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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
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 18 2003
Format:Hardcover
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Expected MUCH more Feb. 8 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Well...here goes. I have done some serious daytrading...so I expected substantially more to this book, especially upon reading that Frey is "the Grisham of finance" or words to that effect. This was my first read by Stephen Frey...so I cannot say much about any style changes or anything like that...and cannot compare any of his works to this book. I suspect that this was one of his weaker efforts so will "give him another chance" and try one of his other books that has a more positive feedback here on Amazon.
If you are considering this book as a first-read from this author, I would stay away from this one and try another. I felt that the characters were much too stereotypical and extreme. I know a lot of daytraders and quite a bit about how they think. While emotions can run high (yes...recall the daytrader rage incident a couple of years ago) generally, the good ones are very calm individuals who rely on technical analysis of charts and not on hot tips procured in bars.
Two things prevented me from giving this book a 1 or 2 star rating: it actually is a decent story, and it inspired me to write a book of my own...we'll see.
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Format:Hardcover
For me, the discovery of Frey's book was purely accidental. I had neither heard of him nor any of his other books before. It was actually the title which popped out at me when I was looking for a quick and easy escape from my own day to day world. My reading of the book left me with the sense that the plot, as described on the jacket, lived up to its promise and also accomplished what I was looking for. To Frey's credit as well, I'll add that anyone with enough of a background in both the financial and legal world would probably agree with my conclusion that he skillfully presents a set of realistic circumstances resulting in a suspenseful, believable, intriguing scenario from beginning to end. My problem was with his main character, Augustus. He's a nice enough guy for sure, but there's a problem. How can a guy, who in the beginning of the book was such an Ordinary Joe, if even that, in his job, his marriage, his entire life, miraculously transform himself within a matter of weeks into such a shrewd manipulator of not only circumstances but also all those around him who were successfully playing him for a patsy for so many years? As Frey explains, the real world of day trading is one which mercilessly chews up the naïve and inexperienced. Unfortunately, Frey's Augustus struck me as the type of character who would likewise be chewed up in the high stakes crime world the author places him in. Enjoyable enough so I'll revisit Frey for a second helping, but as for The Day Trader, my high score for plot was diminished by a lower score for a creditable main character.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars very entertaining and informative
Having never been terribly interested in the stock market, I was rather amazed at how much I enjoyed this book. Read more
Published on March 1 2004 by Linda Sackstein
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
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. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2003 by J. Stoutenberg
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh
I have never in my life read a more technically inproficient writer. Avoid at all costs.
Published on Nov. 10 2003 by Dean M. Wells
5.0 out of 5 stars A Huge New Fan, Very Well Written, Smooth and Polished
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.
Published on Oct. 28 2003 by Jon G. Hargrove
1.0 out of 5 stars Day Trader?? Made only a two trades throughout the 347 pgs
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... Read more
Published on May 17 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Something like The Takeover
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. Read more
Published on April 29 2003 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Written for a 5 year old
This is one of the worst "suspense" type books I have read. Everything is telegraphed way ahead, and it is feels like it is written (minor titilation aside) by a 15 year... Read more
Published on March 30 2003 by binkinsect
1.0 out of 5 stars Uninspired
When I first purchased this book, I was looking forward to the same quality of story and detail that I had come to enjoy in Frey's previous books. Read more
Published on March 10 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother!
In my experience, I usually will enjoy a book if either I like the main character or if I can relate to the main character. Read more
Published on March 10 2003 by Jamie
4.0 out of 5 stars An easy read
I found this novel to be easy to read. It is my first try for a Stephen Frey book and I would certainly read another one.
Published on March 5 2003 by Brian J. Mclaughlin
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