The first thing you should know about me is that I served three years in federal prison for various charges stemming from an accounting mistake. I had ample time to correct that mistake, but I chose to compound it. I tried to hide it. I wasn’t stupid so much as arrogant. I was a hotshot Wall Street trader and I ignored the most basic lesson – you’re never bigger than the market.
I guess the next thing you should know is that I don’t ever want to go back to prison. I have a beautiful son who needs me. His life on the autism spectrum isn’t easy – on either of us. But we manage. Most days. No matter what else happens in my life, I have to be there for him.
And I’m lucky. I was lucky as a trader – until I screwed it up quite royally – and I’m lucky to have a second chance. I’m lucky to have a son who everyday teaches me more about the meaning of love. I’m lucky to have found a woman who doesn’t care who I used to be, as long as she can rely upon the man I try to be. I don’t always know who that man is, but I thank her for believing in him. And I thank her for our daughter, who arrived not that long ago, upending all of our lives, and gifting us with the magic of a newborn.
We live on the Upper Westside of Manhattan, a neighborhood that manages to retain some character, despite forty years of gentrification. Every year, it gets harder to find a hardware store or a place to get your shoes resoled, though there’re plenty of shops selling women’s high-end footwear and gourmet everything. I hate the changes, but I can’t imagine living anywhere else. That makes me a New Yorker. We are never content.
Did I mention that I’m lucky? I like my job and that’s a rare thing in this world. Though I am barred by the court from ever working in a position where I might be handling client’s money, and I can’t imagine that anyone on Wall Street would ever trust me to do so, I have carved out a space for myself investigating the kinds of fraud I once perpetrated. It pays well and I’m good at it. But there have been times when I’ve found my life in jeopardy. Some thieves, when caught stealing millions – or billions – prefer to squash the opposition rather than surrender. I haven’t yet been squashed, but I’ve been sat on more than once.
Weekday mornings, I drop the Kid at school, take a run in Central Park, and slide into the office sometime after 9:30. Occasionally I have to show up early for a meeting but I try to limit those impositions on my routine to once or twice a month.
Policing the activities of a Wall Street firm takes a small army. The accountants and legal compliance guys are on the lookout for all the usual instances of white collar crime. They’re capable, if predictable. My approach is very different and most of the producers – traders and salespeople – hate me for it. I look for anomalies. Nobody knocks a home run every time he steps up to the plate. When I see somebody having a streak my skepticism spikes. So when everybody on the trading desk is slapping high-fives and ordering in lunch from Delmonico’s, I show up with questions.
I’ve uncovered an industry-wide conspiracy, recovered billions in hidden fraudulent profits, upset the plans of South American drug lords and Long Island mafia princes, and been in and out of federal witness protection. I’ve been shot at, stabbed, beaten, and chased by mad dogs and madder men. I also outran a buffalo, but I had a good head start.
You can read more about Jason in Saving Jason, the fourth book in the “Jason Stafford” suspense series.
Jason Stafford used to be a hot Wall Street trader, went too far, and paid for it in prison. Now a financial investigator, he’s been asked to look into rumors of a hostile takeover of his firm, but he has no idea it will turn his whole life upside down. Suddenly embroiled in a grand jury investigation of Mob-related activities on Wall Street, and threatened by some very serious men, he is thrust into witness protection with his young autistic son. And then his son disappears. Has he been kidnapped, or worse? With no choice but to act, Stafford has no choice but to come out of hiding and risk everything to save his son, his firm, his pregnant girlfriend—and himself.
# # # # # # # # # # #
Meet the author
Michael Sears is the author of the Jason Stafford series from G.P. Putnam. Black Fridays, the first in this bestselling series won the Shamus Award and was on the short list for every other major crime fiction award, including the Edgar. The first sequel, Mortal Bonds, won a Silver Falchion at Killer Nashville. Long Way Down and Saving Jason continued Jason’s adventures battling bad guys on Wall Street. His books have been included on “Best of “ lists, and reviewed favorably by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and numerous regional newspapers such as the Denver Post, Sacramento Bee, Florida Sentinel, and others. Nationally syndicated Olive Cogdill wrote, “a heartfelt character study of a man trying to rebuild his life.”
After more than twenty years as a Wall Street trader, Mr. Sears took a gamble, and achieved his greatest goal – publishing his first book. He lives on Long Island with the artist-poet Barbara Segal and their impossible cat, Penelope. They have two sons and have recently been blessed with a grandson.
All comments are welcomed.