The Banker's Wife by Cristina Alger

The Banker's Wife

Cristina Alger

The Banker's Wife is both a high-stakes thriller and an inside look at the personal lives in the intriguing world of finance, introducing Cristina Alger as a powerful new voice in the genre.

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"Immersive, satisfying, tense--and timely: This is probably happening for real right now."--Lee Child

On an early morning in November, a couple boards a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. Soon after, it simply drops off the radar, and its wreckage is later uncovered in the Alps. Among the disappeared is Matthew Lerner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His young widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind, including an encrypted laptop and a shady client list. As she begins a desperate search for answers, she determines that Matthew's death was no accident, and that she is now in the crosshairs of his powerful enemies.

Meanwhile, ambitious society journalist Marina Tourneau has finally landed at the top. Now that she's engaged to Grant Ellis, she will stop writing about powerful families and finally be a part of one. Her entry into the upper echelons of New York's social scene is more appealing than any article could ever be, but, after the death of her mentor, she agrees to dig into one more story. While looking into Swiss United, Marina uncovers information that implicates some of the most powerful men in the financial world, including a few who are too close to home. The story could also be the answer to Annabel's heartbreaking search--if Marina chooses to publish it.

The Banker's Wife is both a high-stakes thriller and an inside look at the personal lives in the intriguing world of finance, introducing Cristina Alger as a powerful new voice in the genre.


Advance Galley Reviews

In this rapid-read financial thriller, banker's wife Annabel Werner learns that, rather than being in London as he told her, her husband Matthew was killed when the small plane he was traveling in crashed in the Alps. As she struggles with her grief, Annabel discovers that Matthew's death was no accident and, after connecting with Matthew's assistant Zoe who had his laptop, that the death appears connected with Swiss United, Matthew's powerful and unscrupulous Geneva-based off-shore bank employer. Meanwhile, journalist Marina Tourneau, upset by the death of her mentor, decides to pursue his research into Swiss United and its network of shady clients, resulting in a block-buster story with international ramifications.

This book should've been called something like Wives of Bankers or something you know because I felt like there were two protagonists so why title it based on one of them (especially when the other one did a bit more of actual work). Here's a story whirling around offshore accounts of billionaires' barely legitimate money. The scandals, the loopholes, the tax evasion, the dirty business around it all. That part was interesting and coming from a writer who has real knowledge of the workings of the financial sector, it seemed plausible. A banker from a prominent Swiss bank dies in a plane crash in the Alps and we don't know if it was an accident or a murder. His wife sets out to unravel that mystery. On the other side of the Atlantic, a news editor is shot dead and his colleague and friend who also happens to be the fiancee of the son of a presidential candidate finds herself in the midst of a story she didn't think she was going to write. Unbeknownst to her until then, her fiance and FIL are also hoarding dollars in the same Swiss bank from which the plane-crash banker was. Eventually the two separate investigative stories merge and draw parallels and the entire scam is cracked open. Typical mystery. Just adequately gripping. Really nothing more to say about that. I liked the references to art pieces here and there. What I did not like was that the author spent a lot of words on describing physical appearances in a lofty way at times. All the characters seemed to be out of the Hollywood or something (which I know is the case mostly with opulence) but I din't think it was necessary to dwell on the descriptions so much. Also, the characters didn't have much depth. Despite being super-rich and all, they seemed bland really and unimpressive even for the story. Overall, I'd recommend it if you're an avid fan of mysteries and like female oriented stories.

Could hardly put this one down. Following three likable, strong, smart women through an interesting story of intrigue is unusual and this one made for a good read. Well written and informative. I’ll be exploring other books by Cristina Alger. Many thanks to Penguin Books First to Read for an ARC in return for an honest review.

After reading the heart-stopping THE LAST TIME I LIED by Riley Sager, I was in the mood for another thriller, and THE BANKER'S WIFE seemed like the perfect choice. I will admit, however, that I was slightly worried about a thriller based on the illicit side of the financial world. I wondered if it would be interesting or if it would be bogged down with financial lingo and details. Luckily, that was not the case one bit, as THE BANKER'S WIFE is thrilling as well as suspenseful, filled with plenty of jaw-dropping moments! The one aspect that I loved the most about THE BANKER'S WIFE was the way in which Christina presented the financial world. I already knew some details about offshore accounts and how people funnel through money into them through shell corporations; however, Christina Alger showed that there's so much to it than just that. She never overwhelmed the text with facts; instead, she incorporated details and descriptions when the characters stumbled upon new things. It gave a very natural feel. It's insane to think how easy it is for people to get around the rules. THE BANKER'S WIFE includes two main perspectives: Annabel, the wife of a Swiss United banker, and Marina, an investigative reporter. While Annabel and Marina never run into each other directly over the course of the story, their stories are deeply interconnected. As an investment banker's wife, Annabel's learned two things about that banking world (1) it's 24/7, around the clock work and (2) it has the ability to drive a deep wedge between a couple. While she knows that Matthew is doing what he thinks is best for their family, Annabel is deeply unhappy. She doesn't like her new home, and she hates that she almost never sees him. I liked Annabel from the start. She may not realize it at first, but she's an incredibly strong women. When the story first begins, Annabel knows very little about Matthew's work, and she hates that feeling of helplessness, especially since it seems that there was foul play involved in Matthew's plane crash. Instead of sitting quietly and waiting for someone else to solve the case, she dives head first into her own investigation, going to many dark corners of the banking world in the process. I give her major props and respect for that. She's a tough cookie. Plus she's also incredibly smart and resourceful. I enjoyed watching her Nancy Drew her way through the different clues, and I hoped throughout that she would get the closure she craved. As a reporter, Marina's gotten herself involved in a lot of nutty situations over the years to get a story; however, she may just be in over her head this time around. Like Annabel, Marina has also suffered a great loss: the death of her boss and beloved mentor due to an apparent home invasion. Marina doesn't believe that it was some random act, especially given the story he was working on - bringing down a suspected bad guy based on offshore accounts, ones that may be linked to Swiss United. Marina is tough and resourceful. She'll do anything to find out what happened to her boss, and more importantly, she'll do anything to break such a big story. When the book first begins Marina is thinking about quitting due to her upcoming nuptials, and throughout the book, she dwells over this dilemma. I feel that it added a lot to her character, because given how much she wanted to investigate this story, no matter how much her husband-to-be told her to let it go, showed just how dedicated of a reporter she was. I won't say too much about the plot because it's one you just need to experience for yourself; however, I will say that Christina did such a fantastic job of developing it/bringing it all together. There was always a twist in store, something that changed everything, and I loved that aspect. I love being shocked and knocked off my seat, even if does mean I end up staying up way to late reading. As I said before, Christina brings the two stories together, and in doing so, she plays off the narratives. It was exciting to see how events overlapped, how something suspicious in Annabel's POV was addressed in Marina's. It kept me thinking that's for sure! The writing here is also top-notch. It's tight and to-the-point; however, Christina still manages to flesh out the many emotions of the characters. I could easily feel Annabel's heartbreak and determination as well as Marianna's passion, fearlessness, and occasional indecision. Quite simply, the writing is what made the story come to life in front of my eyes. In all, I can't suggest The Banker's Wife highly enough! It's a unique and well written addition to the thriller world, and most importantly, it introduces so many strong women! I loved seeing Annabel and Marina kick butt and take names, and while the ending may have been a tad too coincidental, it made me so incredibly happy.

Exotic international locations, naive spouses, complex financial shenanigans and secret bank accounts provide fodder for a really good thriller written by Cristina Alger. The financial backstory never overpowers this tale of a plane crash and the bereaved widow’s fears that someone is out to get her for unknown reasons. This sense of paranoia infects the tale perfectly as it moves from Geneva to London to the French countryside. While some of the details may be a bit predictable, all told the book is well worth reading for thriller fans.

This book was a thrilling read! Once I was about 20 pages in I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in 2 days. It follows two story lines that end up being intertwined. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat and you don’t know who to trust or believe as you are reading. Get this book and prepare for a day of reading and tuning out the rest of the world! This is a must read!!

Meh. I did not find this book to be much of a thriller. The ending was not a big surprise. I did not like any of the characters. It just did not work for me.

 


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