A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Banker's Wife by Christina Alger- Feature and Review


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 some who are too close to home. The story could also be the answer to Annabel's heartbreaking search—if Marina chooses to publish it.


MY REVIEW: The Banker’s WifeThe Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Banker’s Wife by Christina Alger is a 2018 G.P. Putnam’s Sons publication.

Annabelle and Matthew move to Geneva hoping for not only a great career opportunity for Matthew, but a change of scenery after suffering some hard losses.

But, when Annabelle is informed that Matthew has been killed in a plane crash, she’s not just devastated, she’s shocked to learn the details of the crash. Desperately needing to make sense of her husband’s actions and his death, Annabelle begins to research Matthew’s working life, while his colleagues attempt to ‘handle’ her. It’s hard to know who to trust, how to know who the bad guys are. But, if Annabelle isn’t careful, she could become collateral damage.

Meanwhile, Marina Tourneau, a reporter who is about to marry into a powerful New York family, is given the chance to work on one last story by her long -time mentor, Duncan. But, when Duncan is killed, she makes a shocking discovery which propels her to continue with the story, despite the obvious personal repercussions and the wishes of her fiancé.

What goes on in the powerful Swiss United Bank could draw the two women together, both hoping to protect the reputations of the men they love.

The whole time I was reading this book I kept thinking that it felt like a Mish -Mash between ‘The Pilot’s Wife’ and ‘The Firm’. If you’ll notice, both of those books are classics, which means that apparently, I can’t think of a more recent book to compare this one to. That’s not a good thing. There have been plenty of thrillers published in recent years, some of them solid, but none of them all that memorable, it seems. Maybe this book will give authors and publishers a wake -up call and inspire them to write and publish a higher caliber product.

End of lecture-

This is a very moody, atmospheric thriller which exposes the ease in which money is hidden in offshore banks and the criminal activity it shields in the process. But, don’t just think about tax evasion or money laundering. The crimes in this book are much bigger and terrifying than that. Think mob ties and cartels, Syrian and Russian leaders, and…. American monsters.

Annabelle is a naïve wife, enjoying the luxuries her husband’s new job affords them, but she’s also unhappy about his long hours, how she never sees him for any extended period of time, and his lovely young assistant, Zoe, who often travels with him.

But, after his death, Annabelle learns far more troubling aspects of Matthews job and his possible illegal activity.

While Annabelle feels like the most sympathetic figure, all alone against some very powerful men who may be considering her a liability, Marina is also a very compelling figure as well. She’s tougher, choosing a bolder approach with her enemies, but she’s also blindsided and equally stunned by the information she discovers. She’s the character that I ended up admiring above all others because her choices are conscious ones.

As with any thriller, there are times when we must suspend belief, but they are forgivable in light of such a smart, well- constructed novel. Some may feel the wrap up was a little too tidy, but others will prefer it that way. I was okay with it. It ended on a positive note and I even caught a hint of further adventures featuring a couple of our main characters. I’d be up for that too!

I’m impressed with this one. It is definitely a cut above, very clever, and absolutely chilling!





Cristina Alger is a lifelong New Yorker. A graduate of Harvard College and NYU Law School, she worked as a financial analyst and a corporate attorney before becoming a writer. Her third novel, THE BANKER'S WIFE, will be published in Summer 2018 by Putnam. She lives in New York with her husband and children.


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