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by Mark de Castrique
Poisoned Pen Press, July 2012
306 pages
ISBN: 1590586158

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In this taut thriller, Mark de Castrique takes his readers deep into the workings of the Federal Reserve, capitalizing on the conspiracies floating all around it.

The shadowy halls of this august body are fair game in this deft author's hands. The story centers on the suicide (or was it murder?) of an executive, who served as liaison to the US Treasury. Guarded by a private security firm, the victim (Paul Luguire) has formed a bond with his bodyguard (former Secret Service Officer Rusty Mullins). The day he is found dead, Mullins refuses to believe he was suicidal, and neither does Amanda Church, another former Secret Service officer now working with the Federal Reserve's cyber security unit.

The two team up to work the case outside the confines of the official police investigation, but Mullins also follows the case from another tack, this one hand-in-hand with the detective who trusts Mullins' gut instincts even while many of the signs point back to Mullins himself. The detective and Mullins are also helped by a former journalist, who wrote a scathing book on the Fed.

Meanwhile, someone is setting Mullins up to take the fall for Luguire's death, but who? While trying to cover his own back, Mullins also discovers that someone has been moving money from the Federal Reserve to an offshore account, then deleting the evidence. There's also a regional bank involved, as well as a links to a foreclosure victim, terrorists, and a kidnapping. Most of all, there is something big in the works, set to coincide with the Fourth of July, but just what is it?

With all of this action going on, it may be surprising for readers to learn that this is one of the most interesting books out there simply for its asides. The author uses his characters well to share information on the Federal Reserve without overpowering the storyline. While hints of the twist ending may be detected by those with an astute sense of a mystery novel's lay of the land, that does nothing to ruin the overall direction and enjoyment of the book.

Even if readers have no interest in the Federal Reserve whatsoever, the mystery stands on its own merit. At the end of the day, however, this well written thriller is most likely to appeal to those who enjoy learning something new about a government body more secretive than even the CIA.

Christine Zibas is a freelance writer and former director of publications for a Chicago nonprofit.

Reviewed by Christine Zibas, February 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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