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A Fatal Debt
John Gapper

June 2012 / ISBN 9780345527899
Suspense, Wall Street

Reviewed by Bob Walch

Using the past Wall Street meltdown as the inspiration for his first novel, John Gapper, the associate editor of The Financial Times, has created a story where a young psychiatrist becomes ensnared in a violent crime situation when one of his patients kills a person.

Ben Cowper works at a Manhattan hospital. When one of most generous donors of the medical facility is brought into the psych ward with what appear to be suicidal tendencies, Cowper is asked to treat him. Harry Shapiro is a Wall Street financier whose world has just collapsed. Although he needs treatment, Shapiro refuses to stay at the hospital and because of who he is, Cowper is pressured by his superiors to release him and conduct treatment at the man's home.

When Shapiro apparently shoots and kills another Wall Street wheeler-and-dealer, the psychiatrist is blamed for releasing the distraught man. With his career at stake, Cowper decides he'll have to figure out what actually occurred at his patient's Hamptons' mansion before the police close the file on the case.

With a riveting plot lifted right off the financial pages of the nation's newspapers, this thriller not only introduces a new author but also offers a different take on the causes and consequences of the recent Wall Street debacle.

A Fatal Debt is an entertaining novel and those with some knowledge of the ins and outs of the financial world will have fun trying to match some of the characters and scenarios with real people and events.

Reviewed 2012