With his thriller novel titled Total Control, David Baldacci succeeds in building up a tremendous amount of tension and intrigue in the world of high tech business takeovers.
The protagonist, Sydney Archer, is a lawyer with a prominent law firm and she is involved in the takeover deal between the company her husband’s is working for, a leading technology business, and a cash-filled buyer. Sydney’s husband, Jason is a rising executive at his company, but is involved in some secret project at his office, which keeps him busy day and night. He does not confer any details of the project to his wife, but tells her that, when it is completed, it would make all their dreams come true.
But then suddenly Sydney’s world shatters apart. Jason is reportedly killed in an air crash. At first, it seems just like an accident, but the FBI gets involved when sabotage is suspected — and then Jason’s name is linked to the sabotage and a multi-million dollar fraud scheme. Although the FBI tries to help her, but is very suspicious of Jason’s recent activities, Sydney tries to solve the case on her own as she wants to clear her late husband’s name. She gets pulled deeper into trouble as she gets closer to the real perpetrators, and her life is threatened. Furthermore, she has a disk with encrypted information that Jason had sent to her before his death, only she cannot decipher it and is frantically trying to find someone who can break the code for her while the antagonists are right on her heels in the process, trying to get hold of the disk themselves and stopping at nothing or no-one to get what they want.
After many twists and turns, the story climaxes with Sydney, her young daughter and her parents in grave danger and the diligent FBI agent fruitlessly trying to come to her aid.
I certainly liked the fast pace, the tension, the suspense and the many twists and turns in this outstanding book, although I had a few problems with the handling of the technology (keeping in mind that the book was first published about 13 years ago). One example was where an email message appeared on a computer screen and then suddenly disappeared again — gone forever. In my experience and knowledge it simply doesn’t work that way; not now and also not 13 years ago. But for the rest, I can only comment that this thriller novel provided me with ‘total’ enjoyment!
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