CTG Reviews: SACRIFICE by Max Kinnings

Sacrifice cover image

Sacrifice cover image

What the blurb says: “Disgraced hedge fund manager Graham Poynter hides shamefully in his Belgravia mansion. He lied, he cheated and he stole but the police and legal authorities are the least of his worries. Poynter and his family have come to the attention of a new style of hacktivist. The Adversary – or Advo – believes that non-violence only works up to a point and as Thomas Jefferson said, “Sometimes the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Jefferson might have added, “and bankers” …

Advo intends to make an example of Poynter as a warning to others in the banking industry who might think they can behave as he has done. The only person who stands between Poynter and his grisly destiny is blind hostage negotiator, Ed Malloy, who must negotiate with a faceless adversary who is hell-bent on exacting retribution on a minority which has gone unpunished for too long.”

Ed Malloy is having a bad day when he’s called to lead the negotiation at Graham Poynter’s Belgravia mansion. But things are about to get a whole lot worse, the situation is unlike any other Ed has faced. The hostage taker doesn’t fit the usual profile or follow the pattern of behaviour Ed would have expected. They make no demands, remain calm, and seem to be waiting for something. Ed is convinced there is another person manipulating events. But as tensions rise both at Graham Poynter’s mansion and inside the negotiating team, Ed struggles to find an approach that will bring the situation to a successful conclusion.

This book has a high concept, contemporary feel, with the story played out against a backdrop of underhanded banking practices, and the rise of a new style of ‘hacktivist’. If anything I’d have liked for the ‘hacktivist’ aspect of the plot to be explored in more detail, although I suspect that a future book in the Ed Malloy series may do just that.

And the story doesn’t hang around. It’s a fast paced, cinematic thriller. The tension starts high and doesn’t wane as the story unfolds. Through rotating point-of-view characters, including Graham Poynter’s daughter, Lily, his business partner, Bob Rushwood, and the hostage taker, more information is revealed to the reader than Ed is aware of. This adds an extra layer of tension and increases the suspense.

A non-stop rollercoaster ride from start to finish.

Highly recommended.


[With many thanks to Quercus for my copy of SACRIFICE]

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