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Vance, Lee

Vance, Lee


Son of Lee W. (a vice-president of the New York Stock Exchange) and Mary Elizabeth Vance; married Cynthia Bayard King, September 14, 1986; children: three. Education: Graduate of Stanford University; Harvard Business School, M.B.A.


Home— New York, NY.


Goldman Sachs Group (investment firm), New York, NY, c. 1980- 2000, began as options trader, became general partner.


Restitution(novel), Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 2007.


Lee Vance had a highly successful career in investment banking for two decades, and he used his knowledge of Wall Street when writing his first book,Restitution. The novel revolves around Peter Tyler, a partner in a powerful Wall Street firm. Tyler is caught up in a web of international intrigue after his wife is murdered. Restitution is "a fast, complex thriller," according to a writer for Kirkus Reviews.

Although writing had always been an interest of his, Vance did not feel he had the time or energy to pursue it while busy with another demanding career. He enjoyed his tenure on Wall Street. "When I was new, I got a huge charge from the intense competitiveness of the markets, and the comradeship of the trading desk. It was a lot like being paid to play video games all day, and I got to hang out with a great group of guys," he recalled in an interview with Yet as time went on, his duties with the firm became more managerial in nature, and his hours spent in the office became longer and more inflexible. Vance found himself becoming bored and unhappy about being less able to spend time with his family. "So I looked in the mirror one day and admitted that I wasn't having fun anymore, and I decided to quit," he explained. After retirement, he set out to accomplish several goals, including taking college-level calculus courses, learning to fly a helicopter, and writing a book. When he started work on his novel, he first thought that he could finish it simply by working on it when he felt inspired to do so. After a time, however, he realized that discipline and regular hours were required if he was going to finish his novel. He used a small office belonging to a friend and checked in for several hours of writing every day. "Frankly, I was surprised by how much it took out of me even when I wasn't working," he noted. "The process of filling a blank page is incredibly difficult."

As he had long enjoyed reading the works of John Le Carré, Scott Turow and others in the thriller genre, Vance decided to try to write something along those lines. Restitution gives readers Peter Tyler, a man who seems to have it all—a lovely and talented wife, a successful career, and an extremely comfortable lifestyle. Yet, haunted by demons from his past, Peter is not happy. He drifts away from his wife and is unfaithful to her. When she is murdered and the truth about their deteriorating relationship is uncovered, he becomes the prime suspect in her murder, despised by her family and reviled in the media. Peter sets out to clear his name and find the real killer. The plot involves greed, international espionage, Nazi war crimes, and the possibility of biological warfare involving a mutated strain of tuberculosis. "While the heavily freighted plot continually threatens to go off the rails, the classy writing and the nonstop action keep it on track," advised Marilyn Stasio in the New York Times. She noted that Peter Tyler, who is shown to be self-centered and unsympathetic, "becomes humanized during the Faustian journey he undertakes after losing his wife, his job and his respectability to the sinister forces that have framed him." The heavily laden plot was also noted by a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, who commented that "Vance's ambitious story line hangs together remarkably well, providing depth and surprises." The author's handling of his complex plot was also praised by a contributor to Kirkus Reviews, and that writer also added: "Just as effective is his character study of his protagonist, who evolves, through suffering, from an opportunistic narcissist into something resembling a human."



Esquire, July, 2007, review of Restitution, p. 32.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2007, review of Restitution.

New York Times, September 14, 1986, "Lee Vance Wed to Cynthia King"; July 22, 2007, Marilyn Stasio, review of Restitution.

Publishers Weekly, May 7, 2007, review of Restitution, p. 43.

ONLINE, (November 27, 2007), interview with Lee Vance.

Mystery Books, (November 27, 2007), biographical information about Lee Vance.

Pittsburgh Tribune Online, (July 22, 2007), Regis Behe, review of Restitution.

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