2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.

Book Review: The Mastermind by Evan Ratliff

This was an insane tale – proving, once again, that truth is stranger than fiction… Ratliff underwent an incredible amount of research and detective work for this one and it shows. The tale of the unraveling of Paul Calder Leroux’s criminal empire was astonishing. The breadth and depth of his brilliant and evil machinations were almost unbelievable – as was the way it all wound up falling apart. The ending (such as it is; things are not entirely wrapped up because they are still ongoing) was not very satisfying, if you’re looking for justice in any form, but that is (after all) often the case…

Still, the journey to that point is a marvelous assemblage of facts and extrapolations painstakingly pieced together over years. The format – back-and-forth narration that tracks the development of the case across time – was engaging and interesting and the writing style was a great blend of compelling narrative and factual recitations. There’s a LOT here; the read isn’t particularly quick because it’s very detailed and at times a little repetitive (not in a bad or inappropriate way, but because of the nature of the investigation and subsequent prosecution), but it is an altogether mind-bending story that draws you in even if you find yourself needing a break from it every now and again. It can be wearying to read about the unrelenting nature of greed and power-hunger, at least to me, but each time I picked the book back up again I was almost immediately drawn right back into the thick of things.

It’s a wild ride, particularly when you consider that most readers probably had no idea any of it was happening (I certainly didn’t), despite the potentially world-altering threats posed by so many of Leroux’s activities. It is a weird, intense, scary-in-its-implications read, but one I quite enjoyed for all that.

Thanks to NetGalley for my review copy.

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