Book Reviews: Stephen Frey: “The Chairman” and “The Protege”
Stephen Frey is one of my all time favorite authors. Most of his books are stand-alone novels, but, the last two need to be read in order and could almost be one big book (like some Harry Potter books (by the way, I thought Half Blood Prince was great!) or “The Historian”).
Frey’s writing is fast, furious, and exciting (and not for kids). The ending of “The Protege” was so exciting, it had me grinding my teeth.
Frey’s books deal with intrigue in the world of high finance. “The Chairman” focuses on the life and adventures of Christian Gillette the new Chairman of Everest Capital, a New York based private equity firm. For those who don’t know, a private equity firm buys companies, fixes them up a bit, and then sells them later, hopefully, for a profit. The recent Albertson’s purchase, I believe, was similar.
In “The Chairman” someone bumped off the old Chairman of Everest and is scheming to get Christian out of the way as well. Christian hires a security firm to protect him, and becomes good friends with Quentin Stiles (ex-Army Ranger/Secret Service agent and tough as nails) the owner of that firm. Together they are lucky to survive several attempts (the last conflict is brutal and one or more characters may not survive) on Christians life while Christian is wheeling and dealing to make sure the multi-billion profits for Everest Capital investors keep rolling in.
I can’t tell you what happens at the end, and in fact, Frey does not tell us everything leaving, at least, one important issue hanging without complete resolution. That was ok though…I just made up my own ending for that issue.
Reading “The Protege” tells you what happened at the end of “Chairman” (my made up ending to “The Chairman” was pretty close). “The Protege” is set about a year after “The Chairman” and the protege is a young up and comer at Everest, David Wright. Christian is ready to trust the running of Everest to David (Christian is still afraid someone is out there trying to bump him off, and they are). Trouble is, David accidentally kills a woman during a visit to a sex shop (hmmm, did I mention these books are not for kids?). Unfortunately, for David, someone evil was watching (and videotaping) the death. This person then sets events in motion, using David, that can destroy Christian. Add to the mix a large ($5 billion) investor of Everest who wants to learn (and maybe take over?) the business (beautiful Allison Wallace) and the action evolves into chaos. From New York to Las Vegas and in-between, with organized crime, the NFL, and rock stars, the book rockets to a perfectly mind numbing ending.
Frey is a very fast read (and I’m a slow reader)…so instead of buying a hardcover like my Friday friends at Barnes & Noble like me to do (and I did), it might be more cost effective (for you) to buy a paperback.
You can also try one of Frey’s other books. All of them are fast, furious, and great fun.