Author – Stina Hemming
Title – Willful Blindness
Genre – Legal Thriller (Character-led series of complex financial investigations with high stakes)
Length – 80,000
Willful Blindness, the first in Stina Hemming’s legal thriller series, introduces us to Alex Greene, an attractive, Paris-based, forty-something securities lawyer turned insurance investigator who investigates fraud, deceit, and death in the American capital markets. In this first book, Greene investigates a slew of suspicious deaths after a Chicago-based life settlement fund makes claims on the insureds’ life insurance policies. Known as a death fund, the life settlement business involves purchasing life insurance policies for pennies on the dollar and cashing in after the hapless policy-holders die. When Greene takes on the case, the death fund is in the final stages of a billion-dollar IPO, heightening the stakes for the fund and the investigation.
To secure a win for Basel Re, Greene must take on the Russian mafia backers of the fund, a homicidal American lawyer and a Mossad trained assassin in an investigation that spans the globe and puts her life and ethics on the line. Alex quickly learns that the Russians and their lawyers will go to any length -including murder- to close the IPO. The body count is rising and Greene, is required to draw on all her skills, both legal and lethal, to stop the killing spree.
Thanks to Alex’s effort, the fund’s lawyers discover that turning a blind eye to the fraud and murderous intentions of their clients is a deadly strategy. Greene, fiercely intelligent, diabolically independent and relentless in her pursuit of her client’s best interests is a powerful force against corruption, and her aloof demeanor belies her ruthless, tough, and sometimes violent personality.
Based in Paris, with holiday homes in Provence and the Turks & Caicos, Greene supports her extravagant lifestyle by being very good at her job. In between dangerous assignments, Greene spends her time collecting art, shopping in Europe’s exclusive haute couture houses and endlessly renovating her upscale apartment in the fashionable 1st arrondissement of Paris. Except for her live-in housekeeper and non-traditional family, Alex is reclusive, preferring her own company to the company of others and avoiding all but the most transitory of sexual relationships.
Diabolically independent and fiercely intelligent, Alex is a powerful force in her own right and a twenty-first century version of the “Ice Queen” persona. Imagine the fashionable style, aloofness, sexual prowess and physicality of Killing Eve‘s (or Daisy Kowalski from Jett) combined with the quirkiness, rudeness and righteous anger of Vera and the grace, style and smarts of Rene Russo in The Thomas Crowne Affair.
In relentless pursuit of the perpetrators of Wall Street fraud, Alex teams up with a regular cast, including a former member of the French equivalent of the CIA, the DGSE, and a Mossad-trained assassin to solve her cat-and-mouse cases. While her unconventional, and not always legal, investigation, methods may put her in danger. Alexs’ adventures bring to life the risks and rewards of practicing law on Wall Street; her battles highlight the high stakes in the capital markets and the grey area between “legal” and “illegal” that lawyers must operate in.
Summaries of Stina Hemmings second and third books, False Prophets and Easy Money, respectively, are available at www.stinahemming.com. The fourth and fifth books chronicling Alexs’ adventures are in the works.
Stina Hemming is a pseudonym for a Toronto based securities lawyer whose stories feature murder, mayhem, and international intrigue in the treacherous American financial markets by exposing Ponzi schemes, dirty attorneys, organized crime, inept regulators and billion-dollar frauds. Drawing from decades of experience forged during the major stock crises of our generation, Hemming’s stories reflect the corruption in the capital markets and the complicity of lawyers in the fraudulent activities of their clients.