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Desperate to attain financial security and disillusioned with life within academic walls as a Russian tutor, Nick Elliot knows that by joining the financial institution of Dekker Ward he will be going against everything he believes in, but needs must. With the help of his best friend and Dekker Ward employee, he manages to secure a job in the world of emerging markets under the guidance of legendary trader and marketmaker, Ricardo Ross.
Content with his new career and the prospects of huge bonuses for his efforts, life seems to be heading in the right direction. But when he witnesses the ruthless, cut throat side of the money making business, Nicks conscience kicks in and starts to doubt whether he has made the right decision in joining the rat race. As he battles against his conscience, he finds himself being sent abroad on business with his beautiful work colleague Isabel and as a romance starts between them, life starts to look up once again. But when Nick finds himself being mugged and stabbed whilst walking along the beach and Isabel is kidnapped whilst walking back from a dinner with her father, everything points the blame back at Ricardo Ross. Determined to save Isabel and teach Ricardo a lesson, Nick sets out on a course of revenge, but is his revenge misdirected.
Having read and enjoyed Michael Ridpaths earlier novel Free to Trade, I eagerly picked up The Marketmaker expecting to be entertained in the same manner, and I was definitely not disappointed. Although Ridpaths writing style has changed from his earlier novel, it is definitely for the better and I found The Marketmaker one of those books that you just cannot put down.
Like with his earlier novel, The Marketmaker is again set in the world of finance and once again is predominantly set in the UK, although there are several excursions to South America, in particular Brazil, this time round. Even though it is set is the world of high finance, the financial aspects are never really dwelled upon and on the few occasions that some financial concept is mentioned it is then quickly explained in laymans terms whilst cleverly incorporating it into the storyline.
The main thrust of the book comes from the growing mistrust Nick has for his new boss Ricardo and his brother Eduardo, as he becomes highly suspicious that their financial dealing may be the result of underhand, criminal methods. Ridpath weaves a tangled web of clues and events, which include money laundering, murder, robbery and kidnap which prompts us to believe that Nicks suspicions are true. Of course there is a twist to the plot, and I have to admit that even though the clues were there, I never saw it coming and when it was revealed it definitely took me by surprise.
The other side of the story comes in the shape of the romance between Nick and Isabel, which has the obligatory amount of sex scenes, but these are not what I would class as graphic or steamy. It is as if Ridpath feels he must include this element but fills ill at ease writing about it. Their relationship also leads way for the kidnapping which is a major event in the storyline and one that is thoroughly intriguing. Not that I am an expert on such matters, but the way it explains the actions of the kidnappers as well as the negotiators makes for very interesting reading.
Whether Ridpaths interpretation of the criminal activities is based upon facts is unclear, but all the financial information comes from his own background where he worked within the city financial institutions for several years before becoming an aspiring writer.
Although the world of finance may not be everyones cup of tea, this is just used as the setting for a very good thriller, which includes many different criminal activities from kidnapping to murder. Fans of the likes of Lee Child and John Grisham will find Ridpaths writing style very similar and so is very easy to read. Although descriptive, he never dwells on anything longer than necessary and keeps the book moving at a brilliant pace. Definitely one that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for an engrossing but easy to read thriller.
***** General information and prices
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Available on Amazon Marketplace for £0.01 as well as on eBay.
For more information on Michael Ridpath and other books that he has written visit http://www.michaelridpath.com
© Christianfilm November 2006
Disgruntled academic Nick Elliott has reluctantly taken work with city brokers Dekker Ward. Strange things start happening to Dekker's employees, including Nick's colleague, Isabel, which is when Nick decides to take on a fixer who is unaccustomed to people standing in his way.