Friday, February 21, 2014

419 by Will Ferguson

Will Ferguson's 419 is a fascinating look into an email scam coming out of Nigeria. I hadn't realized how wide reaching these correspondences were when I first received one in my inbox a few years ago. A quick read-through informed me that it wasn't anything more than a ham-handed attempt to get a hold of my banking information and part with my money. I deleted it, of course, but not before taking a closer look. The writing sounded so earnest, so sincere, so desperate, that it got me to wondering about its origins and if anyone ever does indeed fall for it. After that I didn't think of it again until this book came out exploring the what-ifs on the victim's side and the complex background of the perpetrator's side. I say 'what-if' because I've never actually heard of anyone falling victim to the scam, but supposing they had . . .

Anyway, it's part fiction and part non-fiction, part murder (suicide?) mystery and part revenge story. And although it brings up some interesting cultural and historical parallels and paradoxes it isn't really much more than a quick weekend read. I found Laura's going solo to Nigeria to exact revenge on a shadowy internet scam cartel exciting but highly improbable. Grief and anger can make people do some pretty foolish things, I suppose, but the ending was a bit of a reach for me.

(back cover)
From internationally bestselling author Will Ferguson comes a novel both epic in its sweep and intimate in its portrayal of human endurance. 
A car tumbles through darkness down a snowy ravine.
A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in Sub-Saharan Africa.
And the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims.
Lives intersect. Worlds collide. And it all began with a single email: "Dear Sir, I am a daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help..."
Will Ferguson takes readers deep into the labyrinth of lies that is "419," the world's most insidious internet scam. 
When Laura Curtis, a lonely editor in a cold northern city, discovers that her father has died because of one such swindle, she sets out to track down - and corner - her father's killer. It is a dangerous game she is playing, however, and the stakes are higher than she can ever imagine.
Woven into Laura's journey is a mysterious woman from the African Sahel with scars etched into her skin and a young man who finds himself caught up in a web of violence and deceit. 

1 comment:

Kailana said...

I have this on my TBR and hope to read it one of these days!