Vortex by Matt Carrell

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Vortex by Matt Carrell

Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A financial thriller from an author who knows the business inside out and can tell a good story too. Recommended. Matt Carrell popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 234 Date: May 2014
Publisher: Linden Tree
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1494805814

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Andy Duncan's father offered him the money to travel the world for a year, but first he must do a three-month internship with Berwick Archer, an investment company based in Hong Kong. It would be decent experience to put on his CV. But when Andy got to Berwick Archer he liked what he saw - and stayed. Before long he was second in command at the firm's new Bangkok office and had a talent for what he did. There was even a girlfriend, Caroline Chan, who seemed more permanent than those who had gone before her. Caroline was a dealer, but not in a big way - although she was well connected to a very influential businessman.

The financial markets are based on trust: once that goes the whole system is in danger of collapse and for this reason there are rules which must be strictly adhered to. Some of them might seem just a little bit too stringent. Berwick Archer wouldn't have been impressed that Andy was dating a dealer - the professional relationship would have been just too close for comfort - but Andy knew that giving Caroline a piece of insider information so that she could get herself out of a mess was illegal. Who was to find out though? In the great scheme of things it was very small money.

In another life Matt Carrell was Deputy CEO of a couple of big investment firms and it's obvious from Vortex that he knows the business bottom up. This is a story from a man who has lots more to tell rather than someone who has been doing their research and needs to shoehorn every bit of it in. It rings very true and he captures the excitement, the danger - and the associated excesses - but what he delivers exceptionally well is the danger of flexible principles. Whilst you abide by the law - legal and moral - life is relatively simple as all you need to do is what is right, but once you step across the boundary, even in a small way you are in danger of being pulled into the vortex. The next, the bigger step is so much easier to take.

There's an interesting look at Thailand, the land of excess and depravity, or so we are led to believe, with sex tourists and rampant corruption. The tabloids are keen to tell us about this, but less enthusiastic about the poverty, inequality and exploitation which pushes people into the sex industry or crime. Carrell presents both sides and treads a careful line between condoning and condemning and the story is more thought-provoking because of it.

It's edge-of-the-seat stuff. Towards the end I gave up trying to work out what was going to happen next and just went along for the trip. It's compelling and, unfortunately, all too believable. Throw in the background of Thailand and some underworld characters for whom life is very cheap, particularly if the life in question is at all inconvenient and you have a very good story. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For more from Thailand, have a look at Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill or The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone for a wider look at this part of Asia.

Buy Vortex by Matt Carrell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Vortex by Matt Carrell at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Vortex by Matt Carrell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Vortex by Matt Carrell at Amazon.com.


Bookinterviews.jpg Matt Carrell was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

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