The Conciliators
by James J. Kaufman
Downstream Publishing

"Disley gave Spagnello the stupid grin the attorney had come to expect whenever a client was about to try and play him."

Preston Wilson lives with his wife and son in a big apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower. His favorite meal is lobster tails in white wine sauce with a side of asparagus tips. He owns multiple dealerships around the country specializing in luxury automobiles such as Bentley, Rolls Royce, Porsche, Audi, and more. How tough could his life possibly be? Well, he’s about to find out.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” Author Kaufman’s novel however, tries hard to counter that sentiment. His narrative is intent upon making the point that when it comes to things like trauma, adversity, worry, and fear, the rich are actually quite similar to everyone else. Perhaps he has a point. How would you feel if dinner at home with your wife was rudely interrupted by two intimidating FBI agents?

Kaufman’s story shifts into high gear quickly. It seems that his protagonist’s old friend and employee has run afoul of the feds by apparently engaging in a an illegal scheme to enrich himself and others. The government is wondering if Wilson is involved, and they’re seriously considering naming him as an unindicted co-conspirator. To add to his woes, Wilson’s daughter, an investigative journalist, is writing a story that might implicate him even further. At stake is the man’s reputation and maybe even the business that he’s worked his entire life to build.

Multiple characters, making up various levels of the socioeconomic strata, inhabit the author’s pages. There are wealthy businessmen, crusading reporters, honest civil servants, widows who have been taken advantage of, even Russian gangsters as the plot morphs from simple fraud to international criminal activity, attempted kidnapping and more. Kaufman’s tale moves briskly through financial intrigue, moral conundrums, new age crimes and old-fashioned suspense. It’s a literary stew both tasty and engaging.

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