This is a story about three smart, successful people who were once fast friends in college and have now been thrust together again in an unlikely, multi-layered investigation with far-reaching international implications and billions of dollars at stake. One is a forensic accountant for the SEC, one beta tests hardware and software for the US Department of Defense and the UK Ministry of Defense, and the third is a wildly successful entrepreneur, software developer and venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.
They get caught up in the hunt for a corrupt Swiss banker intent on finally unloading the last of the gold stolen by his father in World War II; a violent, narcissist leader of a Mexican drug cartel making his move to take over as the head of all cartels in Central America; and the daughter of a murdered Bulgarian arms dealer making the deal that will give her mother financial stability and get them both out of the increasingly unstable arms business.
The plot unfolds as financial crimes committed by insiders put common criminal activities to shame in a world where technology has increasingly insinuated itself into our lives to good and bad effects.
Wow. Broken Trust (which I have to say is quite the clever title) is quite the breath holding, suspenseful read!
Our main gal Fitz runs into a secret that involves both family and work and she is stuck in the middle.
While trying to figure out the secret (because she’s not in on the secret either) she has to figure out whether to continue on with the work or stick by her family.
All the while, someone is on the hunt to kill her, but you as the reader really aren’t sure why (and honestly, Fitz doesn’t either.)
Fitz ends up teaming up with her ex-husband who brings along a much bigger secret from their past which later leads to an even bigger secret between the two.
And not to forget our third main character – Jamie. Fitz and Chas’ best friend from college who is this super intelligent, tech wiz.
All three of the characters end up on the run trying to evade these killers that seem to just pop up out of the blue when you least expect them.
Broken Trust is fast paced, high tech, craziness that has you piecing together a much larger puzzle than you realize when you first start the story.
I loved every level of this book.
The suspense of what was going to happen – being on the run with the main characters. The secrets and trying to piece everything together before the book reveals it (which is always a thrill for me).
Not to mention the other characters that make the book who are just as dark and secretive with their own secrets to be figured out.
A great overall mystery that I highly recommend for male and female readers alike!
1. Why do a series?
When we developed the three protagonists, Fitz, Charles and Jamie, we realized that both of us had read mystery series as kids. Bonnie read the Nancy Drew series published by Edward Stratemeyer. Mike read Vincent Appleton’s Tom Swift series. (Mike’s grandfather Charles introduced the series to Mike. He still has the 1910 edition Tom Swift and His Motorcycle that his grandfather gave him.)
Mike moved on to science, science fiction and technology. He is always interested in what happens, and how and why the action occurs. Bonnie moved on to historical fiction, biographies, fairy tales and poetry. Bonnie is interested in what motivates and defines the characters in the books she reads. She is also interested in the history of the books’ venues, narrative perspective, and the author’s stylistic tools like archetypes, symbols, metaphors and mythology.
What we both like about doing a series is the opportunity to deepen our characters’ relationships and introduce ways in which new technology can help them solve crimes.
2. What mysteries interest you as adults?
Mike likes Tom Clancy and Dan Brown thrillers. He also likes some John Grisham mysteries where brains, cleverness and persistence win against violence. Bonnie has read all of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series, and particularly likes Archie Goodwin’s snarky narrative and Wolfe’s ability to solve complex crimes from his chair. Bonnie has also read series from around the world, interested not only in the mysteries but also in the culture and characters as they develop. She has found good series in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, Laos, Italy, France, Spain, Brazil, Ireland, Scotland and England.
3. How do you develop characters who have enough complexity to be challenged and grow through their struggles and who are constantly searching for ways to let go of the past and live in the present?
When Bonnie was in college she rode the train from her home in Pocatello, Idaho to college in Grinnell, Iowa. She and her sister sometimes traveled together on those trips and entertained themselves by creating family histories and struggles for everyone who traveled in their car or walked through on their way to and from the dining car.
Mike and Bonnie use case studies in their teaching. That entails developing a lot of realistic information about fictitious families related to how they manage their human, social and financial capital. Bonnie also created three
multi-generational families for Family Wealth Transition Planning, a book she co-authored and that was published by Bloomberg Press in 2009. All of that experience contributes to the way we developed our protagonists in Broken
Trust so that they will maintain their vitality, complexity and interest to the reader in our subsequent books.
4. Where do you get ideas for the plots of The Three Musketeers series?
We get many plot ideas from the news. Cyber crime, hackers and financial fraud are in the news constantly. We save links to stories that might relate to the plot of one of our future books in Evernote in a notebook called Writing.
Mike curates e-magazines on the Flipboard platform and when he finds articles that might relate to novel plot devices he adds them to an e-magazine called Book Research for easy reference. When we discuss those stories, we frequently play with the idea of how Fitz, Charles and Jamie would deal with the challenges the world faces today. For example, last summer we attended plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR, and while we were there developed the outline for our next book, Broken Web. We often discuss the characters and future plots while having dinner or traveling. Fitz, Charles and Jamie follow us around everywhere we go.
5. How do you find the cover art for your series?
We use a service called 99 Designs to design book covers for our professional publications so we decided to use them for this series as well. We get designs from all over the world and refine them until we have the one we want. We
ranked the covers with test readers using Survey Monkey to rate the top three designs for Broken Trust. For Broken Web and Broken Code we are using a Portuguese designer we found through 99 Designs who won the book cover competition for one of our professional publications.
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About the Author
Thomas Maurin is the pen name of husband and wife writing team Bonnie B. Hartley, Ph.D., and Michael T. Hartley, CFP®. They both write non-fiction books and articles regarding financial and family business topics and have delivered talks on those subjects internationally over the last thirty years.
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