 74 year-old lady across the street is on her lawn holding a flashlight wearing...guess what? Of course!! A floral cotton robe and big pink slippers. The only non-cliche character was the fortune teller.
On the whole I found the story to be insulting, silly and unbelievable. What 33 year-old man with a sexual dynamo for a wife, who lives near DC has NEVER been into a strip club before??
And how could Augustus be a poor, stupid, paper salesman one second and a financial wiz the next. Way too inconsistent.
I could go on and on but it seems to me like the author was rushing to meet a deadline. Not enough thought was put into the book. I never felt like part of the action and it was all too non-believable for me.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the paper printed on June 19 2003
Clearly, when I buy a book for an airplane read, I don't expect much. Just enough to keep me occupied and make the time pass. "The Day Trader" does not even pass this test. The main character switches back and forth from village idiot to financial genius, discovers a violent side in himself that does hardly match 11 years of staying on the same job. Inconsistencies and non-sensicals are abound. Has anyone tried in 2000 to "gain experience in the stock market" with a 1000$ on the balance sheet? Yet, this is what Mr. Frey makes Augustus say to his truly fictional boss. I believe, corporate America has found better ways of making money than blackmailing employees. Augustus makes two trades (one on inside information) yet the book is called "The Day Trader". It appears to me that Frey tried to throw everything in one pot and hoped it would turn out right: the frenzy of the stock market in and around the year 2000, a murder, an unfaithful wife, a greedy lawyer, child abuse and sex. Well, what came out is something that appears to be a cheap attempt to cash in on previous better works of Mr. Frey. While I understand that we are talking about fiction a story should be at least imaginable. Main characters should be developed or back tracked, side characters should complement the plot or offer an alternative solution of the mystery so the reader is kept guessing.
While the book is sad, it is even more frustrating to read the raving reviews of the "professional" book reviewers that decorate the book. They are as deceiving and fraudulent as the stock tips the financial powerhouses gave not too long ago. A conflict of interest is apparent. Who keeps the book reviewers honest? Does anybody know?
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By A Customer
I was a day trader in the 90s, and loved it. I thought there was going to be excitement about trading stocks in this book, and getting highs off making huge money, and suffering loses as well. The author does not touch stock trading really at all. Its more of a mystery/murder story, and not a good one at that. If you are looking for day trading fiction excitemnet, please look elsewhere.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Something like The Takeover April 29 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really liked this book when I read it. So, I turned around and read another one of Mr. Frey's books, The Takeover, some two weeks later. Reading The Takeover, I am sensing that Stephen Frey had run out of material for The Day Trader and just went back to the original formula, for in some (perhaps relatively minor) instances, this novel plays out like his first. I would have given The Day Trader 4 stars had I not gotten a hold of its prototype. Still, it's a terrific way to pass the time while riding the the NYC subway.
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