Jul 23, 2016: A story that does everything right, but takes no risks. It hits its notes right, it does its villains well, it maintains a strong pace and has a series of interesting, enjoyable weirdos. Classic revenge and intrigue plots drive the story forward, with room enough for some interesting, if not terribly surprising, twists.
Past that- the prose is gorgeous. This is a writer who knows how to write, with crisp, clean language and a focus on smooth transitions that holds together well throughout. Work worthy of a professional.
I’m not a fan of spoilers in reviews, so I will only give away that the first chapter is a prologue, followed by an almost three year time skip. Which, if you’re going to do a time skip like that, the beginning or end are the times to do it.
I suspect our author has never talked with anyone who’s been in a real prison before, so, consider it a blessing that the whole 2.5 year sentence was skimmed over in a chapter of around 3k words.
For that matter, it is a bit of a plot hole that the dude spends three years in a French prison, and upon getting out, he still doesn’t seem to know more than a handful of words in French. I get that he wouldn’t likely be fluent, but three years of immersion should teach you more than enough to get by. Especially since he’s otherwise portrayed as a hyper-competent type on par with the best spy-thriller characters.
If you can get around that, it is a quintessential, if a bit formulaic, example of the spy-thriller/caper genre. If you love the genre, then go into this expecting it to be everything you’re hoping for. It is one of the best of its craft. I could easily imagine this author being talked about alongside Michael Crichton (his non-scifi stuff, at least), John la Carre and Robert Ludlum. Yes. This story is on par with the Borne series.
However, if you hate this genre, or are the type who wants innovation, art, or deep thoughts, skip it. For Riches or More takes no risks, it makes no grand statements, and it hits no notes other than those of the genre. It is very good at what it does, but that’s all it’s doing.
I give it a rating of 8/10 for being one of the best at what it’s trying to be, yet doing nothing to evolve the genre. With a caveat to readers that it’s either a 5/10 or a 10/10 depending on whether you’re looking for what it promises to deliver. This book belongs on every caper/thriller enthusiast’s shelves, but is unremarkable for anyone else.