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Island bookshelf: Smart, fast-paced and strong

COURTESY PHOTO This novel is a fast-paced story about strong female characters and takes the reader through twists and turns.
This novel is a fast-paced story about strong female characters and takes the reader through twists and turns.

The Banker’s Wife

Christina Alger


This is a riveting, clever tale, a novel about three women whose stories — and fates — are interwoven.

A banker dies in a plane crash and the news is delivered to his wife Annabel by some disturbing characters; his assistant Zoe is trying to protect evidence of secrets he may have uncovered; and a reporter worries that the death of one of her colleagues may be a hit job. The reporter, Marina, is engaged to a man whose father happens to be a New York real estate developer running for president. Each chapter focuses on one of the women, in turn, until they ultimately intersect.

A smart, fast-paced story about these strong female characters takes the reader through twists and turns to uncover nefarious dealings by a Swiss bank engaged in money laundering with mobsters and terrorists, not to mention the Assad family of Syria.

The author, Cristina Alger, is a graduate of Harvard College and New York University Law School. She worked as a financial analyst and a corporate attorney before becoming a writer. Clearly, she draws on her professional background in building the complex narrative. She lives in New York City with her husband and children.

Ms. Alger’s parents met on Shelter Island and spent their first summer together here “in a ramshackle house,” she recalls. She spent most of her summer vacations here in her teenage years. Although her full-time residence is in New York City, she and her family enjoy frequent visits to the Island.

“It’s such a special place,” she said, “blissfully untouched by development” despite occasional complaints to the contrary. “It’s very nostalgic when I come here. My daughter Emma’s best friend from school goes to Shelter Island and she loves coming to see here out here and taking the ferry. When you’re a little kid, it’s magical. For me, it’s very visceral, stepping back on the ferry stirs up so many memories.”

A close friend of Ms. Alger’s, Sara Bliss, arranged for Ms. Alger to do a book signing this past summer at Finley’s Fiction in the Heights. Ms. Bliss is also an Island author. Her book “Hotel Chic at Home” was featured at the new bookstore, which quickly became a hub for book lovers and authors on the Island to connect.

“It’s so important for communities to have a resource like this,” Ms. Alger said.

This was Finley’s Fiction’s first summer on Shelter Island. It will reopen in the spring, according to owner Finley Shaw.

While she was busy getting her two young children back to school, Ms. Alger was trying to put the finishing touches on her next book and working on plans to turn “The Banker’s Wife” into a television series. The show would be a limited series, she said, comprising six to eight hours to complete the arc of the book. The working title for her next novel is “Snowbird,” set in Long Island, about a seemingly unrelated series of murders.

If all goes according to schedule, Ms. Alger may be signing the new book at Finley’s next summer.