The Great Game takes readers on a journey from Los Angeles to Kiev to solve a mystery that threatens to bring down the U.S. financial system, split the U.S. into two countries, and threatens the lives of everyone involved. The story begins with David Ferguson, a computer programmer who is returning from a business trip to discuss a proprietary technology that his company has developed. Unbeknownst to David, this routine business trip turns into an international espionage thriller that sweeps him and everyone he comes into contact with up into a life or death drama. The story unfolds between two strangers who become fast friends out of necessity, and lovers out of a mutual respect developed as they piece together this mystery. Uncertain of the events that are taking place all around them, each must martial their own unique skills, talents, and connections to survive. The book is part action-adventure novel, part text book. Readers who enjoy learning something as they are entertained will like that aspect of this book. Having worked in investment research for many years, I appreciate the author’s efforts to weave these details into the story. This book was selected from Book Club Reading List.
Once I select a book, I typically give the sample a try before deciding to take the plunge. If I decide to move forward with the book, I will purchase the book, helping to eliminate any conflicts of interest and ensure I provide you (the reader) with an honest review.
Name Dropping … in L.A.?
While the sample of this book sold me, I was initially disappointed by the first few chapters that followed. There were a few scenes that contained unnecessary ‘name dropping’ from other popular books/movies, as if that would suffice in describing a scene or sentiment. I found this to be a turn off. To me, it’s the author’s job to flesh this out, not to defer to someone else’s work.
While waiting for the beverages, he remembered what he thought was a line from an old Jason Bourne movie: “When you walk into a room, check where the exits are.”
Most Improved Writer Award
With that said, this book definitely wins the award for most improved writer. Aside from the name dropping, there were some stilted dialogues early on, and too many characters coming in and out of the plot. This makes it difficult for a reader to easily digest the story, especially when the writer is weaving into the mix what could be considered complex financial concepts for some readers. Some of these characters make a weak entrance early on and do not reappear until the end of the book.
The latter two-thirds of this book makes up for the initial let down. You can actually see the author’s writing improve. I would recommend reading the book just for that experience. His command of dialogues improves dramatically, as does his ability to build some solid action scenes with a few nice twists in the plot.
A Good Pool Reader
The Great Game is worth packing for a trip to Los Angeles to add a little excitement as you lounge by the pool. However, it’s not going to turn your trip into a novel adventure that you can recreate while you are there. For that reason, as well as the reasons above, I am giving this book three stars. I enjoyed reading it, but it had several issues that the author should address, including approximately 30 glaring typos.