Review: The First Billion (Christopher Reich)

More and more authors are using their expertise in their respective fields to create and write in sub-genres that they are comfortable with. Robin Cook, with his medical thrillers, is a famous example for this. The there's John Grisham, who uses his experience as a lawyer in writing legal thrillers. Christopher Reich is a former Swiss banker and uses his knowledge on the subject to write thrillers set in the corporate world.

In The First Billion, John Gavallan, the head of an investment firm is taking a Russian media company public. His firm is struggling, and this could be the deal that saves it, but there are rumours that something is wrong with the Russian company. His friend, whom he has sent to Russia to investigate, disappears, and he himself is suspected of murders. He discovers a much bigger conspiracy than he expected when he looks into what is happening.

I didn't like this book very much. The plot was not very convincing, and the twists were forced into the story. I didn't like the characters in the novel either, because there are too many gaps in their stories that are not filled in.

Considering the fact that this book deals with a company's public offer and that it was written by someone who can be expected to know a lot about the topic, this book was a major disappointment when it came to telling us about what happens in an IPO.

There is the FBI, the KGB, the Russian mafia, mass murderers, torture... everything is thrown into the story. The book gave me the impression that Reich was trying more to write a thriller, rather than focussing on the aspects of the story that he could write about with greater authority.

The good thing about the book is that it is fast paced, very much so towards the end, and to some extent this makes up for the poorly developed characters. But it's still not a book that I will recommend.

Rating: 3/10

Books: July 2008

With all the free time I had in July, I really should have finished a few more books, but even then nine isn't all that bad. And I've even finished posting about six of them, that's a record. :)

  1. The Testament (John Grisham) [7/10]
  2. The Manuscript (Eva Zeller) [7/10]
  3. Twelve Red Herrings (Jeffrey Archer) [7/10]
  4. The Chinese Assassin (Anthony Grey) [3/10]
  5. Confessions of an Ex-Girlfriend (Lynda Curnyn) [6/10]
  6. Dark Tower 1 - The Gunslinger (Stephen King) [6/10]
  7. The First Billion (Christopher Reich) [4/10]
  8. The Book of Evidence (John Banville) [8/10]
  9. The Adversary (A M Kabal) [7/10]

Stats: 9 books, 9 authors (6 new), 2858 pages.

BTT: Gold Medal Reading

With the Olympics games going on in Beijing, this week's Booking Through Thursday question is about sports.

Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general? Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

Do you consider yourself a sports fan? Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too... but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.

The only sports related book I remember reading is John Grisham's novel, Bleachers (review) about a high school American football team. However, this book was more about the people in the team than the game itself.

I do consider myself a sports fan, although nobody would call me a rabid one. I follow cricket and the EPL and there are a lot of football related feeds in my feed reader, but that never really made me look for sports related books. I rarely read biographies or memoirs, and sports related fiction isn't very common. So I think my sports related reading will mostly be confined to football blogs and the sports page of the newspaper. ;-)

On to an unrelated topic now... my friend Varun has written a short story on his blog called The Foreseen. Please drop by his blog to read it if you have the time. :)