A Deadly Feast ~ by Lucy Burdette

This series takes place in Key West, Florida where Thanksgiving is coming up along with the wedding of the Hayley Snow, the series protagonist who works as a food writer.  But a few days earlier a woman dies on a seafood tasting tour. Was it poisoning?  And Hayley’s fiancé, a police detective, is called to a case he can’t talk about. 

A Deadly Feast 
by Lucy Burdette 
2019
Read by Laura Jennings 6h 35m
Rating:   B / cozy holiday mystery 
(#9 in the Key West Food Critic series)

With the groom being a police detective, crime and secrets are scattered all through the tale.  And overall it’s a good story – the plot is clever and twisty, the characters nicely defined and the writing is adequate for a cozy mystery.  

But (!) there’s too much romance and too much cooking chatter.  It feels intrusive.  

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Santa’s Little Yelpers ~ by David Rosenfelt

I’ve read 7 of the 26 Andy Carpenter novels and 6 of those have been the Christmas books.  I really should read more of the series because they’re “legal thrillers” (of a sort) and kind of fun. I can get some of these from my library. They’re quite popular. And although there have regularly recurring characters and some overarching plot development, the plots independent. 

Santa’s Little Yelpers
by David Rosenfelt
2022 /
read by Grover Gardener 6h 41m
Rating B+ / legal crime

This one was just released on October 11 of this year and it’s read by Grover Gardner so I had to get it. ! It’s old home week.  

Andy Carpenter’s former client Chris Meyers was wrongfully convicted of something, even now when he’s been released from  jail, he continues to deny doing. Upon release he began working at Andy’s dog shelter. Then one of the witnesses against him comes to Chris and reveals that he lied in court.  Chris goes to Andy for help and the next thing we know the informer is killed and Chris is incarcerated again. It seems this informer was working for a mob boss and the troubles are much deeper than they appear. 

These are fun books with complex crimes and trials. 

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The Years of Rice and Salt ~ By Kim Stanley Robinson

Oh my what a grand book! But it does get long and seems kind of repetitive after about the half-way mark (perhaps that’s part of the ultimate point).  I haven’t read a sci-fi book this good since the trilogy “Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin, or maybe it was 2041 also by Robinson a few years ago.  This is essentially a series of interrelated novellas which tell the history of the world from about 1350 AD and on to the near future,  And it all comes together at the end. 

The Years of Rice and Salt
By Kim Stanley Robinson 
2003 – 784 pages
Read by Bronson Pinchot 25h 56m
Rating: 9 / literary sci-fi fantasy – alt history

The stories start in the 14th Century when the Black Plague had just made its way through Asia and Europe killing  about 1/3 to 1/2 of the population and worst in Europe. It lasted about 25 years. Due in part to that plague the Christians didn’t make a lot of headway out of Medieval times while the Muslims managed to expand and thrive in many areas. The Mongol leader, Temur Khan, a Muslim, fought his way to Western France where the book’s first protagonists, Bold and Psin, are just getting ready to fight him when lightening strikes their tent and kills them. Their deaths put them in the Bardo, a kind of purgatory for reincarnations which is a regular feature of the novel. It serves as an intermission between incarnations and eras. There are 10 books with each containing several chapters and each with an accompanying trip to the bardo. The characters are named according to their function, for instance names beginning with the letter B are “believers” while P is for the “wanderers.” 

At about 25% I’d been getting too distracted by my real life, so I bought the Kindle version to go with the audio. The audio has really excellent narration and sometimes I like to read and listen at the same time or going back and forth. It keeps me very focused and I can go back for sentences or names or whatever I like.  Also,  the Kindle version has maps and graphics as well asr chronologies and cast lists but you can find it online (see the links at the bottom of this post).   

At any rate The Years of Rice and Salt is a collection of 10 novellas (loosely defined), in which there are usually several chapters. The first concerns Bold,  a very small cattleman, and Kyu, a black boy, who passes as Bold’s slave. They have both run away from the Mongols and get as far as Nanking and Beijing when the Emperor dies and …. Lots of thriller-type adventures with intermissions in the bardo –  Most of the Books include a “B…” character and an “I…”character and then come the “K…” characters (see below). 

The Books are mainly in chronological order for about 700 years, starting in 1400 AD and going to a few years beyond the current years. There is a time line in the book and also at the link showed at the bottom of this post. A very brief synopsis is also included.

The Books each deal with one or more specialties of human knowledge from geography to history and physics,  medicine, philosophy, religion, technology, society,  etc. It’s a very broad survey and includes alternate history without being entirely speculative. If you want to know what’s factual and what’s not you’ll have to do your own little searches via Google or whatever.  (I’ll tell you that I don’t think the Chinese made it to the California coast-lol!) This is alternative history with a certain emphasis on science so … 

My favorite Books are #s 1 “Awake to Emptiness,” 3 “Ocean Continents,” 5, “Widow Kang” and maybe others, #9 “ Nsara,” for instance. 

In some ways, The Years of Rice and Salt reminds me of The Incarnations by Susan Barker (2015)
https://mybecky.blog/2016/03/11/21076/.

And there was a TV show moons and moons ago which used the trope of arch-enemies across time being reincarnated to fight again (?).  I’m glad I read this book, but I’m also glad to be finally getting on to other things.   

https://www.kimstanleyrobinson.info/content/timeline-years-rice-and-salt
(Synopsis by Book – 10 books) 

Characters:  
B the believer (faith)
K the rebel (action)
I the scientist (thought)
S the corrupt leader (laziness)
P the wanderer (humility)
Z the warrior (strength)

https://www.kimstanleyrobinson.info/node/345

https://www.kimstanleyrobinson.info/content/timeline-years-rice-and-salt

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Dead Man’s Tale ~ by Ellery Queen

I read this book to complete the letter Q in the Alphabet Challenge of crime novel authors at 4-Mystery Addicts.  I think it might have been the last letter I had yet to cover.  (Yes, I know “Ellery Queen” was not a real life author, but rather the pseudonym of several people plus the eponymous main character they created.)  Also – I think this may be a atypical Ellery Queen novel. 

Dead Man’s Tale
By Ellery Queen (Stephen Marlowe)
1961 (
Read by Mark Peckham: 4h 56m
Rating: A / hard-boiled crime

Estelle Street, Barney Street’s new widow, is very annoyed. Instead of leaving his fortune to her he left it to one Milo Hacha, a Czech who sympathized with the Allies and he saved Barney’s life in WWII.  Now Estelle’s lover, Steven Longacre is under her orders to go to Europe and hunt Milo down. Steve is to return with the news that Milo is dead (however that happens). But when Steve gets there he’s told that Milo is dead already, but Longacre needs more evidence than somebody’s say-so. 

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A Passage North ~ by Anuk Arudpragasam

This was disappointing.  I might have enjoyed it when I was younger, in the 1980s or something, but now?  It was included in the Booker Prize short list for 2021 and the Booker Prize reading group finally got to it on our year-long schedule. So I’ve been looking forward to this book since the lists were announced about 14 or 15 months ago,  I’ve read books about Sri Lanka and its ugly Civil War before but not books like this one. Michael  Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost and Reef by Romesh Gunesekera were great. 

A Passage North
By Anuk Arudpragasam
Read by Neil Shah: 9 hrs and 15 mins
2021 (304 pages) 
Rating – 7 / Literary Fiction

A Sri Lankan family gets a phone call informing them that their aging Grandmother’s personal caretaker, on leave with her own family in Northern Sri Lanka, has died suddenly. She fell in a well and broke her neck.

The grandson goes to the war-torn North to check for the family. While on the bus he thinks and remembers.He has just gotten an email from an old girlfriend so he remembers his time with her. And he thinks about love and life and yearning. Then he thinks about the poverty of the people in the North who are fighting for their own government and he knows he, personally, has it very easy – what should he do?.  He remembers the caretaker how the caretaker mourned her sons.  

Imo, this was an overly ambitious and ultimately depressing book.  Arudpragasam writes very well but he seems to really like his own voice, too..  I did finish it – 

 

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A Fatal Inversion – by Barbara Vine

This year I’ve been doing the author ABC challenge at the 4-Mystery Addicts reading group. The goal os to read authors with last names from A to Z and it goes for a year, Now, in Novemeber, I found I was only missing letters N and V so after a bit of checking, I decided to go with A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell).  I’ve never read Vine, the name Ruth Rendell used for several years. Both nameswon awards including an Edgar for this old, sometimes called classic, novel.  


A Fatal Inversion 
by Barbara Vine
07-01-87
Read by William Gaminara: 2020 – 
10 hrs and 13 mins
Rating: B+  / mystery 

And I’m glad I chose this because it was a whole lot better than I expected. And I read somewhere later that it’s a kind of classic of the type and era – like PD James and Scott Turow. and I can see that. The novels are slower moving but quite suspenseful thanks to intelligent writing and nicely developed characters.

Anyway, I was listening and had to go back over parts I wasn’t sure of – sometimes whole chapters but a print version was never necessary.  It starts out simple enough, but gets complicated as a not terribly sensible girl shows up at the home of a young man who has just inherited a small estate and is getting ready to go to university. And then more characters are added plus the Adam and his buddy who brought the girl end up hosting a kind of spontaneous commune of sorts. Meanwhile, Adam’s father is quite upset with him because the grandfather left the estate to Adam..

The deeper complication is that the main line of the plot unfolds a decade later when the bodies of a young woman and a baby are dug up in what was a private pet cemetery at the estate. Who were these corpses and who was responsible? Adam and company don’e actually remember a whole lot from those days and they have a lot to lose.

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N is for November

I see by a blog I follow that the challenge/meme/whatever “Spell the Month in Books” is being hosted by Jana at  https://reviewsfromthestacks.wordpress.com/tag/spellthemonthinbooks/  .      

And this being November that means Nonfiction!  I read quite a lot of nonfiction so I think I’d like to try it and see what I come up with.  I read all of the books on my list in the past 18 months, The oldest is the R book, Robert E Lee and Me, which I read in June, 2021. (The links are to my reviews on this site.)

N.  Noise:  
A Flaw in Human Judgement 
by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony, Cass Sunstein
https://mybecky.blog/2021/08/21/noise-a-flaw-in-human-judgement-by-kahneman-sibony-sunstein/

O. On Juneteenth
by Annette Gordon Reed
https://mybecky.blog/2022/06/20/on-juneteenth-by-annette-gordon-reed/

V. The Viking Heart: 
How Scandinavia Conquered the World 
By Arthur Herman 
https://mybecky.blog/2021/10/13/the-viking-heart-by-arthur-herman/

E. Empire of Pain:
The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty
by Patrick Radden Keefe
https://mybecky.blog/2022/04/09/empire-of-pain-by-patrick-radden-keefe/

M. The Misbegotten Son: 
A Serial Killer and His Victims:
The True Story of Arthur J. Shawcross
By Jack Olsen
https://mybecky.blog/2022/02/19/the-misbegotten-son-by-jack-olsen/

B. Bloodlands: 
Europe between Hitler and Stalin 
By Timothy Snyder
https://mybecky.blog/2022/05/23/bloodlands-by-timothy-snyder/

E.  Entangled Life: 
How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Share Our Futures
by Mervin Sheldrake
https://mybecky.blog/2021/08/17/entangled-life-by-merlin-sheldrake/ 

R. Robert E Lee and Me: 
A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause
By Ty Seidule 
https://mybecky.blog/2021/06/23/robert-e-lee-and-me-by-ty-siedule/

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Apeirognon ~ by Colum McCann

This is a highly acclaimed literary novel based on a true story about Jews and Palestinians and their forever conflict.  The story here is mainly about two fathers who are grieving the killing their young daughters, both mind-numbingly tragic, during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict although at very different times and places.  And the girls and their families are quite different, too, with one being Jewish and the other  Palestinian. 

Apierogon 
by Colum McCann 
2022 – 468 pages
Read by the author
Rating – 9 / literary historical fiction 
(Both read and listened)

Rami Elhanan is a Jewish graphic artist and the father of Smadar, age 13, killed by a suicide bomber in 1997.   Bassam Aramin is a Palestinian scholar and activist and the father of 10-year old Abir who was killed by a single and deliberate, random shooting in 2007. They are both Israeli.

Collum McCann puts the stories of these two men together because in the current time frame they travel around speaking of the importance of peace in Israel. How can two men who hated each other’s presence in “their” country and were victimized by them and wanted revenge most of all, realize they have to go on from their grief and forgive and remember and teach.

The lack of chronology and alternating the main characters in the 1001 chapters of varying length got me totally confused.  I started over twice, but I finally got that much (barely) and just kept going anyway, although I did check back sometimes and/or check with Google.  The reason I was confused was mostly due to the lack of chronology and the alternating characters. The situations are so much alike and that is McCann’s point.

These girls and their fathers also had unfamiliar names and I couldn’t tell which girl was Jewish and which was Palestinian. (Again, to emphasize, they are both Israeli – and to McCann’s point, does it matter?.)  

Then! After the half-way point, Chapter 500, comes Chapter 1001 and then back to 500 for the count back down. I think there’s a point there, too – something about a cycle.

Imo, this confusion was deliberate on the part of the author.  He wants us to see them both as human beings first and as Israeli second. They are both innocent little girls from largish, good families and are deeply loved. McCann shows us the similarities. 

Another theme is the oppressive nature of the Israeli government.  Citizens (both Israeli and Palestinian) have to stay where they’re assigned. Going elsewhere involves a lot of paperwork and strip searches even if you have business in the another sector. The armed guards are suspicious of everything. Bassam was a prisoner for many years.

The story keeps going back and forth in time describing bloody and angry situations as the men remember the past and think about their daily lives. This is interspersed with rather philosophical insights or historical information.  

 And the history – (if that’s what 30+ years is) so many names and places and incidents are true.  But this can’t be labeled as nonfiction because McCann imagined parts of a story line using real historical people. I usually dislike that but in this case he says he got their permission.  Okay fine.  And that leaves me on the fence of not knowing whether some person or incident is true.  That’s fine, too, because I look it up. If I find it to be truthful enough – kudos to the author for the research.  If it’s not true well that’s fine too and kudos to the author for inventing it.  (I just like knowing.)  

So we find all sorts of tidbits in this book ranging from Phillips Petit (the high wire walker who also appeared in “Let the Great World Spin”) to Mordechai Vanunu (an Israeli whistle-blower) to Jorge Borges (writer) and Einstein (Jewish physicist)  and from song birds to the Soviet’s bombing of Finland in WWII.  It’s almost like one of those “encyclopedic” novels popular in the 1980s and ‘90s.  

Enjoy! I would read it again but it can be pretty draining.

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The Shadow Murders – by Jussi Adler Olsen

I’ve been following this series since it started and I love those early books.  The later ones got darker and grimmer and it seemed the characters lost some of their quirky flavor. But the plots continued to be excellent.  The writing is good.

The Shadow Murders
by Jussi Adler Olsen 
9/2022
Translated by William Frost 
Read by Graeme Malcolm 13h 11m 
Rating: A + / Scandi-noir  
#9 in the Department Q series 


Department Q is the “cold case” department of the Copenhagen Police Department. Carl Merck, an older and more experienced officer is in charge and he reports to Chief Marcus Jacobsen who very much appreciates Department Q, but can’t seem to get them much funding, Carl has three very quirky deputies, Assad, Rose and Gordon assigned to his unit. Despite their oddities, the four click and make a great team.  

This time the twist is Covid which really messes with schedules, interviews, and gathering evidence. It’s quite annoying to everyone. Also, the countdown goes date by date in month prior to Christmas (and had I known this I might have saved the book for my December Holiday readings – ah well …) 

The tale starts with an older woman’s suicide – or what looks like a suicide until Chief Marcus realizes that what it looks like is a case he had about 30 years prior. So it’s referred to the open minds and cramped spaces of the basement where Department Q lives There, after some thorough and intuitive investigating, the team comes up with the fact that there has been an unsolved murder every other year for the past 35 or so years. And these are a lot more than random murders there is a definite method to the horror.. It gets good – er – evil.

The characters in The Shadow Murders seem less quirky than they were in the prior Detective Q  books, but it has some very funny little parts. I think maybe the plot itself is better in hits book, and it’s still definitely noir in the old Scandi- fashion with religious allusions and a nut-case on the loose. It gets gritty and tension-packed, too. I enjoyed it tremendously. (*Note – Child abuse may be a trigger factor.)

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Lucy by the Sea ~ by Elizabeth Strout

What an incredible addition to Strout’s oeuvre! Her last 7 books are not really a true series, but some of the characters appear in several of the prior books going all the way back to Olive Kitteridge. This book is much better for those readers who have been following Strout’s work, but if you haven’t done that I think you will also enjoy it. 
https://www.elizabethstrout.com


Lucy by the Sea
by Elizabeth Strouth – 2022
Narrated by: Kimberly Farr 8h 19m
Rating: 8.75 / contemporary fiction

And just as a little bonus, Olive Kitteridge shows up in Lucy by the Sea.  LOL!  (A number of the characters live in the same small town.) But Lucy’s sister and others also live not too far away.  

That’s okay. Each book is different and this is the book I’ve been looking forward to since April of 2020 when Covid was suddenly all over the place. I’ve read several other novels where the pandemic is used as a kind of theme or plot device. Here the pandemic is used to masterfully develop characters, plot, and Strout’s usual themes of family, especially mothers, marriage, are intertwined with those of connections, “lockdowns,” and home.  

But this is Lucy’s story.  Lucy is the protagonist in My Name is Lucy Barton as well as in Anything is Possible, and Oh William but she appears in other of Strout’s novels.  These books are each stand-alone and marvelous in their own rights. 

Lucy has been divorced from William, her first husband,  for a number of years (Oh, William),  and now her second husband has recently died. The pandemic arrives and William, who is still a friend,  insists she come with him to visit mutual friends in Maine. Meanwhile Lucy’s daughter Becka and her husband are having serious difficulties while Christie, their other daughter, seems to be doing fine. 

And Covid is up and running in the US, increasing daily. So quarantine becomes the order of the day with William being far more concerned than others. And then the couple starts worrying about other matters they see happening during that whole difficult year.    

But the tale deals gently with very difficult current issues and I’d love to have time to read it again. 

 

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J.G. Boswell and the Making of A Secret American Empire by Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman

Good book if you’re interested in South Central California or love the writing of Mark Arax as I do. He writes about South Central California for the LA times and other books, I’ve read 3 of his 4 books now. It took me awhile to get to this one because to tell the truth, I though it looks boring. And even after I had it I waited several weeks to actually read it.

J.G. Boswell and the Making of A Secret American Empire
By Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman
2003 / 592 pages
Read by James Patrick Cronin 19h 29m
Rating: 10 / biography, big farming and the environment
(Both read and listened)

For over 50 years I lived only about 20 miles from the boundary of Boswell’s lands and 30 miles from Corcoran, his ranch headquarters. I’d heard about Boswell since I was about 18 or so? but I can’t say I knew much about him.

But the book is by one of my favorites authors.  I’ve not read anything else by Rick Wartzman but I’ve read two of Mark Arax’s books, West of the West: Dreamers, Believers, Builders, And Killers In The Golden State and  The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California.  I might should go catch up by reading his first book,  In My Father’s Name: A Family, a Town, a MurderA Family, a Town, a Murder, but not yet.  

This book was published back in 2003 and I’m sure if I Googled around I’d find more that’s happened since. – like JW Boswell died in 2009 and finally handed the firm over to his own youngest son, James G. II.  

The book is way more than James Griffin’s’s biography though although it does start back in Georgia where he and his first wife came from. It’s also a history of the Central San Joaquin Valley of California.  It’s not presented in exactly chronological order.  It opens with the authors interviewing JW early on in the 21st century.  That family is notoriously private so it took the writers some time to even get an interview, much less what they wanted.  

But the book also travels back in time to the days of the Indians then the Missions then Gold Diggers and the genocides all through it. Then came the cotton growers from the defeated Southern US, and the wheat growers, see Frank Norris The Octopus, and finally the fruit, nut, and vegetable growers (like the Resnicks) Some ex-slaves came to work on the cotton farms, some Indians and Mexicans came for the work. I understand they tried Chinese labor but it didn’t work. And of course the John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath Okies (and Arkies and Kentuckians and Texas and so forth) came. This is how the area got its seriously Southern attitudes and twang and foods. (My parents moved us here during the early 1960s – I was 16 and coming from North Dakota had never had a taco -lol!)

This is the country of the Disney movie McFarland which was based on the real teacher in McFarland, only 34 miles away.

But if they came for work there was a LOT of work; a lot of dirt and water had to be moved to get it right for planting cotton and it’s never been right enough to satisfy the Boswells. The floods and the droughts came because that’s what California water is, unpredictable cycles of flood and drought – and now most often it’s drought. There was alway something more to buy or sell or make or build and Boswell ended up creating the biggest privately owned farm in California, if not the US.  And he has other businesses as well, like ginning and milling cotton,  real estate and more ranches in Arizona and other places.

His farm operation was one of the first businesses in Corcoran which eventually became a “company town” with JG as “The King” living in Pasadena. But when you’re that big then, inevitably, comes the politics and with farming there are going to be environmental concerns and then there are feuded and law suits that go with owning a lake bed turned into a huge farm operation. The book dives right into all of it. Every bit was fascinating to me.

But I have to admit there are a couple problems I had with the book.  First it’s very long and complex and I got the Jameses mixed up.  There’s JG Boswell, the old man who came to California in 1915 and settled in Corcoran and Pasadena. He was married twice and had stepchildren but there’s also JW Boswell, his brother’s son who did take over. JW also has a son and that’s JGII.  The chronology doesn’t help this problem with names because it might go from interviewing JW to a longish Indian story and then back to JW’s story and it gets into a back story about JG. Arax and/or Warzman digress a lot. I suspect it’s Arax because of my experience with his other books. That’s okay – I digress right along with him.

But at about 2/3 or the way through I realized I was hopelessly confused between JG and JW and started over with the Kindle version to go along with it. I did much better the second time but the confusion about those two characters is there – I had to be careful. 

The authors digress a lot.  I’ve read 2 of Arax’s prior books and I tend to thin the digressions are from him because he just loves to go with his flow.  Wartzman is the business editor at the LA times (where Arax covers the Central Valley) and a lot of the business and legal narrative were most likely from Wartzman’s hand.  

This took me at least 4 days of heavy reading to get through but I was fascinated – the whole thing.  

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Freezing Order ~ by Bill Browder

This book is soooo good I couldn’t help myself I just kept typing… (sorry) —>.

For some reason I thought this book was about Antarctica and a spy mission down there. Ha and LOL!  I really should have taken a look at the subtitle. But it was on that very good sale !!!! 

Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath
by Bill Browder  
April 2022 – (336 pages K) 
Read by Adam Grupper 10h 29m
Rating: 9.75 / memoir-pol activist

 (thriller?) 

It has an excellent opening. In the spring of 2018, UK-American businessman Bill Browder was arrested for espionage just after he checked into his his hotel in Spain. He was there to give testimony against Russian criminals, but it was those same Russian criminals who ordered his arrest as he arrived. He was freed thanks to a covertly sent Twitter post getting the attention of many people who contacted many other people and agencies who put pressure on the Madrid police department and …”Oops.”  

That sounds like the opening to a lightly humorous spy novel, but this tale is real. Real scary and in some places, a real thriller. The beat goes on.  

The author – this is a memoir – is Bill Browder, an American businessman now from the UK with a very lucrative investment business in Russia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Browder

I went into this book cold – cold as Antarctica. I had no real background knowledge at all except for a few little mentions of various things on TV, but the book reads like a thriller novel.  I just had to remember that it’s actually a memoir and maybe get some background from Wiki or something.

At some point not too far in I actually read the subtitle. I’m listening to this book so unless I actually look for it, I might miss it.  Yes, it’s about “Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath.”   

*****

Freezing Order: A legal procedure that prevents a defendant from moving their assets beyond the reach of a court.” –  That’s the Epigraph in the book.  

What’s it about? Well, it gets complicated so I had to look up some stuff as I went along.  

In the US: “The original Magnitsky Act of 2012 was expanded in 2016 into a more general law authorizing the US government to sanction those found to be human rights offenders or those involved in significant corruption, to freeze their assets, and to ban them from entering the US.[5]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnitsky_legislation. The US passed this in 2012 and upgraded it in 2016. 

 Bill Browder was instrumental in getting this legislation passed and upgraded. (His first book,  Red Notice, was published in 2016.). Sergei Magnitsky was his business partner and good friend until he was arrested and murdered in his Russian jail cell. (He exposed corruption in Russian corporations.) That’s when Browder got involved and in trouble with Putin. 

Magnitsky was one of the “good guys” more than a decade ago, exposing corruption and working for human rights. He was no fan of Putin, but he lived in Russia/Ukraine. I think that’s the story of Red Notice (2015) but the original copyright date of this book is 2022 which tells me it’s going to be what’s happened since 2015 and there is a LOT more current stuff to tell.

By the time he was writing this book he’d been hunted by Putin for years (decades?) for tax fraud and finance activism and his involvement his Hermitage Investment Company which had (has) an office in Moscow.  Putin publicly declared Bowder a “national threat” in 2005 and their offices in Moscow were raided in 2007.  No financial institutions in Russia were safe from the corruption – outright theft and siphoning of funds to other enterprises.    

By about 2/3rds of the way into the book we’re up to Trump getting elected and yes (!) I absolutely do remember when Junior and Bro Eric were talking to some visitors and then the press about “Russian adoptions,” the code name for the Magnitsky Act (ha!)

The big deal is that the Russians were accusing Browder and Magnitsky of scamming Russia for $250 million tax dollars – that was the first of the legal charges.. What Magnitsky and Browder claimed (and proved) was that they, themselves, had been scammed of those dollars and the money had been laundered through a very complex series of re-investments both at home and abroad.  (9 volumes at 300+ pages each of legal records.)

******* 

This is a great book covering Browder as he avoids arrest by Russian operatives and manages to testify before Congress, speaks to various groups, and conducts activist business as well as his own. 

Enjoy.

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