Flash Crash by Denison Hatch
In the electrifying technothriller and heist mystery, Flash Crash . . .
David Belov, a quant programmer working for an investment bank in New York, is blackmailed into writing an algorithm that will intentionally crash the gold market.
David discovers that his virtual “Flash Crash” was simply a required stepping stone towards the largest physical gold robbery in history, and that’s he’s been framed for the resulting chaos, the lives of his beloved wife and son on the balance . . .
With Detective Jake Rivett and the NYPD’s finest operators from the Major Crimes Division actively seeking to locate and arrest David, and other, darker elements nipping at his heels, David is forced to confront his own past in order to have a future.
*I received a review copy from the author.
Poor David Belov. He grew up in a rough neighborhood in New York, lost his father at an early age due to suspicious circumstances, and now has to work long hours and weekends to keep his job as a programmer at Montgomery Noyes, an investment bank in Manhattan. But even though he works so hard, he still is only paid a fraction of what his co-workers earn.
Yet somehow David becomes a victim in an elaborate heist. He returns home from work one day to find his wife Marina and diabetic son Mikey have been kidnapped. A cell phone rings and the voice on the other line tells David to crash the gold index 500 basis points the next day, or else his wife and son will die.
David does as he is told, but the nightmare does not end there. Montgomery loses millions of dollars worth of gold after the crash. And somehow, even though David is a victim, he is also the primary suspect.
To help clear his name and get to the truth, David must team up with his childhood friend Vlad Zhadanov, who is also a local gangster.
Flash Crash is incredibly fast paced, and there are plenty of exciting twists, especially in the second half of the story. The characters have a lot of layers, and the reader learns a lot about the backstories of David, Vlad, and Jake Rivett, the detective who is after David.
Though these details turn out to be very important to the story, a lot of the backstory is explained via lengthy flashbacks, which kind of takes you out of the present storyline.
On the other hand, author Denison Hatch does a great job of planting hints as to what’s really happening to David in the beginning of the book and throughout the story.
The protagonist David in particular has a lot of layers and issues that he works on. Because he is so smart, he never felt like he fit into his neighborhood, where most kids end up in gangs. As a kid he used to run with Vlad and shoplift and do other things that got him into trouble, but then decided to stop after the first time he got caught.
Even though he found a way to pay for school, his co-workers don’t really see him as a peer. Yet he and his wife continue to live in his old neighborhood, where he is seen as some sort of yuppie for working at a bank.
David lives between both these worlds, which both drives him to do the right thing in order to be accepted by society and causes him to do some shady things in order to protect and support his family.
Overall, Flash Crash is a fast paced, entertaining read that combines action and adventure with creative code. Readers looking for an exciting thriller will not be disappointed. And hopefully you won’t have to wait too long to see what David is up to next.