THE LAST TRADE is the first novel by James Conway and the third novel by James Othmer–his stab at a commercial thriller.  I’m pleased to report that an Othmer by any other name is still a damned good writer.  He can’t dumb down commercial fiction to DaVinci Code levels, and that’s a gift to his readers–and if the rave reviews in arcane publications like Reader’s Digest and Parade are any indication, there will be a lot of them. And they will be rewarded.  THE LAST TRADE reads like Michael Lewis trying to write fiction; I can think of no greater praise. I sat down with James With Two Names:

Please explain what just happened.

I ate some roasted cashews. I walked my dog. I drank a glass of water. I wondered whether the sudden sensitivity to hot and cold in one of my teeth indicated the presence of a cavity.


What is your earliest memory?

Lying on the floor in the living room in a sort of upside-down tumble position, yelling letters of the alphabet and then calling out as many words as I could think of for each letter. I think this occurred last Tuesday.