Winner of the Shamus and Silver Falchion Awards
Michael Sears’ first novel, the best-seller BLACK FRIDAYS, a thriller with a financial twist, took the Shamus award and was short-listed for the Edgar and three other major awards. MORTAL BONDS, the critically-acclaimed second novel in the Jason Stafford series, won the Silver Falchion at Killer Nashville. Continuing the series, LONG WAY DOWN, was described as “one of the best thrillers of 2015.” SAVING JASON, fourth in the series, is due from Putnam in February, 2016.
Mr. Sears was a Managing Director for two different Wall Street firms, where he worked in the bond market for twenty years and, earlier, in foreign exchange and derivatives. Prior to returning to Columbia University for his MBA, he was, for eight years, a professional actor appearing at the Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, Playwritght’s Theater of Washington, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival,The Comedy Stage Co., and, in the course of a single year, every soap opera shot in New York City.
He is married to the artist and poet, Barbara Segal and is the father of two handsome sons. Born in New York City, he lived for more than twenty years on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and still misses it every day.
About Black Fridays, the first novel in the series:
BLACK FRIDAYS is not an autobiographical novel, but the world of Wall Street is one I know well, having worked there for over twenty years. I was a Managing Director in the bond trading and underwriting divisions of Paine Webber, and later, Jefferies & Co. Like my character, Jason Stafford, I was the first from my class at Columbia Business School to become a Managing Director. Before returning to graduate school, I supported myself in a variety of ways while pursuing a career as a professional actor working with the Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival as well as in films and on television.
The story of BLACK FRIDAYS comes from two sources. The scam described is similar to a conspiracy uncovered by the FBI about ten years ago, code-named Operation Wooden Nickel. I followed the press coverage closely at the time as I knew some of the players involved. The temptations that Jason succumbs to, and that drag down other characters in the book, are well known to me.
The story of Jason and his autistic son is also tangentially personal. I have a cousin with an autistic child, and another with Asperger’s Syndrome — a related malady. Latest figures indicate that 1 in 70 male children are now being diagnosed with conditions on the autism spectrum. It is an epidemic which will soon touch all of us in some way. In the eighteen months I spent researching and writing the book, I developed a great understanding of and empathy for the life of a parent to an autistic child.