Follow TBR on TwitterFollow TBR on Facebook

TBR Featured Review

Sex, drugs and rock and roll. What more does a novel need?

Be prepared to take a trip when reading When Life Was Like a Cucumber by Greg Wyss. This trip will be unlike any one you have ever taken before. That is unless you were in your 20s, living in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the East coast, more 

Book By Author:  Howard Prossnitz

The Ponzi Scheme
 The Ponzi Scheme
 Forest Avenue Publishing

Chicago lawyer Jake Farley has just been fired from Big Law.  He gets a call from Germany that Hans Vollmark, the father of a college friend has died in a suspicious auto accident.  Vollmark was on his way to confront the operators of Deutsche Financial, an investment firm that has taken all of his retirement money and will no longer respond to his calls. 

Jake gets caught up in the hunt for the international financial criminals, Jurgen Spiegler and Claus Leopold who are behind the scheme.  These men are missing with $50 million that they have bilked out of ordinary German investors.  Jake goes to Germany to sign up the investors as clients.  On the way, he meets a German doctor, Suzanne, who is friendly, but is it just a coincidence that she is sitting next to him on the plane? 

The hunt continues through Paris and then goes back to Chicago.  Jake files the case for the investors against a Chicago securities firm InterGlobal run by Jack Walker.  As the trial approaches, Jake is short on hard evidence tying InterGlobal to the financial fraud and the two Germans behind the scheme are still missing.  Spiegler and Leopold have sinister plans for use of the money and the pressure mounts on Jake as witnesses are killed and threats are made directly on Jake.  The suspense continues through the trial as to whether Spiegler and Leopold can be found and stopped before they complete their plan.


Date Reviewed:   



A financial thriller that might save you a fortune.


The Ponzi Scheme by Howard Prossnitz is an international thriller that starts out strong with a suspicious investor driving down the Autoban going to find out why the Deutsche Financials phones are out of order. He doesn’t make it. This starts a series of events that brings in a litigation lawyer from Chicago, Jake Farley who is the main character. Jake is having a bad week after being fired from his law firm because of downsizing and then finding his girl in a shower with another man.  Fate intervenes when he gets a call from another lawyer in Germany telling him that his friend’s father was killed in a suspicious auto crash. This is where the web of the story starts expanding. Jake decides to go to Germany and find out the real story behind the death and the tie in with Deutsche Financials. He meets other swindled investors and decides to take them on as clients to try and get their money back, because there is a tie in with a clearing house bank in Chicago. The story turns into a high stakes thriller from this point on. Who can he trust? The woman he meets on a plane? Is this part of a larger conspiracy? Is he out of his league?

Prossnitz, the author, infuses the story with a host of minor characters both from Germany and the US. You can tell he has spent time in Germany before writing this. The dialogue between the characters flows well. Prossnitz brings the novel to life with his descriptive detail. He can be too descriptive in parts distracting the reader from the story line. It is a readers preference, many readers like full detail and background history of characters. He does a great job of that as if he is living the moment.

As the story progresses, Jake is going to trial to get the investors’ funds back and he has become a liability from the things he has learned. His life and the lives of countless others are now in jeopardy as the stakes of this scheme start getting out of control.  How far is he willing to risk it all? The Ponzi Scheme will take you to the mindset of the ultimate con man mixed with the relentless pursuit for justice. Reading this might save you a fortune.



Author Details

Back to author listing and Review search

Howard Prossnitz Author:  Howard Prossnitz


Howard Prossnitz is a practicing securities litigator in Chicago. His novel is based both upon his days in Big Law and numerous trips to Germany to represent victims of a massive financial fraud. He lives outside Chicago with his wife Liza and dog Poogie. They have two grown daughters who are aspiring writers.