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The Bucharest Legacy: The Rise of the Oligarchs

de William Maz

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433,318,936 (4.17)1
Adicionado recentemente porTigerpaw70, richardderus, jetangen4571, TerryWeyna

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The Rise of the Oligarchs

This suspenseful sequel to “The Bucharest Dossier” is an engaging and exciting cold-war thriller on its own, no need to read the previous book in order to enjoy this one. The story sheds light on the unbelievable corruption of both the West and the East. The narrative over 400 pages covers basically the Bucharest of the 1993 and takes place three years after the revolution against the Communist regime.

The protagonist is Romanian born Bill Hefflin who finds himself entangled with the CIA handling a mysterious Russian asset, Boris, a double agent maybe even a triple agent...how convoluted can this become. Wait to see what Mr. Maz has in mind in his book. When a rumor flies that he is the top Russian mole in the CIA, he definitely knows he is being set up and sets out to get to the bottom of things. After ensuring that his son and wife’s are safe, he sets off to Romania where immediately things go haywire. And the bodies start to mount...while the crooks get richer and half the population are starving.

You need to stay alert reading this book so much goes on back and forth and many characters are added to the action and the suspense gets even more intense. Hefflin and his wife Catherine, who plays a huge role, are well-drawn and complex characters. As for Boris, he is a shadow hanging over the spy hunts. I may have found the story to be way longer than it should have been with the repetition of information we have already been told but delving deeper into the gripping action scenes I discovered how crafty Mr. Maz’s writing style is. His research, techniques and action sequences only can keep us on the edge of our seats till the very end. The language is easy and engaging what is not to like. Well said, well-done

My thanks to Oceanview Publishing and Netgalley for this ARC ( )
  Tigerpaw70 | Jun 12, 2023 |

My Review
: I did not see this set-up coming. I like that in a spy story, especially a series. What I *did* see coming was that the author would keep using the ethnic slur "gypsy" which as a Romanian he should know is the semantic equivalent of the "n" word...but wait! there's more, as the infomercials used to say....

Considering how the previous book ended, I was expecting to feel pretty indifferent to the life Bill's received from his immigrant parets and their sacrifices, from Boris and his scale-balancing, being placed under threat. I was, in fact, uninterested in his fatherhood, his marriage to the still-icky-to-me Catherine, all that pop-music-scored montage material. Once Bill's in the vice-grip of his old job's new bosses and he's back in Bucharest, I stopped speed-flipping and resumed reading.

What we have is a spy story that really bites into the apple of all (especially the best) spy stories: who're the "good" guys when absolutely everyone is lying through their (false) teeth and giving you Bambi-eyes through colored contacts as they try to distract you with a hand job while picking your pocket and measuring you up for a swift stab?

The good news is that the story is up to its convolutions now. The sub-optimal news is that the ending goes places I found repugnant and disturbing. The sheer velocity of the spy bits would get an honest four-plus stars. The ending's shenanigans lopped that half-star right back off. The chasing around and the inclusion of Catherine in the spying got my happy grins. The way the author treats his ethnic slur use won me back to his side. The resolution of Bill's quest for roots was also quite deftly sewn into the material of the plot. There's a degree of...I suppose wistfulness is the word I'll choose...in that resolution, and it was laced with a very true-to-life salting of disillusionment. Like most all of us, Bill does not leave his twenties with his idealism intact; like almost any of us who become parents, he discovers the oceanic depths of the connection between parent and child. He becomes a different, more dangerously grounded man.

As the body count that results from this mounts, I felt that most agreeable glow of the thriller reader, "they deserved it", suffusing me regularly. I don't think a single murder was committed before my bifocals that I'd've flinched away from in real life. That is a good trait in a spy story. As the action in this story moves around the globe more than the first one, I was satisfied that the author chose to focus most of his descriptive and evocative prose on Bucharest as it transitions from failed Communist state to failing oligarchy. I am very unfamiliar with Bucharest so I was most interested in the parts of the story in that setting.

But the psychosexual peek into the author afforded by the ending was greatly not to my taste. I'm sure I'll read another one of these, should one eventuate; I'm forewarned that there will be disagreeable ladlings of heterosexual activity; I can only hope the author will feed me more Romanian atmosphere to help mask the bitter taste of it. I'd really like to smack the copyeditor, too, for failing to catch things like "peak" for "pique" and other such homophones. The w-verb bombing is present, too, and honestly should be a fine-able offense.

On the whole, a guarded and qualified endorsement of the story. ( )
  richardderus | Apr 7, 2023 |
cold-war, spies, thriller, action-adventure, betrayal, Europe, CIA, defecting, relationships, suspense, gypsy, ex-pat, mysteries, mysterious-character*****

It begins with betrayal and an explosion, and ends just as explosively. Well written and atmospheric with engaging characters who continue to live in the shadow world of espionage. Fine read.
I requested and received a free e-book copy from Oceanview Publishing via NetGalley. Thank you ( )
  jetangen4571 | Feb 27, 2023 |
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