Mystery Scene reviews Eat What You Kill

I love this incredibly well-written review by respected critic Hank Wagner in Mystery Scene Magazine:

After experiencing firsthand the negative effects of an “act of God” on the stock of a company he was touting (when that firm’s charismatic leader dies suddenly of a heart attack), high-strung Wall Street analyst Evan Stoess is a little more proactive the next time he is close to a big score, murdering a famous but flighty game designer after shorting the stock of the designer’s company. The obscene amounts of money he reaps as a result leads him to conclude that he has found the perfect business model. Unfortunately for him, however, shadowy characters wish to direct his actions to suit their own purposes.

Utilizing a thoroughly repugnant protagonist is a great risk, but first-time novelist Ted Scofield makes it pay off handsomely. Although loathsome, Stoess and his fragile psyche are fascinating, as his obsession with wealth and his uncanny talent for planning murders leads him into continuously deeper, darker moral waters. That Scofield does so with a generous amount of black humor (reminiscent of Donald E. Westlake’s bravura performance in 1997’s The Ax) makes Eat What You Kill an even better read, one you’ll be pushing on friends throughout the course of 2014. — Hank Wagner

Why do I love this review?  Mssr. Wagner understands that EAT WHAT YOU KILL is more than just a “financial thriller.”  It is a morality tale.

The protagonist, deeply troubled Evan Stoess, is indeed obsessed with wealth and willing to do anything to get it. He believes he’ll be happier with money, that he’ll finally fit in, that after a lifetime of envy and deprivation, he will finally belong.  All he needs is money, and a lot of it.  It’s not greed, of course.  It’s ambition.  It’s talent.  It’s accomplishment.   How do we measure progress, how do we measure success, if not by money?

Greed is good,” Gordon Gekko whispered in our ear.  And we gasped.  We scoffed.  We told ourselves “I don’t believe that.”  The enlightened among us blamed Ronald Reagan while sipping a five dollar caffè latte purchased through the tinted window of a Mercedes.

Twenty-seven years later, nothing has changed.

Mystery Scene Review

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