Risk by Mark Victor Young
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
***** 4 Cranky Stars *****
Martin is an insurance underwriter, who takes his job very seriously. Martin's 38 years are filled with work, books, visit parents on weekend and very little else. From his utilitarian apartment, to his beige Toyota, to his lonely lunch packed to eat in the lunchroom at the office every day, to his penny pinching ways, to his frumpy appearance, everything about this guy is as vanilla as can be.
George is a bike messenger with a degree in architecture, a girlfriend he's been with for years, toasts to his colleagues and Hermes, vegetarian lifestyle, is as opposite of Martin in every way possible.
The unlikely duo come together to solve a mystery Martin discovers when a risk he had been forced to write has a claim that doesn't make sense. The mystery itself is over the top pulp fun with every stereotypical bad guy you could want.
A very solid 4 rating as I cannot find any real negatives, but also struggle to find any positives that really set it apart. Very well edited and written, the story sucks you in while you aren't quite sure why. Those familiar with Toronto I'm sure will feel like they are there seeing the city through the characters eyes. As I am not, I sometimes felt there was a bit too much description of location using street names, neighborhood names and assorted landmarks, but I cannot say that this truly took anything away from the story overall.
Ever read a book that you can't figure out why you like it as much as you do? This one is absolutely that book for me. I have a background in insurance, and Young has made Martin a perfect caricature of many dull, geeky, odd people I have known throughout my life - the kind perfectly suited for the insurance business. While not exactly loveable, you certainly can't hate him either. I feel much the same about hippie stud George, and the two actually complement each other well, as unlikely as their friendship and partnership are. Refreshingly clean read all the way around. The suspense and mystery are certainly there without explicit language, violence or sex. The writing style is a bit different, in a very welcome way.
The preview chapter of another work by this author is included at the end, and has left me feeling an urge to read as well. The story is quite different, but the uniqueness of the author's style ties the two books together in my mind.
We recommend this one for all ages, but mostly grown people.
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