The Day Trader: A Novel of Risk and Reward Hardcover – Jan 15 2002
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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.
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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?
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Having never been terribly interested in the stock market, I was rather amazed at how much I enjoyed this book. Read morePublished on March 1 2004 by Linda Sackstein
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 morePublished on Nov. 17 2003 by J. Stoutenberg
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
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
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 morePublished on May 17 2003
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 morePublished on April 29 2003 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on March 30 2003 by binkinsect
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 morePublished on March 10 2003