Black Money

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

A low-level bureaucrat responsible for sorting out the debris created by the failure of a bank collapse in Northern California discovers an intriguing anomaly that leads a contract killer to his doorstep. The killer’s employers, however, are not home free. Unbeknownst to them, Lee Boynton is also involved in this sordid tale of governmental corruption and money laundering.

Lee Boynton wants to be thought of as a serious journalist, but her problems in that regard are manifold. Still, wealth, beauty, and talent are not always a total loss—most particularly when the person in question can afford to bankroll a monthly magazine that serves as a vehicle for a journalistic career. In any event, although Lee can perceive the tip of the financial iceberg, she decides to hire an expert to determine the extent of the scam.

Thurlow Coole is a former financial analyst who found salvation after his conviction and imprisonment for insider trading. Lee engages Coole to use his considerable talents to lift the veil of mystery. With Coole and Boynton on the case, the outlines of a sophisticated and massive money laundering organization come to light. The trail is tenuous on occasion, and lethal as well, but the “good guys” win out in the end.

As a former partner in Lehman Brothers, the investment banking firm, Michael Thomas is well equipped to illuminate the myriad of possibilities in a scheme such as described in BLACK MONEY. Unfortunately, he has created rather one-dimensional characters—ones that are not as plausible as the scenario he creates. Still, BLACK MONEY is an interesting primer on a subject generally neglected by the conventional news media.