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The First Billion

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,814 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Christopher Reich electrified readers with Numbered Account and The Runner, his first two international thrillers. Now the New York Times bestselling author whose work has been called “gripping” (Chicago Tribune), “chilling” (The Denver Post), “wonderful” (The New York Times Book Review), ratchets up the stakes in an ingeniously plotted story of nerve-jangling intrigue and ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published July 29th 2003 by Dell (first published August 20th 2002)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,814 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Aug 04, 2008 is currently reading it
I have read six other books and still trying to finish this one. That may be a sign...
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Was surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did (perhaps because I bought it for a quarter as an old used library book). This is a great thriller that was really hard to put down.
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
THE FIRST BILLION by Christopher Reich is 10 cassettes in the audio version. It was read by James Daniels and is approximately 15 hours long.


In exactly six days, Jett Gavallan will take Russia's top media company public on the New York Stock Exchange. A former fighter pilot and now the CEO of Black Jet Securities, Gavallan is no stranger to risk. But when rumors of fraud threaten to send the deal south - and with it everything Gavallan has worked so hard to build - he dispatches his
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is Mr. Reich's third novel and I gave his first two five stars. This one didn't match the tempo of his others but it was still a very interesting read. Our hero, John Gavallan, heads up a mid size, full service investment banking organization. They have made their mark in the industry handling IPOs, i.e. Initial Public Offerings. They have not scored a "big one" in some time and a cash flow injection is sorely needed. As the reader is introduced into John's life he and his associates are in ...more
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Interesting insight to the greedy IPO world and a nice mix with action and suspense; main character is a little too perfect and too rich....needed more flaws...puts entire fighter jet on AMEX....really!
Barbara Sparks
Typical mystery writing. Wall street, Russia. If you don’t have anything else to read, this will at least entertain you if you can make it through the financial stuff. Drags in the middle
Rooster Jay
Mar 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
After numerous attempts to get into this book, I just gave up after about 140 pages. I know folks said it picks up after page 200, but why do we need to read 200 pages first.
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Lots of bad Ruskies, murders, business machinations are not enough to make this novel spark interest throughout. 4 of 10 stars
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
Needs an editor. Could have been half as long
Sep 01, 2012 rated it liked it
the beginning needed some editing. but the story line was really good. the forensic accountants always get the bad guys. august, 2012
Nov 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one too! Quite a bit happening in it and it had some finance in it which always interests me.
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a 5 star novel if not for the muddled ending. Christopher Reich has written a thriller full of intrigue and suspense. Gavallan is the CEO of an investment firm who has a deal with Kirov, a Russian oligarch (businessman!?!) to get Kirov's company (Mercury BroadBand) on the NYSE. He sends his #2 man to Moscow to check on the validity of Mercury, since a mysterious, anonymous reporter, publishes accounts of Kirov's underhanded ways. Gavallan's former girl friend, Cate, tries to convince him ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
An entertaining read. Thrillers are my guilty pleasure.

The First Billion had both plot and character development. Despite knowing nothing about finance or the stock market, I was engaged in the storyline and able to grasp the developments. I think Reich made it tangible for those of us who need it, without lecturing too long or boring those familiar with the world of finance.

I like how Reich transitioned between storylines and characters, allowing me to get to know the personalities.

A few parts
Ramakanth Josyula
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is easy 250 pages too long. The story intself is quite gripping and has enough twists and turns to make the reader curious about what will happen. The problems though lie in the narration. Way too many flashbacks. Like way way way too many in the first 100 pages itself. The number of characters and the amount of time spent in their own backstory/flashback narration is absolutely not needed. This book could have done better with a good editor.

The book seems primed to be made as a serie
Interesting premise and complex plot.

I almost stopped reading after about 200 pages, with so much tedious character development and so little plot advancement. Decided to keep reading and found the next 200 pages worth the perseverance.

Given the strength of the build-up, I thought the ending was a little weak, simplistic (especially choices by law enforcement), and anti-climactic. But still a good read -and I will try this author again.
Sandra B.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
If you manage to survive to chapter 9, you will be rewarded with an entertaining plot. Not recommended to people who nitpick on details. Editing is atrocious and small mistakes galore. What self respecting editor allows his author to claim The Clash are a western band?
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Terrific story.
Billi Haug
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
another very good read! This author doesn't disappoint .
Mar 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Easy read, light with some suspense , good not great
May 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not my cup of tea
Christa (haines) Sheridan
So many subplots happening at the same time it was overwhelming. Some didn't really seem to add to the story and they didn't have enough detail to engage you.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Too slow for me, gave up
rondall young
Maybe a million

Too many leaps in the plot and gratuitous violence. Not as good as his other books. Will continue to read Reich's books
Aug 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: thrillers
Reich, Christopher. THE FIRST BILLION. (2002). ***. Reich has garnered a reputation of being the John Grisham of the financial world. His books are, technically, thrillers, but most of the thrills in this novel are forced. Having worked in M&A, there are big holes in Reich’s plot for this one that are immediately obvious. The plot outline given by the publishers follows. “In exactly six days, Jeff Gavallan will take Russia’s top media company public on the New York Stock Exchange. A former f ...more
Jul 17, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, paperback
This book was, at times, highly entertaining. However, it also had long periods of blah, blah, blah. It wasn't until page two hundred that the real action and suspense was introduced, and even then the author skirts over what could have been some really intense scenes. While I certainly liked the main character and his love interest, I didn't always see some of the twists and turns their adventure would take, and liked how they figured things out in the end. The bad guy, Kirov wasn't the most di ...more
Deborah Gray
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
A thrill ride through a murky Russian world of espionage and high stakes, which eventually take the reader all over the globe. I don't know anything about Russian political and criminal elements (which seem to be the same thing), nor much at all about IPOs and the moneyed stratosphere the main character, Jett Gavallan, inhabits. But I felt the verisimilitude of the research, and the layered street knowledge of geography. There was some suspension of disbelief in the multitude of plot twists, but ...more
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
The First Billion, like Reich's other books that I've read (Numbered Account and Invasion of Privacy) is a big, meaty tome with lots of wonky Wall Street info, great characters and, of course, a good deal of action. What else could one ask for? A few reviewers have disparaged the book because the hero buys a one million dollar airplane with his American Express. I would say that is not at all untoward given that the transaction was approved by an Amex executive based on the cardholder having the ...more
Dave Bernard
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
For anyone from the Silicon Valley who has been part of an IPO and all the crazy things that can happen on the path to fame and fortune, you ain't seen nothing yet! Reich builds a strong central character who fights and claws and won't take no for an answer as he struggles to take his company public. Everything from international gangsters to internal betrayals keep the book interesting and a fast read. As usual the author seems to speak from a position of expertise in all matters financial. I l ...more
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Christopher Reich was born in Tokyo. In 1965 his family moved to Los Angeles. He attended Georgetown University and the University of Texas and worked in Switzerland before returning to the United States to become an author. His novel The Patriots Club won the International Thriller Writers award for Best Novel in 2006. He lives in Encinitas, California.