John "Jett" Gavallan, a former fighter pilot and now the high-flying CEO of investment firm Black Jet Securities, is about to take Mercury Broadband, Russia's leading media company, public on the New York Stock Exchange. But rumours of fraud have suddenly surfaced about the company that could jeopardise the deal. And when his number-two man - ...Read MoreJohn "Jett" Gavallan, a former fighter pilot and now the high-flying CEO of investment firm Black Jet Securities, is about to take Mercury Broadband, Russia's leading media company, public on the New York Stock Exchange. But rumours of fraud have suddenly surfaced about the company that could jeopardise the deal. And when his number-two man - fellow Desert Storm fighter pilot Grafton Byrnes - disappears in Moscow, Gavallan fears the worst. Plunging into a desperate search for his best friend, the renegade top gun finds himself trapped in a conspiracy that could shatter the delicate balance between nations and plunge the global economy into chaos. Hunted by the F.B.I. and a band of elite killers, Jett races from Palm Beach to Zurich to Moscow in his search for answers. But for this brave ex-commando haunted by visions of war, the truth comes at a terrible price. The First Billion is a knockout of a novel that will linger long after the final, shicking twist is revealed.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-07-08 Reich continues to struggle, trying to recapture his early success. After a rather intriguing setup, this third novel gradually evolves into something more like an unintentional parody than a real thriller. Following the altogether lackluster Allan Folsom-esque Nazi war crimes plot of The Runner, the Swiss banker-turned-thriller writer returns to the more familiar arena of international finance, which provided the intriguing backdrop of his 1998 bestselling debut, Numbered Account. But action and pacing are made to substitute for the authenticity and credibility that distinguished his promising first novel. Borrowing to the hilt in a go-for-broke move, Jett Gavallan, ex-Gulf War fighter pilot turned founding CEO of Frisco-based Black Jet Securities an up-and-coming investment banking firm puts all his chips on the line for the chance to take public Mercury Broadband (Russia's answer to AOL) with shares worth $2 billion. The pot of gold at the end of his rainbow is a cool $70 million, but all is not blue skies. An enigmatic online financial analyst, Private Eye-PO, starts warning investors that the deal is bad, leading Jett to send partner Grafton Byrnes undercover to Moscow to verify the legitimacy of Mercury Broadband. Graf calls in with a coded warning that all is not well, Jett's investigator locates the real Private Eye-PO in Delray Beach, Fla., and bodies begin piling up. Credibility wanes and action spins out of control as Jett and an old flame embark on an intercontinental plane and car chase. Comic-book dialogue ("Kind of you, Mr. Gavallan. It's not often a disloyal, disgraceful slut gets any TLC") makes this thriller read like an old Saturday Night Live skit, which may give it kitsch appeal but undermines its dramatic effect. Major ad/promo. (Aug. 20) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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