Saturday, November 18, 2023

#Bookreview of The Count by Rod Taylor

The Count

By: Rod Taylor
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: November 28, 2023
ISBN: 979-8891320499
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: November 15, 2023
The story of The Count opens in Part I, with Nick Cameron’s interview in 1971 for a job at the American Bank in Great Britain. The manager, Mr. Lutz, was underwhelming at best in Nick’s opinion. As Mr. Lutz grilled Nick on his credentials, on queue, he would respond with the appropriate affirmations. All the while, however, Nick’s thoughts were focused on Mr. Lutz, "...Lutz was a smallish American with a pasty face and thick glasses. He appeared to put on an air of superior confidence that Nick thought probably covered up a real lack of confidence..." (pg. 5). When asked about his Russian background, Nick answered with ease that his mother was Russian, but was now British. He also added that he was fluent in Russian because his mother conversed solely in Russian with him. Lutz waived this offering off and absently mentioned it might be useful someday...As the story’s momentum builds, Nick finds himself at a crossroads when he discovers the improprieties in certain accounting practices of the bank.
It is now 1975 and when Nick shares this information with Lutz and Lutz’s colleague, Carmina (who also happens to be CIA), the only person to seem remotely concerned about this newfound information is Nick. At the same time, he learns of his personal connection to the Cossacks through his recently deceased mother’s journals. It seems he has a half-brother living in Russia. Coincidentally enough, Carmina offers to locate his brother in exchange for delivering a package to Moscow. Not long after this exchange, Nick finds himself on a plane bound for Moscow to deliver a package for Carmina and continue from there to meet his long-lost half-brother. Nick has no reason to suspect any wrong-doing and when he delivers the package, he is charged with smuggling and is immediately carted off to a labor camp in Siberia. Ten years later and enduring more than harsh camp conditions, Nick is nearly done for...will he ever get out of the labor camp and seek the revenge he so desperately wants?
Rod Taylor is the quintessential spinmeister of a juicy tale that has sparks flying off each page. Set against a backdrop of the Cold War, The Count is a high-speed, no brakes ride! Main character Nick Cameron is a likeable guy and seems to do the right thing and Taylor is a master at dropping surprises just when the reader may think he/she has it all figured out. The plot is rich and the predictability of this story is non-existent. Taylor anchors his voice from the onset which is key and the unexpected twists and turns make this a phenomenally engaging read. There is a fair amount of history woven into the storyline about the Cossacks as well as Russian history which made this novel all the more captivating and engaging. The fantastic ending is a sweet dish that Taylor serves up quite well! Simply put, this is a must-read.
Quill says: The Count is a fascinating tale that will have the reader sitting on the edge of his/her chair in anticipation of what’s next given the myriad of fantastic twists and turns.

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