Saturday, January 24, 2015

From Antigua to Morocco

My latest White Collar Crime Thriller, Spin Move, is about a guy named John Rudiger who’s a fugitive financier living under an alias in Antigua. How Rudiger wound up in that position is a long story, which I laid out in a series of short stories and novellas called Rudiger Stories.

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The 60-second summary is that Rudiger is basically a good guy who was a money manager in New York named Walter Conklin with a $1 billion hedge fund around the time of the Internet boom. He specialized in technology stocks, so as you might guess, he was considered a wunderkind there for a while. The guy puffed himself up, in more ways than one, along with the markets. He married a sassy, big-busted social climber from Long Island, developed a taste for high-priced wines, bought a Park Avenue coop, opened a Park Avenue office with a personal Cordon Bleu-trained French chef, and even got pretty puffed up physically—ballooning from his All-American college football weight to over 300 pounds.

When the Internet bubble popped and the NASDAQ crashed, things fell apart for Conklin. It turns out his wife, Angela, was screwing one of his best friends and his CFO and partner at his hedge fund was screwing him even worse: he cooked the books to pump up Conklin’s already phantasmagorical returns in order to suck in more investors, and then when the market tanked he panicked, turned state's evidence and blamed it all on Conklin. That's what put Conklin on the run to South America for plastic surgery, a gastric bypass, and his John Rudiger alias in the Caribbean.

So now you’re caught up with how Rudiger wound up in Antigua.

Enter Katie Dolan.

Katie, a petite strawberry blonde with a lithe body and washboard abs, was raised tough-as-nails in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and had worked her way up from the streets to become a lawyer, first for the Manhattan DA’s office and then for Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlie Holden in Manhattan. Holden was the guy who arrested Conklin's CFO, and the reason Conklin skipped the country when he realized Holden was hot on his trail.

Katie landed in Antigua at Holden’s behest to try and get the goods on Rudiger, prove he was really Conklin and extradite him back to the U.S. for trial and jail. Pheromones flew when she saw his 6’2’’ tanned and muscled body and ski-slope nose. His hormones responded in kind.

Rudiger did Holden one better and co-opted Katie to go with him back to New York to pose as his ex-wife Angela to help him recover $50 million in bearer bonds he’d stashed in a safe deposit box.

Katie did Rudiger still one better, screwing him out of $30 million of the bonds, and thus begins our story, Spin Move.

It’s a year after Rudiger and Katie’s tryst in New York, and now the Antiguan officials are demanding ever more exorbitant payouts to maintain his cover. He’s running out of money.  Katie is holed up with her ailing father in Cape Verde, an Island paradise off the coast of Africa that conveniently lacks an extradition treaty with the U.S., an idea she took right out of Rudiger’s playbook. Despite her double cross, Rudiger is still hot for Katie, and he knows just where to find her when he leaves Antigua. But U.S. Attorney Charlie Holden is still hovering in the background, dead set on catching them both. Even worse, Katie’s been sucked in by a dashing, disreputable Swiss banker and he’s conned her out of Rudiger’s $30 million. Can they get it back and escape before it’s too late?

I gave Spin Move the elements of a classic thriller, with pace and jump cuts from Antigua to Morocco to Geneva to the UK, some secondary characters I had a lot of fun with, ongoing fireworks between Rudiger and Katie, a sneaky villain in a murderous Swiss banker, and some action that will hopefully stand up the hairs on the back of your neck.

Readers seem to agree; the reviews have been very positive.

I hope you’ll give Spin Move a try.

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