Published in hardback March 2000 & in paperback August 2000.
THE IDEA :
The Dealer is my second thriller and was inspired by the people and events that I encountered in my time working for an international banking group in the City of London. I have tried to make the novel work on many different levels.
Firstly, it's about an elite group of people who earn a lucrative living from the City (some in a rather unusual fashion as you will find out), but who find their lives dramatically and adversely affected by the sudden death of a company Director in a dark basement. The main characters have a wide range of personal motivations, fears and aspirations and at least two are leading double lives of sorts. Many of the scenes written from one characters viewpoint are interspersed with other scenes from another's viewpoint that I think presents the reader with a more varied insight to the characters. Ultimately The Dealer is about justice of sorts for the main players but you must read the press cuttings in the last chapter to see the full circle!
Secondly, like Square Mile, I wanted to impart to everyone some inside knowledge about how the City works, but to do it in a very user-friendly way. So many of us now own shares in BT or Halifax or day trade on-line with Schwab, that's its no harm knowing how the mega-deals are struck, take-overs are covertly planned, millions of bucks are made and fortunes or careers are lost in a single dealing day.
Thirdly, I wanted to have a wider geographical canvas to the book, so there are major scenes set overseas, particularly in the USA where I worked for extended periods. I have always enjoyed travel and there's no reason why a novel has to be confined to a single city. It's not a Berlitz guide or the BBC Holiday Show, and it never will be, but it's the next best thing?
Lastly, I tired to create a breakneck pace in the novel because I guess that most thriller readers (including myself) can't bear to delve into meandering books.
DUST JACKET :
When the multi-billion-pound takeover of Provident Bank is sensationally announced at a West End press conference, life will never be the same for many influential players in the City of London.
A star equities dealer has just bought a million soaring Provident shares Ė and others wonder how he does it. A London Stock Exchange investigator begins his work. A leading research analyst speaks her mind to the media. A finance director celebrates with a visit to a discreet Docklands townhouse. A lucrative yet bizarre lifestyle is suddenly in jeopardy.
A Detective Inspector finds a bloated body in the mud of the River Thames and, unaware of the ultimate consequences, explores a complex web of inter-connected lives in his search for a ruthless killer.
THE CHARACTERS :
Mark Robinson works as a Junior Investigator in the Enforcement Department of the London Stock Exchange, that prudential body charged with maintaining the high standards of one of the worlds leading stock exchanges. The job advertisement in the Financial Times that he answered three years ago promised an opportunity to see the market abuses within the City from the inside. His career in the musty offices on Old Broad Street EC2 is not living up to the promises. His fading civil servant boss Clive Norris is counting the days to his own retirement. Mark is growing frustrated, more so as the psychologically damaging threshold of his thirtieth birthday approaches. His thoughts turn to pursuing a lucrative compliance job in a flashy investment bank in the City; to be a gamekeeper turned poacher. He will surely move unless Norris assigns him a high-profile investigation that has real potential to deliver a career move. Until then Mark diligently examines the job advertisements in each Thursdaysí FT.
Greg M Schneider is a 33 year old New Yorker from Long Island, now working in the City of London. He crossed the Atlantic on an ex-pat package with a big American investment bank in the late eighties boom, had a few great years but was eased out in a corporate reorganisation. Greg stayed in the UK and now works at Blake Brothers & Co., a second-tier old-world British merchant bank run by sleepy ex-Army and landed gentry types. Greg is Head of the Special Situations desk, managing three colourful staff. He deals in short term speculative stocks, possible take-over candidates, and corporate recovery stocks; all high risk but potentially extremely profitable. Last year his desk made a quarter of Blakes entire profits but the aged Directors barely understand what he does. Greg hates the parochial environment in Blakes and wants to get out before he loses his sanity. He needs a tempting telephone call from a headhunter. The best way to get noticed in the City is to make as much dealing profit as possible. Now Glenn has placed his bets on something positive happening in the Provident Bank plc and Sportsworld plc share prices.
Sarah Hart operates a successful solo business from her discrete home on the Isle of Dogs, deliberately and conveniently located to the City of London. Her townhouse neighbours are unaware that she earns a living satisfying the sometimes bizarre needs of influential gentlemen clients; City bankers, corporate lawyers, Big 6 accountancy partners, listed company Chief Executives, a token Tory MP, a couple of Lords and a High Court judge. Itís a lucrative existence, always illegal, sometimes sordid, rarely uneventful, and frequently informative. Itís an improvement of sorts on an abusive childhood in a Newcastle council estate followed by a short and unsuccessful career as a model fending off unwelcome advances. At 35 she has almost given up on the husband and two children lifestyle. Sarah canít work like this forever. She needs to earn, and save, as much as she can while her luck continues. Anyway she can.
Penelope Swales also works for Blake Brothers and is based in St Helier, Jersey. She is a Private Client executive, meeting the investment needs of a select group of tax-averse high-net worth UK & expatriate clients from all over the world. She enjoys wining and dining, visiting clients, using her charms as a well-groomed 27 year old as she generates more sales commission income to finance her rapidly improving lifestyle. She never turns away new clients, and was happy to open a share dealing account for a Sarah Hart from the Isle of Dogs. And such a profitable private account too, as time would tell.
Alexander Soames has risen from office clerk to become Finance Director of Provident Bank plc and is about to come into a serious amount of money. His watertight Directors contract guarantees that he will receive a million pounds plus in compensation when Provident is bought by British Commercial Bank plc. The good life is about to begin for the Soames family. Alexander feels the need to celebrate but without the presence of his wife Helen. Alexander abruptly ceases to be a client of Sarah Harts on the eve of the public announcement of the multi-billion pound agreed takeover of Provident.
Detective Inspector Ted Hammond enjoys a civilised life in Harrow Road Metropolitan Police Station solving petty crime, until the day that Alexanderís missing Volvo estate is found abandoned in Stratford, East London. Ted delivers the worrying news to Helen Soames and the twins in their period white stucco home. Days later Alexanderís body surfaces in the Thames near Tilbury. Ted begins the baffling investigation into what two consenting adults did late one night in a townhouse on the Isle of Dogs, but he is unaware of the consequences on life in the City of London.
PROLOGUE : (Copyright 2000)
FROM THE LONDON EVENING STANDARD :
MORE THAN SEVEN BILLION POUNDS was added to share values in the City today as dealers celebrated Londonís FTSE-100 hitting another all-time high. Cheers went up in dealing rooms as the Footsie closed up 71 points on the day, or almost one per cent. The strong bullish sentiment is attributed to a combination of excellent company results and hopes of further mega-takeovers to follow before the end of the year.
SHARES IN PROVIDENT BANK rose a further forty-five pence following the agreed six billion-pound take-over by British Commercial Bank. Barbara Ashby, head of UK equity research at investment bank Blake Brothers & Co. said that the price rise indicated investors thought another bidder, possibly a giant European bank, might top the current offer on the table.
POLICE HAVE CONFIRMED the body found in the River Thames near Greenwich is that of a missing bank executive. Alexander Soames, 49, was Finance Director of Provident Bank. He was last seen alive six days ago at a secret company board meeting in the Dorchester Hotel where the terms of last weeks takeover deal were finalised. D-S Edward Hammond from the Metropolitan Police said the circumstances of Soamesí death are suspicious and are currently under investigation.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY :
'Kilduff obviously knows his territory well, writes authoritively about it, and spins a compelling tale ... this will prove to be riveting stuff.' - Irish Times
'This is an incredibly pacey novel full of enough sex, violence and suspense to keep you up for an extra half an hour every night ... you don't have to know your futures from your FTSE to enjoy this gripping tale.' - Doncaster Press
'Kilduff delivers an effective, punchy read on a par with the work of the old pros of the financial thriller genre. With plot lines in Square Mile and his latest, The Dealer, encompassing murder, blackmail, secret offshore accounts, hostile takeovers and a liberal sprinkling of pinstriped sexual peccadilloes, Kilduff joins a select fraternity who bring a bang to the bottom line.' - Irish Independent
'On the evidence of this, his second pacey thriller, Kilduff could soon be in a position to give Grisham a run for his money.' - Dublin Evening Herald
'Plenty of insight into the murkier side of the financial world, a sprinkling of corruption, a soupcon of intrigue, not to mention a smattering of sex.' - Publishing News
'Here are some of the best titles out recently, books that deserve to be on board this summer - The Dealer by Paul Kilduff - set in the world of high-risk finance.' - Summer Reading Supplement, Irish Times
'Set in the very cut-throat world of high finance, in the heart of the City, Paul Kilduff's second novel is a taut thriller that's as full of tension as watching the prices plunge on Black Friday. Rich in thrills and intrigue, 'The Dealer' is a dazzling look at life (and death) in the fast lane. Invest now.- Waterstone's Online
'The Dealer is a cleverly crafted and gripping financial thriller' - Belfast Telegraph
'An original mix of financial wheeler-dealing and murder mystery.' - Manchester Evening news
'In a similar vein to Square Mile, The Dealer is better paced with more well drawn characters. This one shows the further maturing of Kilduff's talent.' The Irish Examiner
'Dodgy City dealings can be murder as this excellent racy thriller pays off big time.' - Peterborough Evening Telegraph
'A well crafted and atmospheric thriller of corruption and conspiracy ... Kilduff knows what he is taking about.' - Sunderland Echo