By Rachel M. Anderson, Contributing Writer

(Minneapolis) - Many economists are warning that the U.S. is headed for another recession. Quentin Brent, a former bank president from Minneapolis, says they are right and uncollectable debt is to blame.

“Debt has spiraled over the last five years in both the U.S. and world-wide. A lot of it is because of overall business lending, and bad loans in the commercial real estate sector,” says Brent, who also blames government debt.

In the fiscal year that ended on Oct. 1, 2018, the U.S. had its largest deficit in both real dollars and percentage terms of $779 billion. This figure marks a growth in the deficit of 17 percent from 2017. “Our current federal debt is at $22 trillion. It has never been this high,” says Brent who blames pork barrel spending and programs created by both the present and past Administrations.

“It seems like we can’t say no to anything. We are throwing money out there at a lot of different things. Some of it is military, but a lot is domestic spending. At some point the problem will come to roost,” he says.

It already has in Europe. Five of the region’s countries—Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain—have, to varying degrees, failed to generate enough economic growth to pay back bondholders. Their economies are in real trouble.

As part of his own personal effort to inform people about what is going on in the economy, Brent has started writing economic thrillers. His latest novel is The Truth: Which Version Will They Sell? Minnesota publisher Beaver’s Pond Press released the book in July 2019.

In The Truth, Book Two of what is intended to be a trilogy, protagonist Zane Donovan has discovered the seemingly stable U.S. economy is in real trouble. Turns out it has been propped up by a dark secret that has been kept under wraps. That secret is a loaded gun, especially when powerful players have a motive to bring the economy to its knees.

Zane knows a cover-up, at any cost, is the best way to preserve confidence in the economy. But exactly how far is he willing to go for his country and himself? He is joined by a cast of characters. Some with the same goal as him; others going for the opposite effect.

The novel has a dramatic conclusion that Brent says is a metaphor for what he views as a possible solution to the situation the real-life world economy is now in. “What it all comes down to is the need to reduce the amount of debt. They used to do that in ancient times with a Jubilee where they would write off all the debt and move on. I think present day leaders need to do that too. If done in an orderly fashion, everything will be okay. If forced, it could all blow up on us like it does in my book,” says Brent.

In addition to a fast moving plot, The Truth is filled with fight scenes fans of mixed martial arts are sure to appreciate. "When I was in my mid 30s, I took up mixed martial arts, mostly bare knuckle fighting. A lot of the fight scenes in this book are based on fights I have actually been in and experienced," says Brent. "I am no longer active in the sport though. My body won't let me do that anymore."

The Truth is a follow-up to Brent’s first financial thriller, The Reason: It’s About More than Just the Money. In that book, Zane Donovan is forced to follow a trail that was never meant to be uncovered after his family gets kidnapped. He comes to realize that the Great Recession of 2008 can be blamed on a corrupt Federal Reserve Chairman with a sinister past.

In its review of The Truth, Kirkus Reviews said, “In this cynical cloak-and-dagger tale, Brent succeeds in creating a tense, pressurized environment for the thriller in which readers are never sure whom exactly they are supposed to trust."

More information about The Truth: Which Version Will They Sell? can be found on the author’s website, QuentinBrent.com.

About the Author  

Quentin Brent spent 15 years in the banking industry, the last five as a bank president, before switching careers and becoming part-owner of a temporary staffing agency in the Twin Cities. When he is not working, he follows his passions for reading and writing, and following martial arts, which he used to but no longer participates in.  

"I read a lot of fiction, nonfiction and business books," he says, "but my favorite books are thrillers. So, when I decided to pursue writing a book, that was the category I decided to focus on."

Brent’s latest novel, The Truth: Which Version Will They Sell?, was released in Summer 2019. It is a follow-up to The Reason: It's About More than Just the Money, released in 2015. Brent is currently working on the conclusion to his financial thriller trilogy. The book will be titled The Answer, and will go into detail on what Brent thinks is the solution to the world’s present-day economic problems. 

Brent also has a fourth novel in the works. The yet to be titled romantic thriller is about a married couple that has agreed to never reveal details about their pasts to each other; but when confronted by history in a way they never expected, they have to make decisions that affect their relationship and others. The book is set for release in 2020. 

Quentin Brent lives in Minnetrista, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis. 

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