What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Economics of Ego Surplus by Paul McDonnold

I'll admit, I was a little skeptical about this book when I first received my copy. But a read over the first chapter left me wanting to delve deeper, so I anxiously drifted into the pages. First, the summary from Goodreads: Part action novel, part literary novel, part guidebook to economics, The Economics of Ego Surplus is the story of college instructor Kyle Linwood. Anticipating a relaxing summer with his girlfriend and his PhD dissertation, he gets recruited by the FBI to help with an obscure case of terrorist internet "chatter," which explodes into a shocking, mysterious assault on U.S. financial markets. As the economy melts down and a nation panics, Kyle follows a trail of clues from Dallas to New York City to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In his quest to discover the truth, he will be forced to confront the assumptions underlying his education as well as his life. But will it be enough to save America from the most brilliant terrorist plot ever conceived?

Somewhere inside the mushy, love-struck girl who loves her YA books, is a piece of me who is fascinated by the world of business and politics, and was driven to get first a bachelor's degree in business, and then a master's degree in political science. That piece of me loves to read James Patterson and David Baldacci. Paul McDonnold's The Economics of Ego Surplus is along the same lines of their stories, so it pulled me into the story.

What I liked: 1) The plot - the mystery and suspense of the story kept me curious from the very beginning 2) The writing - I thought that this book was in danger of becoming too clinical, have too many terms that only economists would understand. But I was happy to find that that was not the case. I felt that the terms that were used were defined in layman's terms. 3) The fact that I got involved emotionally. There were several times when I was reading that I gasped out loud, then went back and re-read it, to make sure *yes, that really happened!*

What I didn't like: 1) The title - I hate to say it, but it's true. If I hadn't read the synopsis, I would have thought that this was some sort of textbook. 2) The character development - of which there was little. You get to know Kyle some, because the story is mostly told from his point of view. But I did find several times that I would have to go back and see who it was that was speaking. I would have felt more emotionally connected had I gotten to know the characters better.

Overall thoughts: If you like suspense thrillers like David Baldacci, then you'll get a kick out of this book. Look past the title and the cover, which are the biggest shortcomings of the novel, and you'll be involved in an intricate and completely new kind of story that as a lowly college student (not so lowly really) gets swept up in an FBI investigation that leads him halfway around the world.

My rating: 4 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

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