Monday, January 9, 2012

The Silent Oligarch

The Silent Oligarch by Chris Morgan Jones, January 23, 2012. 336 pages. Published by The Peguin Press. Source: Published for review.
A London intelligence agent pursues a money launderer to expose the dealings of a shadowy Russian oligarch.
In a world where national borders shrink to insignificance in the face of colossal wealth and corporate power, The Silent Oligarch offers a new kind of hero to combat a new kind of crime. Drawing on his decade of experience at the world's largest corporate intelligence firm-where the wealthy buy the justice they want and the silence they need-Chris Morgan Jones leads us down into the unvarnished realities of our time in the grand tradition of John le Carré. Bearing news from a world hidden behind closed doors, The Silent Oligarch effortlessly creates a new genre in its wake.
Deep in the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources sits a nondescript bureaucrat named Konstantin Malin. He draws a nominal government salary but from his shabby office controls half the nation's oil industry, making him one of the most wealthy and feared men in Russia. His public face is Richard Lock, a hapless money launderer bound to Malin by marriage, complacency, and greed. Lock takes the proceeds of his master's corruption, washes them abroad, and invests them back in Russia in a secret business empire. He knows little about Malin's true affairs, but still he knows too much.
First Sentence:
High in the air Webster watches the unbroken desert flow past, a deep copper red in the dawn, the sand ridged like waves rolling down toward the south.
What me to want to read The Silent Oligarch was the premise of a good old-fashion mystery/thriller. Did it make the cut, in that respect yes it did.
I loved for once reading a book that did not have a single damsel in distress or one with content that left me skipping pages left and right.
Admittedly, the first page of The Silent Oligarch did not interest me and left me feeling a little worried over how the rest of the book was going to go. Even so, I kept reading and the story and Mr. Jones' writing really picked up and began to pull me into the story and the lives of the two main characters. The more I read the more invested in the outcome I became.

While the mystery of who was pulling the strings was kind of vague-up until the very end- I had my personal theories, and I must say that I nearly spot on. I would tell you what my theory was and the conclusion, but then the whole entire outcome would be exposed and that is the last things I want to do to ya'll. I'll just say this, it was well written from beginning to end and kind of stressful at times as both characters very nearly met their end at one point or another throughout the book.

I really liked how all the details slowly painted the full picture of corruption in Russia-in the book-and how the big the scope of Malin's empire was. I was also intrigues to see how exactly Lock fit into the whole scheme and what his role was. While the plot and story building were really good, what really makes this book is Lock and Webster and the changes that are wrought in the both of them as their stories progress.

At first I did not care for either Lock or Webster, the two main characters of the book. I thought that Lock was a weak willed character with absolutely no chance of breaking out of the life that he had come to be a part of. I know that probably sounds mean, but it's the truth. I did not think that he would ever get the nerve to try and walk a better path, so I pleasantly surprised when he started to evolve and get a backbone.
As for why I did not care for Webster in the beginning, well, let's just put it down to he was not very likable at first. But as the story progressed and you saw how what he did affected him and the way he thought I could not help but start to warm up to him. I loved the fact the he had doubts as to whether what he did was actually helping or hurting those that he got involved with.
In short, both characters go from being kind of meh, to ones you want to see survive the ordeal that they currently found themselves in.

What I really liked best about The Silent Oligarch would have to be how the tension slowly built through out the book. By the time I hit the half-way point in the book I did not want to sit it aside because I needed to know how things were going to turn out for both Lock and Webster, which meant that I was not much company on New Year's Eve because I wanted to finish the book before the year ended.
      While I really did enjoy reading The Silent Oligarch there are two things that very nearly made me throw the book across the room in disgust. My first and biggest problem with this book would have to be how the Lord's name was taken in vain. A LOT. I was really enjoying the story and then the characters started throwing around the Lord's name left in right and not in a reverent manner. This irks me to no end while reading.
The other thing I did not like was there was bit more language then I had originally thought there was going to be, though it was not nearly as bad as my first complaint. These two reasons are why this is not a five pineapple read.

Final Verdict: The Silent Oligarch

The Silent Oligarch earns 4 out of 5 pineapples.

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