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Reich, Christopher 1961-

Reich, Christopher 1961-

PERSONAL:

Born November 12, 1961, in Tokyo, Japan; son of Willie Wolfgang and Mildred Reich; married Susanne Wohlwend, July, 1994; children: Noelle. Education: Georgetown University, B.S.F.S; University of Texas at Austin, M.B.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Austin, TX.

CAREER:

Writer and novelist. Union Bank of Switzerland, Geneva and Zurich, portfolio manager, then Mergers and Acquisitions staff member, until 1991; Giorgio Beverly Hills Timepieces, Neuchatel, Switzerland, chief executive officer, 1992-95; writer, 1995—.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

Numbered Account, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1998.

The Runner, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2000.

The First Billion, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2002.

The Devil's Banker, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003.

The Patriot's Club, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Christopher Reich, who was born in Tokyo, Japan, and raised in Los Angeles, worked in banking before he committed himself to a writing career. Working for Union Bank of Switzerland, Reich started as a portfolio manager in Zurich and worked his way up the ladder to the bank's department of mergers and acquisitions in Geneva before leaving the business in 1991.

Reich's experience in high-level, sophisticated banking provided him with the background for his debut novel, Numbered Account. In this thriller Nick Neumann, a twenty-eight-year-old ex-Marine, leaves his beautiful fiancé and a budding career at Morgan Stanley on Wall Street in favor of a job at the United Swiss Bank in Zurich, Switzerland. The job gives Nick a chance to solve the mysterious murder of his father, Alexander Neumann. The murder of Nick's father occurred seventeen years before in Los Angeles, while Alexander was working for the United Swiss Bank.

Tracking down his father's killer proves complicated for Nick. Things begin to unravel when the managers of a large, numbered bank account in the name of one "the Pasha" begin to leave the company: one experiences a nervous breakdown, one defects to a rival company, and another suffers an untimely death. Eventually the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency visits Nick to discuss the account, and Nick finds himself sucked into a swirl of Middle East terrorism, nuclear weapons, and narcotics trafficking.

Reich uses the secretive, cut-throat world of Swiss banking to create what Denver Post contributor Howard M. Kaplan called "a taut, interesting story." According to Kaplan, Numbered Account is "presented tautly, intricately and intensely with intelligence, chilling detail, suspense and intrigue."

In his third novel, The First Billion, Reich tells the story of John "Jett" Gallavan, a broker who seeks to reestablish his firm after the technology crash has nearly destroyed it. A former fighter pilot, Jett soon finds himself in the former Soviet bloc looking to find out what happened to his partner who disappeared after going there to investigate a promising company for investment. Jett soon runs afoul of gangsters and the FBI. Mary Frances Wilkens, writing in Booklist, commented: "If you want high-concept espionage, it doesn't get much better than this." A Publishers Weekly contributor noted the novel's "rather intriguing setup." Jeff Ayers, writing in the Library Journal, wrote that the novel "has its compelling moments."

Reich's next novel, The Devil's Banker, features forensic accountant Adam Chapel and his partner Sarah Churchill as they investigate a bombing in Paris that killed four government agents and a militant who was known to be carrying 500,000 dollars for a jihadist group. Alynda Wheat, writing in Entertainment Weekly, called The Devil's Banker a "smart, fast-paced read." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "Reich has a lot of fascinating financial lore to pass along" and also noted the novel's "fast-paced plotting and relentless action." Ronnie H. Terpening commented in the Library Journal: "Reich's forte, describing the world of high finance, is amply demonstrated in this … international thriller."

Former tough guy Thomas Bolden, once known as "Tommy B," has come a long way as a Wall Street businessman in Reich's novel The Patriot's Club. When Bolden is kidnapped, he ends up being released after his kidnappers discover that he has no knowledge about certain information that they are seeking, although Bolden still has no idea what they wanted. Before long, despite his freedom, Bolden is being hunted down and has to turn to his roots on the mean streets to survive as he uncovers a diabolical secret that goes back two centuries and is leading him to a political scandal. Booklist contributor Mary Frances Wilkens called the novel "a first-rate, high-concept thriller that will leave readers breathless and cheering for Bolden to pull through." A Kirkus Reviews contributor referred to the novel as "one part North by Northwest, one part The Da Vinci Code and one part American Treasure."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 2002, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of The First Billion, p. 1798; June 1, 2005, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of The Patriot's Club, p. 1713.

Denver Post, March 8, 1998, Howard M. Kaplan, review of Numbered Account.

Entertainment Weekly, August 22, 2003, Alynda Wheat, review of The Devil's Banker, p. 135.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2005, review of The Patriot's Club, p. 662.

Library Journal, August, 2002, Jeff Ayers, review of The First Billion, p. 145; August, 2003, Ronnie H. Terpening, review of The Devil's Banker, p. 135.

Publishers Weekly, July 8, 2002, review of The First Billion, p. 30; July 28, 2003, review of The Devil's Banker, p. 79; June 13, 2005, review of The Patriot's Club, p. 32.

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