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The Day Trader: A Novel of Risk and Reward Hardcover – Jan 15 2002

2.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (Jan. 15 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345443241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345443243
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,914,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on Sept. 9 2003
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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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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By A Customer on Feb. 8 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback goes. I have done some serious 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 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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