I read and reviewed Stone’s thriller, Moving Day, last year. You can find the review here. I really liked it.
So I was looking forward to his newest. And at first, I was impressed. The story centers around a young, female bank teller named Elaine who routinely takes care of a certain man’s deposits – deposits that are in the six figures or more. Always dressed in a shabby black coat and hat, the man is a mystery, but always has a kind word for the teller. One day, he makes his deposit and the computers are acting up, so it hasn’t gone through by the time he walks out the door of the bank and is hit by a car and killed. Before she knows it, Elaine hits a few keys and transfers his million dollar fortune to her escrow account.
What happens after that, at least in the first part of the book is compelling. What does Elaine do after she makes that decision? Does she flee and buy a ticket to some island somewhere? Does she try to put the money back? When it’s discovered that there are two men with the same name who are depositors in that bank branch, one of whom is the man who’s been killed, the police get involved.
Here’s the problem. Stone had an interesting premise. I was into the story. Then, along about the end of Part One, he veered off into sensationalism (hint: white slavery) for no good reason. And the rest of the book never lived up to Part One. (There are three parts.) The story and the plot became more and more preposterous and not at all believable. There were too many plot devices that weren’t supported in any depth whatsoever – they certainly weren’t grounded in any sort of reality.
When I’m reading a book and I keep groaning out loud, I know there’s a problem.
I don’t know why Stone chose to take the wrong road. But he did.
So I’m giving you a heads up in case you’re considering reading this book. Of course, to each his own. If you want to pick it up, more power to you. But I cannot recommend it.
Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the eGalley of The Teller.