Christopher. The Devil’s Banker. Delacorte. August 2003.
c392p. ISBN 0-385-33727-2. $25.95. Fiction.
Reich’s forte, describing the world
of high finance, is amply demonstrated in this acronym-laden,
international thriller. Forensic accountant Adam Chapel and
British agent Sarah Churchill find themselves assigned to “Blood
Money,” a Treasury Department task force. Their goal
is to track down members of a terrorist group called Hijira.
The terrorists, financed in part by $500,000 funneled from
a German bank to a Paris jeweler, aim to carry out a major
attack in the United States. To ferret out the mastermind,
Adam and Sarah follow the group’s complicated money trail,
while a traitor in their midst shadows them at every turn.
Reich reveals a wealth of information regarding money laundering
and the U.S. government’s capabilities and resources
to counter unlawful financial transactions, but the novel itself,
with a plot that hugs today’s headlines, plods workmanlike
and with little suspense to a conclusion that lacks dramatic
intensity. A tepid, almost nonexistent romance and characters
who fail to stir the reader’s emotions all contribute
to a disappointing read. Lacking the verve of Reich’s
best-selling Numbered Account, this is recommended only for
larger public libraries.