Reich, 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.

LJ, 128, no. 13 (August 2003), 135.

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