My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received for review from Amazon Vine
Michael Sears “Long Way Down (A Jason Stafford Novel)” (GP Putman 2014), third in the Jason Stafford series, is a gripping story of Jason Stafford, a Wall Street trader who goes to jail for insider trading and comes out to rebuild his life by helping those in trouble in his past field. The path to helping one particular innovative, hard-charging entrepreneur leads Stafford through corruption, hitmen, murder, and multiple attempts on our hero’s life. By using the mental skills he developed both in and out of prison, he is able to unravel the clues that will find his client innocent. Or guilty. The reader doesn’t know which it will be until the riveting surprise ending.
Sears is an excellent writer. His characters are well-drawn and plot believable, albeit weighed down by long-winded detail on a variety of topics. As a result, the story moves a tad slowly for the usual thriller-murder-mystery. Add to that a robust secondary plot that while fascinating–Stafford is the single father, raising a son with Asperger’s–distracts often from the primary plot. What saves this is the realism of the dad-and-son daily events that the reader experiences with the duo. I was in awe of his patience, tenacity, and love for his son.
While Jason Stafford is smart, clever, and does not know the meaning of the word ‘quit’–great traits for a novel’s protagonist–I had a love-hate with him. Part of it was his superiority to all people, as though he learned nothing from his precipitous fall from grace and the mistakes that put him in jail. Because of this attitude, he too often had derogatory comments about everyday people just trying to get by. I get that this is his character. I’m not supposed to find him perfect, but it reminded me too much of Patricia Cornwall’s Kay Scarpetta. She shared the same malady about the time I quit reading that series.
Overall, Michael Sears is an excellent storyteller with a strong grip on character development and building his plot to an explosive climax. Definitely read this one.
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