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A Silas Cade Mystery by Mike Cooper

Clawback by Mike Cooper

Review: Silas Cade is an accountant. But not just any accountant. He says his logo might just be a green eyeshade crossed by a 9 mm Glock. For Silas Cade is in the business of clawback, the "mandatory return of compensation paid on a deal that later goes bad. Sometimes the claw part is literal." But his latest case is a little more complicated, as outlined in the aptly titled Clawback, the first mystery in this series by Mike Cooper.

Silas has just successfully retrieved $10 million from one Hayden Pennerton for his client, hedge fund manager — and a rather poor one at that — Tom Marlett, only to learn that Marlett has just been shot dead on his front porch by a sniper. Silas doesn't have too long to ponder the situation when he's hired by one of Marlett's competitors, Quint Ganderson. It turns out that Marlett isn't the first market player to recently die; two others have experienced suspicious, though certainly less apparently so, deaths. Ganderson wants Silas to find out who is killing Wall Street's finest before he, himself, becomes a target. Only the dead are far from being the best in the business; each had suffered spectacular losses of capital, so much so that any of their high net worth clients might legitimately be considered a suspect. A bit of a change of pace for Silas, but not so much that he doesn't think he can do the job.

Clawback races along at a relentless pace. A lot of technical trading jargon is tossed around along the way, but it really doesn't interfere with the story. Indeed, this is much more of an action-thriller than, say, a financial-thriller. The first and final thirds, the setup and the resolution, are its strongest parts; the middle tends to run in place without accomplishing much, but run it does. In some respects, from a whodunit perspective, Clawback isn't all that subtle … and it probably could have benefited from being a little more so. One of its overriding themes is, for every transaction there are two participants, a buyer and a seller. If one party has lost money, the counter-party has made money. In other words, when solving a crime involving money simply follow the money. That's no doubt easier said than done, in real life and in fiction; still, it's highly entertaining for readers to accompany Silas on his journey to what is likely for many readers to be a most obvious conclusion.

(Note: For lack of a better description, Clawback is called here "A Silas Cade Mystery." But, as Silas Cade puts it, his name is "as imaginary as any of my other identities, all assumed, used up and shucked over the years." It would be a loss to crime fiction if he weren't to return; it's just not known right now what name he'll use when he does.)

Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided an eArc of Clawback for this review.

Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …

Mystery Book Review: Full Ratchet by Mike CooperFull Ratchet
Viking (Hardcover), July 2013
ISBN-13: 9780670025794; ISBN-10: 0670025798

Location(s) referenced in Clawback: New York City

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Clawback by Mike Cooper

Clawback by A Silas Cade Mystery

Publisher: Viking
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0-670-02329-5
Publication Date:
List Price: $26.95

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