Barbara F, Reviewer
Ted Malloy's life as a lawyer for a well-regarded law firm in Manhattan, married to the beloved granddaughter of a powerful judge, has fallen apart. He has returned to his native Queens where he mines a crack in real estate deals for a living. It's not a glamorous life - he gets paid when he finds commercial property that has been foreclosed and is being sold at auction. If the price paid for the property is higher than what is owed in mortgage payments and back taxes, the difference can be claimed by the previous owner. Ted has an ex-con gopher who locates records of such auctions, then Ted locates the previous owners and splits this "surplus money" with them. Usually it's not a lot of money, but it's enough for Ted. But his gopher comes across an unusual case where the "surplus" is over a million bucks. Normally Ted wouldn't pursue big deals like this, but when his gopher is killed and the man's wife asks Ted to find the money and the murderer, his sense of justice is aroused and he agrees to check it out, dipping a toe into a fast-moving current of corruption. Michael Sears is known for financial thrillers that send readers into the moneyed halls of Wall Street firms. In this debut of a new series, he sets readers down far from Wall Street, on the streets of the most diverse county in the nation, where most residents get by with small businesses and modest lives but where gentrification is threatening to upend lives. The characters in this novel are well drawn, the plot is intricate, and the pacing, while not break-neck, has a steady foot on the accelerator. Moving to Queens may be a step down on the financial ladder for Ted Malloy but it's a good move for readers who've had enough of Wall Street but not of Michael Sears.