The Banker Who Died

Fiction - Drama
452 Pages
Reviewed on 06/17/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Before writing his first novel Matthew A. Carter worked in the private banking industry in Switzerland and the UK. He also spent seven years in Russia and is fluent in Russian. He was born and grew up in San Francisco and studied economics at the University of Southern California. He now lives in Zurich.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Banker Who Died is a work of thriller fiction for adults, penned by author Matthew A. Carter. Graphic, dynamic and filled with the high life and high crime, this stylish tale features bank employee Stanley McKnight as he is upgraded to a prestigious position at Laville & Cie. This exclusive Swiss bank has exclusive clients, and Stanley takes over the Russian clients after a previous employee dies in a car accident. But all is not as it seems, and Stanley finds himself in way over his head dealing with people who have become so rich that they think the law doesn’t really apply to them anymore.

An unusual premise for a thriller novel, the world of Swiss banking, shady finances and dirty dealings makes for an interesting realm in which to set a tale of an everyman who gets in too deep. Stanley is a relatable character with plenty of naïve charm, whose hidden capabilities come through the more you read his tale of being thrown into the deep end. Suspicions around the bank and its clients come to light with some really well-paced plot timing by author Matthew A. Carter, and in true thriller style, the book does keep you wondering right up to the last few pages. I found the various villains and clients at the bank entertaining to encounter, and one of them genuinely terrifying by the novel’s close. Overall, thriller fiction fans are sure to sink their teeth into The Banker Who Died.

Divine Zape

The Banker Who Died by Matthew A. Carter is a gripping thriller with exciting themes and unforgettable characters. Laville & Cie is a classic private Swiss bank specializing in the ultra-rich, one of the top ten Swiss banks in terms of assets. Founded in 1878, it has a long and glorious history, and new clients need a minimum of $20 million to open an account there. Now one of the employees of the bank has died in an accident and a replacement is needed for his position. The choice of someone who meets the strict requirements of secrecy to take care of rich Russian clients falls on Stanley McKnight. But McKnight’s life is about to change in ways he never imagined and his new client, Viktor Gagarin, is more trouble than he imagined possible. Can McKnight maintain the standards of the bank and still uphold his moral values when caught between the law and the unscrupulous Russian billionaire?

This is a well-written and utterly entertaining novel with memorable characters like Stanley McKnight, Lagrange, Viktor Gagarin and a host of others. With an international setting that takes readers across major cities from Russia to Switzerland, Matthew A. Carter crafts a story that is atmospheric and gripping. Readers not only encounter characters who are filthy rich, but also those that are crafty in their dealings. I particularly enjoyed the way Viktor Gagarin is developed and when he is introduced, readers discover someone who has been declared dead by the media. He’d actually faked his own death and that caught my attention. The Banker Who Died is atmospheric and the conflict is so deftly handled that it gets the reader turning avidly from page to page, looking forward to an explosive climax. It was such a delightful read.

Asher Syed

The Banker Who Died by Matthew A. Carter is a financial crime suspense thriller following the story's main character, Stanley McKnight, a private banker for Swiss bank Laville & Cie. While the bank has been handling old money for centuries, a great deal of the cash that flows through it now belongs to the nouveau riche; primarily from relatively youthful Russian titans with fortunes in the billions. Stanley has been promoted to the accounts of these clients, with oligarch Viktor Gagarin becoming a priority. He settles into the lifestyle of the wealthy elite pretty quickly, but a life of excess in a world he doesn't belong to soon begins to unravel. And the car crash that took the life of the guy he replaced? Who knows. The only thing Stanley is absolutely certain of is that he doesn't want to end up as the next banker who dies. “I’m putting a lot of faith in you, my friend. Russian clients are a particular breed, and they need a nonstandard approach. But if you do well here, you have a good future ahead of you.”

Matthew A. Carter has written a completely immersive page-turner with The Banker Who Died. Stanley McKnight is a worthy protagonist, even if he's a bit naive to start, as a hotshot young, ambitious banker who seems to think he can handle anything. The problem is, he's never had a client like Viktor Gagarin, a man with a new wife and enough wealth to have and do whatever he wants, playing fast and loose with the law. This book is seriously the gift that keeps on giving, with witty narrative, perfectly tense scenes, and dialogue that feels comfortable within the text. Carter's writing hits full speed when the tide shifts and Stanley ends up in the cross-hairs, racing to save his professional integrity, freedom, the people he loves, and possibly his own life. There's an element of wealth porn here, and readers who enjoy diving deeply into the lives of the unconscionably rich will love this book just as much as those who enjoy excellent crime thrillers. Lucky for me, I adore both.

Jamie Michele

Account manager August Landmesser has been killed in a freak car accident and needs to be replaced quickly. After proving himself to be both discreet and reliable, the promotion lands in the lap of Stanley McKnight in The Banker Who Died by Matthew A. Carter. Somewhat estranged from his wife Christine and eager for the challenge, the young McKnight flies to Moscow to make contact with his high-value Russian client, Viktor Gagarin. Worth billions, Gagarin is calling all of the fast shots while his well connected, manipulative, and promiscuous wife Mila is pulling strings in the background. McKnight doesn't stand a chance when he's constantly under Mila's spell and high on the life that Gagarin's money buys for him - Teslas and Porsches and parties on yachts with The Magnificent Five (who are the true power behind Gagarin) until the rug is pulled from under him and the only direction to go is crashing down.

The Banker Who Died by Matthew A. Carter starts with a hint of what's to come through the introduction of many characters who, while initially a little difficult to follow, eventually form the fabric of this riveting thriller. The backstory is provided via clever dialogue and narrative, some of it via McKnight's contact Lagrange and a great deal more coming through Gagarin's secretary, Anton Biryuza. The shady under-dealings happen quickly, as does McKnight's descent into the illegal and illicit world of his Russian oligarch billionaire. Despite being (in my opinion) unbelievably complicit by the turning of a blind eye, McKnight is a character you really do root for, particularly when it becomes obvious that there are only two ways out for him.

Romuald Dzemo

In The Banker Who Died, Matthew A. Carter melds his experience in the private banking industry with the unique gift for storytelling and character to create a work that entertains hugely while giving readers insights into how those secretive Swiss banks work. Laville & Cie is a private Swiss bank with a reputation for protecting the secrets of its clients. When one of its employees dies in a car accident, the bank needs someone who can handle their Russian clients, and they are very rich ones too. The job falls to Stanley McKnight. But Stanley is about to live a nightmare working with the billionaire Viktor Gagarin, a ruthless man with a strange sense of humor. And it's not going to be business as usual when the moment comes for the banker to choose between his client and the law when his life is in hanging in the balance.

The Banker Who Died is fast-paced, packed with interesting and intelligently written dialogues and wonderful action. The author takes readers across different cities - Moscow, Zurich, Geneva - and immerses them in the world of banking and the very rich. The narrative features compelling characters: the rich and enigmatic Russian, Viktor Gagarin, and his cohorts, including Shamil, the guy who does the dirty work for him, Biryuza, and the circle of bankers. The conflict grows quickly as the protagonist experiences the stress of working with the Russians. The writing is balanced and focused with scenes that are clearly written. The Banker Who Died is a delightful read, a novel that gives a clear picture of what rich Russian thugs are like. Entertaining in the strictest sense of the term.