419 by Will Ferguson
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
This is the second book written by Will Ferguson that I have read in the past few months. The first book was How to be a Canadian - which was an amusing, funny, tongue-in-cheek read. 419 is a completely different genre of book, and clearly demonstrates the versatility in writing styles of the author - he made me laugh-out-loud in one book, and kept me page-turning in suspense in the next.
"A car tumbles through the darkness down a snowy ravine. A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in sub-Saharan Africa. And in the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims. Lives intersect. Worlds collide. And it all begins with a single email "Dear Sir, I am the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and need your help..." Will Ferguson takes readers deep into the labyrinth of lies that is "419", the world's most insidious internet scam."
I have to admit, the above synopsis from the book cover had me intrigued (after all, we have all received those emails...what harm could come from responding??), and once I started reading I was pretty much hooked. This plot style is one I really enjoy - one that hops around between parallel storylines of characters, places, cultures, and points in time. I really want to say a lot more about the bits & pieces I really enjoyed, but in doing so, I'd be giving up too much information and don't want to include any spoilers here. I will note that I did appreciate the "Clue" references - it was not a major part & they had no bearing on the story, but I liked the subtle hint of them that appeared in the second half of the story.
My only disappointment in reading this book happened when I was 3/4 of the way through...one night before I set the book down, I quickly flipped through the grey-edged pages at the back (Q&A with the author, etc.), I know, stupid move! I didn't stop to read any of these pages, but did inadvertently see a few words on one page pop out at me that gave up one spoiler related to one of the characters. So I did only have myself to blame for that. Thankfully it didn't give away the entire ending to the book for me, but did cause me to give myself a swift kick! Though after finishing the book, I must say I also really enjoyed the Q&A section with the author, giving me a few more tid-bits of information & background to his research & meaning to some of the characters - it especially led me to research some information about "the woman without a name.".
This is my third book read for the 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge.