I know the author as a novelist who likes to write about current topics that concern humanity. No matter if it is about the pro and cons of social media, how humanity treats the planet, or what we are willing or not willing to do when it comes to genetic engineering. This novel is not about that, but about something else, that is almost every single time the reason why some of us do what they do: Voracity.

by Marc Elsberg
Publisher Blanvalet February 25, 2019
Genre Novel
Pages 443
Format Hardcover
Source Library

“Stop the greed!” call and “more justice!”. People around the world are in turmoil. They are demonstrating against impending austerity packages, mass unemployment and hunger - the consequences of a new economic crisis that is bankrupting banks, corporations, and states. National and international conflicts escalate. Only a few empires are the winners. At a special summit in Berlin, one wants to find solutions. The renowned Nobel laureate Herbert Thompson is to give a speech that could change the world because allegedly he has found the formula, with the prosperity for all, is possible. But it will not come to that. In a car accident, Thompson and his assistant die – but there is a witness who knows that it was murder, and who gets sucked into an endangered game. Jan Wutte wants to know what´s behind the formula, but the killers are hot on his tail … (translated by © Vi at Inkvotary).
The world is only seconds away from another financial collapse. Renting an apartment is almost impossible. People are on the streets for more equality, affordable living space, and money in general. One man has the key to solve everything. At least he believes it. Others think otherwise and do everything to keep him from talking. But what happens if one of the rich people starts to rethink and go a different path? 

There is no doubt, that this novel was written by the author. The soft style, the sometimes-direct words, or the love for economic details. Together with some figures who show a good cross-section through society, this is a Marc Elsberg book. And yet, this novel is missing something. In all his other books the author knows exactly how to combine action, tension, and the logical facts of the topic he uses as a base to present the reader with a detailed and very entertaining novel about things the world is currently experiencing. He knows the recipe for great entertainment usually very well. 

Not this time. 

The story is very predictable, there were no unexpected twists and turns, the figures are completely stereotype and the plot itself? Boring. Sure, some pages are kind of fun to read, but mostly you are in a state where your only question is when will this be over?  

As I mentioned before, the figures are stereotypes. Nothing against that word. In some books the converge of stereotype can be very refreshing and interesting. Not here. The author dressed them as if they were from a different planet, lets them say things no other person would use, and sets them in what he sees as a typical setting. An empty house, almost a ruin right in the middle of the city. But electrical power, a modern pc, and other technical equipment are also there. Not very convincing.

Jan is a loser. He had the bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He wanted to help, but in the end, he is the hunted. Nobody believes him. For the police, he´s the killer, for the others, he is a nobody who knows nothing about a better world, humankind, or how the financial system works. He simply was born with the wrong genes by the wrong family. 

I am disappointed. Too foreseeable, too plain and not at all written in the manner, the author usually presents his readers with. Sad, but this time only average for me.

Happy reading

*This book was, at the time this review was published, only available in the German language.

Marc Elsberg
Marc Elsberg ©Clemens Lechner

Marc Elsberg was born 1967 in Vienna, Austria. He was a strategy consultant and creative director for advertising in Vienna and Hamburg as well as columnist of the Austrian daily newspaper “Der Standard”. With his international bestsellers BLACKOUT and ZERO, he also established himself as a master of the science thriller. Today he lives and works in Vienna.



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