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Thursday 14 December 2017

‘Trading Down’ by Stephen Norman

Published by Endeavour Press Ltd,
9 November 2017.
 978-1549968136 (PB)

The author spent many years working in a global investment bank and this, his debut novel, features a fast-moving chase for a cunning cyber terrorist bent, for personal reasons, on crippling the bank’s infrastructure and bringing it to its knees in a gross act of sabotage.

The protagonist Chris Peters, a very senior IT professional is responsible for the bank’s entire network and in a race against time must prevent the system from catastrophic meltdown from which the bank could never recover.   He’s on the trail of the perpetrator, who he’s certain is an insider, after some nail biting incidents in the US and Hong Kong that he dismisses as freak occurrences, portend that there’s worse on the horizon.  Chris himself comes under suspicion; trust between top key colleagues wears thin threatening to undermine the day-to-day business of the bank.

The action switches between Sana’a in 2007, where a member of a local family goes missing and a huge ransom is demanded, and London in 2012 with the two strands entwining at the end of the story.

The book is thoroughly researched, the plot well-crafted and suspenseful and the illustration of the inner workings of the bank gripping.  Characters, especially the men, are entirely credible as is the account of the souring relationship between the protagonist and his wife caused by his consuming obsession to nail the baddie behind it all.  Dialogue is the author’s strong point and flows well. All in all, the novel is a promising start to a writing career.
Reviewer: Serena Fairfax

Stephen Norman spent 20 years at the forefront of Investment banking IT. He has worked in financial centres across the world – London, Hong Kong, New Yorkand Tokyo. In 2012 he left the world of finance to focus on writing. Trading Down is his first novel.

Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and practised in London for many years. She began writing by contributing feature articles to legal periodicals   then turned her hand to fiction. Having published nine novels all, bar one, hardwired with a romantic theme, she has also written short stories and accounts of her explorations off the beaten track that feature on her blog. A tenth, distinctly unromantic, novel is a work in progress. Thrillers, crime and mystery narratives, collecting old masks and singing are a few of her favourite things.

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