Trading Down – Stephen Norman
Chris Peters loves his work in a multi-national bank: the excitement of the trading floor, the impossible deadlines and the constant challenge of the superfast computers in his care. And he loves his beautiful wife, Olivia. But over time, the dream turns sour. His systems crash, the traders turn on him, and Olivia becomes angry and disillusioned. So much bad luck.
Or is it? A natural detective, Chris finds evidence of something sinister in the mysterious meltdown of a US datacentre. A new kind of terrorist. But can he get anyone to believe him? His obsessive search leads him to a jihadist website, filled with violent images; a man beaten to a pulp in a Dubai carpark; and a woman in a gold sari dancing in the flames of her own destruction. Slowly, a tragic story from decades ago in Yemen emerges.
Too late, Chris understands the nature of the treachery, so close to him. His adversary knows every move and is ready to strike. Even his boss agrees: if this program is run, it will destroy this bank as surely as a neutron bomb. And Chris Peters has 48 hours to figure it out…
My thanks to Alice at Midas PR for my review copy of Trading Down and for the opportunity to join the blog tour.
My day job is in financial services. I read crime thrillers for fun and escapism. These two parts of my life seldom cross over…a thriller set against a backdrop of Financial Services? A book which can make a page-turner out of investment banking? Until I read Trading Down I would have seriously doubted that these worlds could collide so well – yet Stephen Norman has accomplished what I thought would be impossible and this is a stylish and sophisticated thriller.
The story flits around a few different windows of time and the international world of finance and trading is brought to the fore as we visit the worldwide banking hubs. But there is an underlying danger to be challenged and the very realistic threat of financial terrorism takes the story to Yemen and a backstory which begins a few years before we meet our key character – Chris Peters.
Everything in Trading Down felt fast, breathless and energetic. Peters is facing a crisis at every turn, both his home life and work are demanding and he is under enormous pressure. At work he finds the computer systems which process a huge number of financial transactions are not functioning properly – after a late night crisis (when the bank activates the disaster recovery plan) Chris finds his workplace under severe scrutiny from the regulators. His attempts to maintain systems functionality unveil suspicious activities and Chris begins to explore further…his investigations reveal links to terrorist operations and Chris will be in extreme peril as he seeks to protect himself and those around him against a foe who seems always to be ahead of him.
Trading Down really appealed to me, the overlap with many of the environments I encounter through my work gave it particular fascination. It is a well plotted thriller which kept me hooked and thoroughly entertained. It d0es stray into financial jargon at times but the authenticity benefits in that regard. I don’t quibble if a military thriller does a discussion on ballistics or if a medical examiner in a crime thriller outlines an autopsy anomaly to a green faced police detective. So my full attention was given to discussions on investment trades and recording purchases and the story progressed at a nice fast pace entirely befitting a race against time thriller.
A very distinctive backdrop and a damn fine thriller. Lots of fun was had with Trading Down, if you fancy trying a thriller which is a little different from police procedurals you can start here.
Trading Down is published by Endeavour Press and can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trading-Down-gripping-cyber-thriller-ebook/dp/B075QF8LJ8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1510186440&sr=1-1&dpID=51FdMfy2YQL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=srch