River of Judgement by David Sartof

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River of Judgement by David Sartof

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A decided improvement on Jeffrey Archer's Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less with a brilliant plot and real suspense. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 330 Date: December 2009
Publisher: Demeter Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0956415202

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Finn Jackson is an oilman, an engineer and he's developed a new way of extracting oil which doesn't ravage the countryside in the way of traditional methods. He's set up a company to take advantage of this along with his friend Aaron Philips, who's the money man. He's short of an operations manager – and has been for a while – after the tragic death of Shufang Su in a site accident. She was a geologist but had apparently flouted safety regulations and you know that there are going to be repercussions from her death.

That's not Finn's immediate problem though. Companies like Tiger Oil are not cheap to start up and Grayson Barclay, the non-executive chairman, was the source of much of the funding. The plan was to raise ten million pounds when Tiger Oil was listed on AIM, the stock exchange's junior market, but Barclay is annoyed at the delay in achieving the listing and he ousts Finn in a boardroom coup.

Add to that a failing marriage, credit cards maxed out and you can see that Finn hasn't got his troubles to seek. There's some help though. He takes legal advice about his situation and meets Lyneth Jones, a successful litigation lawyer, who's not only interested in Finn's legal problems. She's rather taken a shine to Finn himself. Then there's Alexa Stuart. Confusingly she's married to Tiger Oil's money man and represents the company sans Finn. There's more than a little conflict of interest there, but nothing that the enterprising trio can't get around.

The back of the book compares this story to Jeffrey Archer's Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less. Forget it. This is a much better story. There's a decided similarity in terms of plot – the victim and friends fighting back against seemingly insurmountable odds to right an injustice, but that's where it ends. This story has more twists than a corkscrew and I reached a point where I simply had to keep reading to find out what would happen next. On more than one occasion I simply couldn't see how the situation could be retrieved. It's superbly, cleverly done. I had to suspend disbelieve over how easily Finn was initially ousted from Tiger Oil, but after that I was hooked.

Sartof is a talented storyteller and he drives his story skilfully though the city of London, PR firms and the law – and then onto the wilds of Canada and oil exploration. He's not bound by a particular genre either – the suspense is superb and no one would balk at this being described as a thriller. The crime elements are well done and there's even just a touch of romance in there. But forget all the details – this is just a damned good story.

I'd like to thank the author for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then you might also enjoy the work of Dave Zeltserman. Have a look at Deadly Sins by Nicholas Coleridge too.

Buy River of Judgement by David Sartof at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy River of Judgement by David Sartof at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy River of Judgement by David Sartof at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy River of Judgement by David Sartof at Amazon.com.


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