Thursday, 22 January 2015 12:23

I’d like you to meet Justin Lowe. The following is an excerpt from LIONS, my debut thriller.

[from Chapter 1]

 

Justin Lowe gripped the chrome bar running the length of the commuter rail car with an iron ferocity. Today’s news heralding the buyout of his employer, Solomon Wittenberg Asset Management LLC, dripped all over the front page. Justin felt his stomach churn and pinpricks of sweat dot his upper lip as he absorbed the unexpected news like a sucker punch. That he had to read it along with the general public was a slap in the face.

For Solomon, a mutual fund mainstay since its inception in the colonial era, it would surely be the death knell for a firm that had sailed through every major event in the country’s history, from its very founding to the Civil War to Black Monday and on through decades of a confiscatory Congress.

No doubt the sour mood of despair would permeate every-thing at work. Justin had the shortest tenure of anyone on the International Equity team, and though at twenty-six he was the youngest, he had enough experience to know that people would be spooked. Rumors would stomp around unbridled and poop all over the floor.

And on top of all that, there was an extremely loud man on the train, spoiling the morning quiet.

Justin looked up. He studied the man up ahead speaking loudly into his cell phone. Something was called for. Though the breach of peace was bad enough on the tensely packed car, the man was plainly ignoring a very pregnant woman who had gotten on at the last stop. She clutched the seat handle as she stood in the aisle along with perhaps ten others waiting their turn to catch a vacant place. Though there were only four stations left, Justin knew that more seats wouldn’t open up until the stop at Back Bay, twenty minutes away.

He started to make his way to the front, where the offending mouth was. As he approached, he excused himself as he stepped from side to side between bodies. Justin slowed his pace as the click-clacking became less frequent, and reached the man just as the train slowed to pull in at the next station.

“Excuse me, sir?” Through the ambient noise of dozens of pairs of feet shuffling around, the wheels braking and newspapers folding, the man on the phone managed to hear Justin.

The loud talker spun around. “Hang on one second, Martin,” he said into his phone. He lifted his head vaguely at Justin. “What?” he snapped.

“Are you getting off here?” Justin asked.

“No.” The man just as quickly swiveled around, his back to Justin, and continued talking. As the train stopped, Justin plucked the phone out of the man’s hand, like a casino dealer picking one card out of the middle of the deck. He flicked his wrist, sending the phone out the open door and onto the plat-form, skidding amongst hundreds of walking feet.

“You are now.”

The man reddened, but the motion of the train starting prompted him to run out the door in search of his device. Justin turned to the pregnant woman. “Looks like this one is open.”

She smiled. “Thank you.”

Justin Lowe, a brilliant young securities analyst specializing in international finance, is searching for purpose in a soulless world of wealth. Despite his uncanny ability to spot lucrative patterns, he is seduced by the prospect of a new career that isn’t what it appears. Between ocean-hopping adventures looking for treasure in the untamed frontier markets of the developing world, he sees hope for personal salvation in the form of a shimmering Iranian political refugee whose past is as complex as his own.

However, his globe-trotting exploits in search of windfall profits end when he is framed by his manager and an ex-colleague. Desperately trying to avoid prison, he races across the world to uncover the truth about his betrayers. Along the way, he unearths a nuclear-exporting scheme that topples a regime and takes away the one person who has given his life new meaning. In order to honor the woman he loves, Justin must forego his unbridled ambition and sacrifice a financial fortune.

Available at amazon.com, b&n.com and the iTunes bookstore.