Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Shell Game: A Contemporary Thriller by K.H.Bixby

As I had a couple of days holiday and a 4 hour train journey, I had time to read. So here is the review of one thriller and I'm halfway through the next. This one was quite innocent in its tone, no sex or swearing. But it did have some scenes of torture which came as a bit of a shock considering how the rest of the story was handled. I gave it 4 stars.

A young boy loses his closest family and is taken to New York by his uncle. They are Jaharin, a fictional ethnic group without statehood. When oil is discovered on the land they inhabit; their powerful host is ethnic cleansing without the world noticing. We catch up with the young boy Sami many years later and he now works in finance.
This story has many elements which make this thriller seem eerily familiar; one group of people oppressed by a more powerful group, the world turning a blind eye to a small ethnic group. And the all-powerful oil and financial companies that put money before people. Sami is a sympathetic character; he has made a success out of his life despite difficult beginnings. Money and a cosy life has not made him immune to the plight of his people and I can understand his need to help the Jaharin, even though the way he does it isn’t legal. The romance between Sami and Sarah is developed slowly and with a somewhat innocent touch. (Rather refreshing to not have any sex scenes!) The pace of the book is slow and steady but keeps the reader engaged. The only criticism I have is that the scenes of torture come as a bit of a shock (I had to skip a few pages as I can't stomach animal cruelty even if it is fictional), it contrasts sharply against the innocent romance of Sami and Sarah and the warm relationship between Sami and his uncle. It does however illustrate that even though life might seem comfortable and cosy, brutal reality (like the Syrian conflict at the moment) is never far away.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The Lafayette Campaign by Andrew Updegrove

I do like a good conspiracy thriller now and then, and this one has a good dose of humour and satire to make it an entertaining read. I gave this 5 stars.
The Lafayette Campaign by Andrew Updegrove on Amazon.com


This is a tense political thriller with a healthy dose of satire, also a very entertaining read. Frank Adversego is a computer expert that is called upon by an un-named US government agency when they have a suspicion that someone has hacked the electronic voting system. Some unexpected results in the republican preliminaries have set alarm bells ringing in Washington. Frank sets to work figuring out how the hackers got in, but gets distracted by a young French student that keeps crossing his path. He soon finds out that he can trust no one and that he is alone in stopping the presidential election from being rigged. The Lafayette campaign is full of surprising plot twists and turns, but at all times disturbingly believable. This is a clever piece of storytelling that combines politics, technology and human emotion.
Frank Adversego is an interesting character with a fascinating job. He is also very human. We get to see his more vulnerable side; he is middle aged, lonely and wants to get in better shape physically. Frank is not one of these uber geeky smart tech wiz- kids that annoyingly spot straight away how a cyber-hack was done. Frank like most of us stumbles about in the dark for a while and is at times too trusting. But he is also diligent and committed and with hard work he solves the case.
I read this book during the 2016 primaries and caucuses which fitted perfectly with the story; I even started wondering if Mr Updegrove was clairvoyant so closely matched his story with all the shenanigans in the republican primaries and the unexpected rise of DT. This is book 2 in the series and I haven’t read book 1 (not yet but hope to soon), but it stands on its own and can be read out of order. Frank Adversego is certainly a character I want to revisit.