Review: The Wreckage by Michael Robotham

Title: The Wreckage

Author: Michael Robotham

Published: Mulholland Books June 2011 {ARC courtesy Mulholland Books/NetGalley}

Synopsis: Billions of dollars are missing from Iraqi banks, and journalist Luca Terracini will risk everything to discover where it is. His Iraqi-American background has made it easier for him to infiltrate the darkest corners of the war, but death of his beloved Nicola in a suicide bombing has made him reckless. He has nothing left to lose. In pursuit of the money, he meets UN representative Daniela Garner, who seems to know more about the heist than anyone else. She’s a valuable asset in Baghdad where the possibility of an explosion lurks at every checkpoint. Luca’s investigation proves volatile as well, and as he gets closer to the missing money, his actions begin to reverberate around the world.In London, Richard North, a top-tier international banker and the one person who might be able to explain where the money has gone, vanishes. The manhunt for him will get Luca evicted from Iraq, separated from Daniela, and possibly end both his investigation and his life. As usual, it’s all about the money: who has it, who’s lost it, and who’s ultimately going to pay, as clandestine agents emerge from the shadows and powerful nations seek to control information and bury secrets, whatever the cost.

Status: Read from June 12 to 13, 2011 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

Based in part on true events, The Wreckage is a taut thriller that spans two countries and exposes the twisted threads that link international terrorism and the global financial crisis.
In a series of short chapters, Robotham alternates between the seemingly unconnected stories of retired detective, Vincent Ruiz chasing thief Holly Knight, Luca Tarracini’s investigation into a series of robberies in Iraq, and Elizabeth North’s frantic search for her missing banker husband.
Ruiz falls for a con and tracks down the young thief, Holly Knight, only to thwart an attempt on her life and place himself squarely in the sights of a violent group of men. Holly’s scam has unwittingly made her a target of an assassin known as the Courier and Ruiz is determined to protect her.
Pulitzer prize winning journalist Luca’ investigation of the theft of billions of US dollars from Iraqi banks results in repercussions for not only himself but the UN accountant, Daniela Garner, whose team is auditing the reconstruction funds provided to the warn torn country. Evicted by the government, Luca and Daniela follow the money to a missing terrorist and a missing banker in London.
Elizabeth North’s life is turned upside down when her husband, who is a compliance officer at her families bank, goes missing. No one seems inclined to help her find him until he is accused of fraud and demands are being made for his missing notebook.
The multi-strand plot eventually brings the characters together as their separate investigations collide. The tension is well crafted and the layers of the storyline are deftly connected. Robotham judiciously reveals just enough detail in each distinct narrative to ensure early conclusions can’t be drawn. The style, and pace, ensured I compulsively continued to turn the pages eager for another piece of the puzzle. The post invasion unrest in Iraq and the global financial crisis are hot topics in today’s society but I think the author skilfully balances the political commentary with richly developed characters.
Robotham has carefully constructed the circumstances of events and the motivations of the individuals to ensure they are believable. I felt the characters actions were credibly limited to their abilities and experience. The personal lives of the cast give the storyline depth and and move the novel beyond the familiar news headlines. Ruiz, for example, is coming to terms with his children’s estrangement. Luca and Daniela develop a romance and Elizabeth, who is eight months pregnant, discovers her missing husband has been having an affair. These ordinary dramas contrast successfully  with the international events they have become caught up in.
The Wreckage is a fast paced, action-packed thriller that explores current political events in individual context. I really enjoyed the novel, it combines great characters with a masterfully complex plot and the authenticity of the storyline shines. A fantastic read.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Review: If I Tell You…I’ll Have to Kill You Edited by Michael Robotham | book'd out

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