North Saanich thriller author Martin Bodenham is doing for fund managers and private equity investors what John Grisham has done for lawyers.
Weaving his many years of experience in the financial industry into his writing, Bodenham has published two fast-paced novels that delve into the criminal underground of finances, including run-ins with Mexican drug cartels and the Mafia, and he has clearly found his niche.
His debut novel, The Geneva Connection, is currently sitting at the top of Amazon’s financial thriller best sellers list, and Once A Killer, published in late 2014, is close behind at number two.
For those with a taste for thrillers, it’s easy to see why the titles have risen to the top.
Geneva opens with a gritty and unrelenting scene where the head of the Caruana cartel’s enforcement team tortures an unfortunate, unnamed man for information, and from there, readers are thrust into the world of private equity investment at breakneck speed, juggling multi-million dollar deals, deception and criminal underpinnings.
It’s a story Bodenham had in mind for years, but it took winding down his London-based private equity firm to actually get the time to put it down on paper.
“When you’re in the middle of a career, you often don’t have time to do anything else but eat and sleep,” he says, laughing.
“I studied languages in school. I’m a bit of an
English pedant, if you like, and it was always something I wanted to turn my hand to.”
He says he wrote his debut novel “by the seat of his pants,” but despite the inexperience, found an agent and publisher almost immediately, partly, he says, because of his familiarity with the industry.
“If I’m reading a book that cuts across an industry, I don’t want to be bogged down with the turgid details, but I want to know that the author is basing it on some kind of authenticity,” he says.
“I do that with my financial background. I base a lot of it on actual facts, and actual deal making. There are dodgy investors out there who want to use legitimate financial institutions to launder their money.
“You normally know when you’re being approached by dodgy money, and you have to sort of politely say, no thank you, that’s not for us.
“But I started thinking, what if someone unknowingly became embroiled in that kind of thing, and didn’t find out until it was too late?”
That ‘what if’ started him off on the road to a best seller, and encouraged him to keep writing.
Bodenham took the publishing process into his own hands with Once A Killer after his agent had a near-fatal brain hemorrhage in 2013. Not wanting to sit on the manuscript for another year or two while he searched for another agent, he self-published.
“For me, it was more a question of not wanting to sit on it, and I’d had quite a number of readers asking when the next one was coming out,” he says. “That’s why I write, because that gives me the greatest kick, knowing that you’ve entertained someone.”
Though the self-publishing route proved successful, Bodenham says he’ll veer back onto the traditional path with his next book.
Bodenham’s third novel, tentatively titled The Apple Polishers, is a somewhat apropos narration of a corrupt American administration about to topple over because it’s being brought down by a massive debt burden.
The Apple Polishers is slated for publication hopefully later this year, he says, depending on his current negotiations with two agents.
In the meantime, Bodenham is hard at work writing a fourth novel, and plans to keep turning them out as the ideas keep coming.
For more information, visit martinbodenham.com.