The Silent Oligarch
Review: Chris Morgan Jones crafts a superior tale of international deceit and deception in the financial thriller The Silent Oligarch.
Richard Lock is one of the wealthiest men in Russia. Only he isn't Russian … and the wealth publicly attributed to him isn't really his. He is, in fact, a front man for one Konstantin Malin, an official in the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, and his job is to hide foreign investments made on Malin's orders from the prying eyes of myriad government officials around the world, making them appear perfectly legitimate and legal. In other words, he's a money launderer … and he's a very good one. But when Tourna, a Greek tycoon, loses a billion dollars on one of Lock's deals, he not only wants his money back, he wants to expose Lock for who he really is, and take Malin down with him.
The Silent Oligarch is a remarkably effective novel of suspense. There is little "thriller" action to speak of, the narrative alternating between the perspectives of Richard Lock as he tries to extricate himself from the legal tangle he finds himself in, and Ben Webster, an investigator hired by Tourna to gather evidence needed to win his case, if not legally in court then in the court of public opinion. Readers who fear there may be a lot of government or legal or financial or technical details to weigh the story down should rest easy; there is enough to explain what the issues are, and why they are important to these men, but they are minimally intrusive. Rather, this is far more of a character study, of two men who come to know and respect their counterpart's strengths yet remain wary of dealing with other. The bittersweet ending comes as something of a surprise, not because of what happens or why, but because the reader has become so drawn into the lives of these characters that there's an unexpected sense of loss at how their story plays out.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided an ARC of The Silent Oligarch for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Jackal's Share
Penguin (Hardcover), February 2013
ISBN-13: 9781594205354; ISBN-10: 1594205353
Location(s) referenced in The Silent Oligarch: London, Moscow, Berlin
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The Silent Oligarch by Chris Morgan Jones — A Ben Webster Thriller
Publication Date: January 2012
List Price: $25.95