Post Script: The Rooster Bar – John Grisham

The Rooster Bar

The Rooster Bar

John Grisham

Hachette Australia

Hodder and Stoughton

ISBN: 9781473616950

 

Description:

Worldwide bestseller John Grisham will keep you on the edge of your seat with his most suspenseful thriller yet.

‘The Best Thriller Writer Alive’ Ken Follett

John Grisham’s newest legal thriller takes you inside a law firm that shouldn’t exist.

Law students Mark, Todd and Zola wanted to change the world – to make it a better place. But these days these three disillusioned friends spend a lot of time hanging out in The Rooster Bar, the place where Todd serves drinks. As third-year students, they realise they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specialising in student loans, the three realise they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

So they begin plotting a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they have to leave law school, pretend they are qualified and go into battle with a billionaire and the FBI . . .

Ingenious, immersive and page-turning, The Rooster Bar is a John Grisham legal thriller bar none.

 

My View:

A very impressive standalone from this master of legal mysteries. In this narrative the protagonists are a little like Robin Hood – exposing the exploitative sham businesses making so much money from unsuspecting, potential students – you really do feel for the victims of the scam – and I do wonder if the charade is based on real life happenings? It seems to me like it really could be.

 

The plot is intricate and yet so credible. You pin your hopes on the very likeable main characters, hoping that they can exact justice and get away with the biggest scam since The Sting!  Along the way you learn a little about the about the American Justice System, about refugees, about student loans, scams and about friendships…a very impressive and interesting read.

The Rooster Bar

Post Script: You’re Just Too Good To Be True – Sofija Stefanovic

You're Just Too Good To Be True

You’re Just Too Good To Be True

Sofija Stefanovic

Penguin Specials

ISBN: 9780143572121

 

Description:

Sofija Stefanovic visits her eighty-year-old friend Bill and suspects he’s being scammed over the internet – not for the first time. Compelled by Bill’s devastating stories of online dating, heartbreak and bankruptcy, Sofija gets drawn into the underworld of romance scams. Her investigations take her to victims, experts and ultimately to her computer, where she uses a dead relative’s photo to set up her own senior’s dating profile. In the hope of interviewing a scammer, Sofija wades into murky territory as her lies grow and her online relationships get personal. As she moves through this confusing world, Sofija finds herself confronted by questions about loneliness, love and greed.

 

You’re Just Too Good To Be True is a sometimes very funny and sometimes desperately poignant investigation into the dark underside of love in the digital age.

 

So well done. Bill’s story is an amplification of the madness and delusion we’ve all gone through chasing love.’ John Safran

 

My View:

What an interesting quick poignant read. And the truly sad part is – this is not a fictionalised account, this is not a hypothetical situation, this scenario is real and is real to many many many lonely people whose only crime is wanting to be loved.

 

This account is so familiar – in my case – not the romance scam but the money scam. Who hasn’t had the email or the letter regarding money held in trust? So much money. A few years ago my father (now deceased) excitedly showed me a letter he had received from an overseas solicitor claiming they had millions of dollars in trust waiting for him…all he had to do was give them some personal details…. He was excited, he was hopeful, yet at the same time I knew he thought this was a scam…he just didn’t want to believe it. I looked at the letter, rolled my eyes, and said something like “Really?”   That was enough said- he knew it was a scam, just like I did, discounting it out loud made it obvious, disappointing but obvious. (If it seems too good to be true it usually is – isn’t that the saying?)  Thankfully the scam came in letter form – so was easy to bin and no personal interaction had occurred to draw him in to the web of deceit. When “Microsoft” called him about his computer problem – he was easily duped.  They talked him through the process of putting a Trojan onto his computer (or something like that – that stole his identity, his passwords etc.) He lost all the money in his bank accounts – which although wasn’t a princely sum was irreplaceable. Worse than the theft of the cash from his accounts was the emotional damage of being vulnerable, gullible, of being duped, of being conned.

 

I recognise these feelings in Bill’s story – no one wants to be seen as gullible, no one wants to admit to being duped, to admit that they misjudged another….and maybe for some the drama of participating in this game is exciting regardless of the outcome?

 

How can a scammer do this to someone – leave them with nothing? Break someone’s heart? Leave someone emotionally bankrupt? Steal a lifestyle? Apply pressure till suicide is the only way out?   The distance between computer connections seems to take the “personal” out of these crimes. This novella airs important social (and criminal) issues and discusses these problems in rational terms, in an easy to read format – there are lessons here for everyone not just the mature of years. This book struck a chord with me.

 

Post Script -The Killing Of Bobbi Lomax – Cal Moriarty

“Want. Want. Want. Over reason.”

Cover The Killing of Bobbi Lomax

The Killing of Bobbi Lomax

Cal Moriarty

Faber and Faber

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9780571305391

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

When a sleepy, devout town is rocked by three deadly bombs in 24 hours an extraordinary mystery is unravelled…

The Killing of Bobbi Lomax is the story of Clark Houseman, a rare books dealer, an expert in his field, beloved by both collectors and The Faith – the immensely powerful local church, and one of his biggest clients.

Beloved, that is, until he is blown up by the city’s third bomb in less than twenty-four hours. As Clark hovers on the brink of death first on the scene are Detectives Sinclair and Alvarez who, after the previous deadly blasts, are under pressure to close the case and stop panic spreading through their community. Amid a vortex of conspiracy theories and local politics, their investigation unearths a web of intrigue surrounding The Faith and its secretive dealings. With time running out, the Detectives start to wonder if there could be more to the mild-mannered, bookish Clark Houseman than first thought…

My View:

What a wonderful debut novel – clever, complex, multi layered; murders, scams, corruption, politics, religion and revenge and ego – this book has it all.

This is a very visual narrative – the settings – small town, “religious heartlands” USA, 1980’s  – no mobiles, or computers, or internet, the policing is done the old fashioned way – interviews, hard work, assessing the crime scene evidence… and listening to “experts” in their field. In this narrative, the cops are the good guys, mostly, the main characters Marty and Al are likeable and there is just a hint of the past that influences their present space. I think we will hear more about them in ensuing reads from this talented author.

I love the phrase, Clark’s mantra “Want. Want, Want. Over reason.” How accurate does that sum up most of life lessons?  “Want” wins every time, feeds the ego. The cynic in me long ago identified the “give them/tell them what they want to hear” approach to…quite a few thingsJ especially when dealing with bureaucracy. Clark however uses this approach to maximise his influence and feed his need for power and money. It is ironic that it also leads to his downfall.

This novel has a great rhythm and pace; you just sit back and let the narrative lead you to the conclusion. The narrative has control! A control you willing hand over. Relax, immerse and enjoy this read.