Black Fridays

Black Fridays - Michael Sears Black Fridays begins with Jason Stafford's release from prison. He returns to New York City and hopes to start a new life with his ex-wife and child. Unfortunately Jason's ex has not gone along with the game plan. Jason had patiently explained to Angie that they needed to get a divorce and transfer assets from his name to hers in an effort to protect her and retain money before he was indicted. He thought she understood that the divorce was only a ruse and they would get back together once his legal issues were finalized. Unfortunately Angie is a high-maintenance alcoholic that only thinks of herself and she has left New York and returned to Louisiana and her family. So Jason returns to an empty apartment, initially purchased as an investment. His life is on hold as he is on parole for three years and cannot leave the five boroughs of New York without permission from his parole officer. This doesn't stop Jason from leaving New York and going to Louisiana to get his son, Jason Jr. or the Kid.

The Kid suffers from autism and requires special care. Jason knows that he's facing an uphill struggle in his efforts to provide the best care possible for the Kid. He also knows that the Kid needs a very strict regimented life in order to handle life. Jason quickly gets used to "beige" and "black" days and the food quirks of the Kid. In a few short weeks Jason and the Kid have made a bond and a life that works for them.

Jason is prohibited from returning to trading and he knows that it may be difficult to obtain gainful employment. But Jason's knowledge base and his imprisonment history have made him the perfect man to investigate the history of a deceased junior trader at an investment firm. Little does Jason know that this "investigation" is placing not only his life, but his son's life, in peril. Sometimes accidents are not what they seem and Jason is finding out that there have been too many accidents associated with people at this particular investment firm. Not only does Jason have to contend with co-workers that won't reveal anything useful, but he also has the FBI pushing him into a corner, as well as his ex-wife and her bid to take their son away again.

Black Fridays is a thriller that provides some insight into dealing with autism and behind the scenes looks at the trading world. The title is an obvious play on the historical "black Fridays" seen as a result of Wall Street trading as well as the Kid's required black clothing on Fridays. Jason isn't really an "any man" even though he doesn't come from a privileged background. Prior to his arrest, Jason was living a life that many of us may not be able to comprehend with multiple residences, extravagant and luxurious purchases. Jason struggles to build a new life for himself and for his son, while struggling to understand the bond market and what has been happening at the investment firm. Jason's desire for his ex-wife's return fizzles out quickly after learning about her remarriage and one night of sex with Wanda (a co-worker to a magician friend). All of the characters presented are highly believable (thanks in part to reality TV in presenting the lifestyles of the rich, famous and infamous). I found the parts of the story that dealt with trading and bond discussions to drag just a bit, but the knowledge presented was necessary in order to understand the story. The portions of the story dealing with Jason and the Kid were at times comical and others sad. Black Fridays provides the reader with trading fraud, blackmail, murder, parental kidnapping, battery, family bonding, and a hint of romance. Mr. Sears has provided a story that quickly gripped me and had me rooting for Jason and the Kid until the end. I found Black Fridays to be a relatively fast read and one that I can recommend for thriller readers looking for something just a little bit different.