Financial thriller

Financial thriller is a subgenre of thriller fiction in which the financial system and economy play a major role. The novel The Financier (1912) by Theodore Dreiser displays elements of a financial thriller. Paul Erdman helped popularize the modern financial thriller, with The Billion Dollar Sure Thing (1973). The former president of a Swiss bank, he penned the novel while in jail awaiting trial on fraud charges related to speculating in the cocoa market.

In many cases the protagonist of a financial thriller is a financial professional such as Christian Slater’s character in the 2005 film The Deal, or John Kent in Martin Bodenham's[1] 2011 novel, The Geneva Connection. Often, the plot centers on a financial crime. It may be a crime that merely enriches a small number of individuals as with The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer, or one that threatens the entire financial system, as in Tom Clancy’s Debt of Honor. In "Flash Crash," by Denison Hatch the financial crime involves an algorithmic programmer ("quant") who is blackmailed into writing a program that will crash the international gold markets.

Financial thrillers are often used as morality plays to illustrate the evils of greed, as in Black Money (1995), by Michael M. Thomas.[2][3]

In the wake of the late-2000s financial crisis, some financial thrillers took on educational roles. The 2011 HBO TV-movie Too Big to Fail is, in the words of Jesse Eisinger, "extraordinarily revealing about the financial crisis"[4] but not always in a helpful way.[5] For example, Eisinger says, "The government gave the banks money but didn't get voting rights and didn't prevent the banks from using the money to pay dividends or bonuses. They wrote what was essentially a blank check...It's left to the hapless PR wonder why, if the government is saving these institutions, it couldn't impose any limits on how the money be used." Another film in this genre is J. C. Chandor's Margin Call.

The novel The Economics of Ego Surplus: A Novel About the Global Economy (2010) by Paul McDonnold (originally subtitled "A Novel of Economic Terrorism") involves Kyle Linwood, a teacher, graduate student going for his doctorate in economics, and former victim of Libyan terrorist kidnappers, whose knowledge of Africa and economics become important when the U.S. stock market begins crashing due to massive and inexplicable sales. According to the Book Dilettante,[6][7] "The author explains supply and demand, recession and inflation, the history of economics and Adam Smith, Keynes['] economic theory, the theory of contemporary neoclassical economists, and does so in a way that even high school students would understand[.]"


  1. ^ "Financial Thrillers - Martin Bodenham".
  2. ^ "Books of The Times; A Financial Thriller With a Message". The New York Times. 27 June 1994.
  3. ^ Lehman-Haupt, Christopher. Books of the Times: A Financial Thriller With a Message. New York Times. 6/27/1994.
  4. ^ Eisinger, Jesse (25 May 2011). "In HBO's 'Too Big to Fail,' the Heroes Are Really Zeroes".
  5. ^ Eisinger, Jesse. In HBO’s ‘Too Big to Fail,’ the Heroes Are Really Zeroes. ProPublica, May 25, 2011.
  6. ^ "Book Bird Dog".
  7. ^ Book Dilettante. Book Review: The Economics of Ego Surplus, a Novel of Economic Terrorism by Paul McDonnold., OCT 29, 2011.
Chameleon (novel)

Chameleon is a financial thriller novel written by hedge fund manager Richard Hains set during the subprime mortgage crisis, first published by Beaufort Books in 2006.

Clem Chambers

Clement Hadrian Chambers is a British entrepreneur, author, journalist and blogger known as co-founder and boss of ADVFN (LSE:AFN),, which spurred a career as a financial commentator. He is also CEO of Online Blockchain plc.

Dominic Cooper

Dominic Edward Cooper (born 2 June 1978) is an English actor. He has worked in television, film, theatre, and radio, including Mamma Mia! and its sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. He stars as Jesse Custer on the AMC show Preacher (2016–present). Cooper has also appeared as the young Howard Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Captain America: The First Avenger and Agent Carter.

Equity (film)

Equity is a 2016 American financial thriller film directed by Meera Menon, written by Amy Fox and starring Anna Gunn, James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas, and Alysia Reiner.

The film premiered In Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2016. Shortly before its premiere, it was acquired for theatrical distribution by Sony Pictures Classics and was released in the United States on July 29, 2016 to positive critical reviews.

Harry Markopolos

Harry M. Markopolos (born October 22, 1956) is an American former securities industry executive and an independent forensic accounting and financial fraud investigator. He discovered evidence over nine years suggesting that Bernard Madoff's wealth management business, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, was actually a massive Ponzi scheme. In 2000, 2001, and 2005, Markopolos alerted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the fraud, supplying supporting documents, but each time, the SEC ignored him or only gave his evidence a cursory investigation.Madoff was finally uncovered as a fraud in December 2008, when his sons contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After admitting to operating the largest private Ponzi scheme in history, Madoff was sentenced in 2009 to 150 years in prison.In 2010, Markopolos' book on uncovering the Madoff fraud, No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller, was published. It also included an introduction written by a member of his legal team, Gaytri D. Kachroo, with input from his colleagues in the ongoing effort to bring an end to the scheme, Frank Casey, Neil Chelo and Michael Ocrant.Markopolos has criticized the SEC for both failing to discover the Madoff fraud despite repeated tips, and for failing to investigate properly the larger companies it supervised. He described the private moments he had with victims of the Madoff fraud as: "Heartfelt, gut-wrenching things. People trying to commit suicide or losing loved ones who've died of heartbreak."


McSweeney's Publishing is an American for-profit publishing house founded by editor Dave Eggers in 1998, headquartered in San Francisco. McSweeney's initially published only the literary journal Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, but has grown to publish novels, books of poetry, and other periodicals.

The recipient of dozens of awards for its contributions to literature and publishing, Fast Company named McSweeney's the country's seventh most innovative media company in 2012, "for proving the value of print publishing."

Michael M. Thomas

Michael Mackenzie Thomas (born 18 April 1936) is a bestselling author of nine novels and a former partner at Lehman Brothers. Best known for his financial thrillers, he published his first novel Green Monday in 1980. He has also published articles in Observer, The New York Review of Books and The Wall Street Journal.

Michael Pocalyko

Michael Nicholas Pocalyko (Ukrainian: Михайло Микола Поцілуйко) (born December 24, 1954) is an American businessman and writer.

He is the managing director and chief executive officer of Monticello Capital, a boutique investment bank in Chantilly, Virginia. In business he specializes in corporate directorship and in high technology and green enterprises. He is a Sarbanes-Oxley public company audit committee financial expert and corporate board audit committee chairman. He is also known as a moderate Republican politician and public official.His novel The Navigator, a literary financial thriller, was published in 2013 by Forge Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.

No One Would Listen

No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller is a book by whistleblower Harry Markopolos about his investigation into the Madoff investment scandal and how the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission failed to react to his warnings. The book was released on March 2, 2010 by John Wiley & Sons.Markopolos was a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on March 8, 2010.

Paul Erdman

Paul Emil Erdman (May 19, 1932 - April 23, 2007 in Sonoma County, California) was an American economist and banker who became known for writing novels based on monetary trends and international finance.

Penn Badgley

Penn Dayton Badgley (born November 1, 1986) is an American actor and musician. He is best known for his role as Dan Humphrey on The CW's series Gossip Girl (2007–12) and as Joe Goldberg in the Netflix thriller series You (2018–present).

Badgley has also starred in a number of films, including John Tucker Must Die (2006), The Stepfather (2009), Easy A (2010), Margin Call (2011), and Greetings from Tim Buckley (2012). He is also the lead singer for Brooklyn-based indie band MOTHXR. Their studio album Centerfold was released in 2016.

Phillip Y. Kim

Phillip Y. Kim (born 1961) is a Korean-American author of fiction and short stories. His first novel, an Asian financial thriller titled Nothing Gained, was published by Penguin Books in Australia and Asia in 2013. Phillip is the Business and Finance Director of the Asia Literary Review.

Ponzi scheme

A Ponzi scheme (, Italian: [ˈpontsi]; also a Ponzi game) is a form of fraud that lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors with funds from more recent investors. The scheme leads victims to believe that profits are coming from product sales or other means, and they remain unaware that other investors are the source of funds. A Ponzi scheme can maintain the illusion of a sustainable business as long as new investors contribute new funds, and as long as most of the investors do not demand full repayment and still believe in the non-existent assets they are purported to own.

The scheme is named after Charles Ponzi, who became notorious for using the technique in the 1920s.The idea had already been carried out by Sarah Howe in Boston in the 1880s through the "Ladies' Deposit". Howe offered a solely female clientele an eight-percent monthly interest rate, and then stole the money that the women had invested. She was eventually discovered and served three years in prison. The Ponzi scheme was also previously described in novels; Charles Dickens' 1844 novel Martin Chuzzlewit and his 1857 novel Little Dorrit both feature such a scheme. Ponzi carried out this scheme and became well known throughout the United States because of the huge amount of money that he took in. His original scheme was based on the legitimate arbitrage of international reply coupons for postage stamps, but he soon began diverting new investors' money to make payments to earlier investors and to himself.

Randy Charles Epping

Randy Charles Epping is an American author based in Switzerland, perhaps best known for his A Beginner's Guide to the World Economy, which has been translated into 14 languages, and the follow-up The 21st Century Economy-A Beginnger's Guide published by Vintage Books. He is also the author of a financial thriller, Trust, under the name Charles Epping, the first novel published by Greenleaf Book Group Press.

Sunday Business

Sunday Business was a national Sunday broadsheet financial newspaper published in the United Kingdom, which ran from 1996 to 2006, when it was turned into a magazine called The Business.


$upercapitalist (also advertised as Supercapitalist) is a Hong Kong-based financial thriller. The film's official release was on August 10, 2012 (2012-08-10) via the day-and-date film distribution model, thereby being available simultaneously in movie theaters and on cable and Internet video on demand. It premiered at the Asian American International Film Festival.

The Navigator (Pocalyko novel)

The Navigator is a literary financial thriller novel written by Michael Pocalyko and published by Forge Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers. It tells the story of "the world's first trillion dollar deal" against a backdrop of Wall Street dealmaking, Washington political intrigue, the relationship of two brothers, and international espionage. The novel's tagline is "Wall Street Comes to Washington."

The Trading Floor

The Trading Floor is a 2018 Hong Kong financial thriller television miniseries produced by Andy Lau and directed by Wong Kwok-keung. The series stars Francis Ng, Joseph Chang and Yu Nan, with special appearances by Patrick Tam and Maggie Cheung, while the recurring cast includes Liu Kai-chi, Carlos Chan, Poon Chan-leung, Jacky Cai and Jiang A-Joe. Co-produced by Fox Networks Group, Tencent Penguin Pictures and Lau's Focus Television Production, The Trading Floor premiered on 24 May 2018 on Star Chinese Movies, as well as being available for streaming for subscribers on Fox +, with every episode airing each Thursday.

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