Normally I wouldn’t begin to write a Book review until I’ve completely finished reading the book. And normally I wouldn’t buy one third of a book without buying the remaining two thirds.
Confused? Well, the first third was a free download from the author’s website, and like most people in today’s economic times, I always look for a bargain
Well, I finally just finished it (book1 that is).
I. Murder Book Summary:
The Brogan family is a rather typical lower middle-class family, living in a run-down house in a run-down neighborhood in Pittsburgh. The family head, Patrick, wants nothing but the best for his little girl, Elaine. He thinks the world of her and views her as a special, gifted child.
The mother, Kathy, is more of a realist. She’s sick to death of living in a crappy neighborhood. She’s a woman who has lost all hope for the future. To tell the truth, she resents her only daughter as much as she hates her existence. Perhaps it isn’t much of a surprise when Kathy disappears, never to be seen or heard from again.
Patrick Brogan is more determined than ever to give his precious Elaine the best life possible. He begins stealing money from the construction company he works for so that he can send Elaine to an expensive private school for girls.
When Elaine is 16, she enrolls herself into a “modeling school”. This is very much against the wishes of her father. She empties her modest bank account of $200.00 and goes to her dad for the rest of the money. He is less than pleased. He suspects that this “school” is nothing more than an elaborate scam. But, of course, he gives in.
The modeling “school” is run by Ronald Eskew, a sleazy individual who uses his position to take advantage of his young charges, abuse them sexually and steal their money.
Once Elaine realizes she’s been had, she demands her money back. When she threatens him with bodily harm (from her powerfully built dad), Ronald reluctantly hands over her $2,000.00 dollars.
There is just one little problem: he repays her with counterfeit money which she innocently passes over to her father.
Disaster is about to strike! The very next day, the Brogan family gets an unexpected visitor. An agent from the U.S. Secret Service knocks on the door.
The brief conversation between the agent and Patrick Brogan goes like this:
‘Did you deposit some cash this morning at the First National Bank branch over on Penn?’
‘Well…yeah, I did, but…’
‘You’re under arrest for passing counterfeit currency’”
Through his fingerprints, Patrick’s involvement in theft from the construction site that he works for gets him into deeper trouble. He could receive as much as 25 years in prison.
Unable to bare the shame of jail-time, Patrick Brogan kills himself.
Racked with guilt and anger, Elaine Brogan makes two life-altering promises:
- She will join the Secret Service and learn all she can about counterfeiting
- She will find Ronald Eskew and make him pay for what her did to her and her father.
Of course life isn’t all that simple, is it? Well the “easy” part is that Elaine does become a Secret Service agent, specializing in Counterfeit currency. Now here are some of the hard parts:
- On her first assignment, she is sexually harassed by her boss and transferred to Bulgaria
- She discovers that Ronald Eskew has “passed away peacefully in his sleep”
It doesn’t get much worse than that, does it? Well, yes, it certainly does. In Bulgaria, Elaine discovers she has a natural talent for identifying fake currency.
She also discovers that she has more than a passing interest in her new boss, Nick La Grange, Secret Agent In Charge of the Sofia, Bulgaria Office.
This man is passionate about his work, and his confidence in Elaine’s abilities continues to grow as they work together. He is a good mentor and protector.
There is just this one little problem: Nick may be engaged in under handed activities involving a missing press used to print expert counterfeit bills.
And, that’s about where book 1 concludes. I wish I could tell you more, but I can’t. You see, I haven’t read books 2 and 3 yet. I know, I know, what I am waiting for?
II. Murder Book Judgment:
In any case, I can say that I prefer a little harder edge to my murder books. I’m not really that interested in Elaine Brogan’s sexual encounters. But Mr. Wells informed me that since the vast majority of his readers are women, he naturally gravitates towards that audience.
And, if his twitter page is any indication, it all seems to be working for him.
What caught my attention in this thriller book is the counterfeiting angle. Very interesting stuff! While in Bulgaria, Elaine discovers that someone is printing counterfeit money on a press that is manufactured by a company that sells these presses to the U.S. among others.
The thing is that fake money printed on these presses is virtually indistinguishable from genuine bills. And now, one of these presses has been stolen. We’re talking about counterfeiting on a massive scale.
In the real world we all know that counterfeiting is a huge problem. But most of us don’t feel that it impacts us “ordinary” folks. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When fake bills are passed, that impacts the economy, which can affect employment (or the lack thereof). When someone purchases fake clothing brands, the real brands lose revenue. Lost revenue means lay-offs, etc.
It’s this unique storyline that kept me reading into the wee hours.
If you don’t think this is serious stuff, consider this:
Counterfeiting is a $600 billion dollar a year problem worldwide.
In any case, I’m anxious to get started reading the second and third installments of this murder book. I’ll keep you posted.
And, if you’d like to know more about the author of this thriller, you can find Mike Wells right here.
This is the trailer for Mike Well’s “Lust, Money, & Murder”. Enjoy!