Reviews: The Trail of Money

FOUR STARS
By Dave Solomon, posted on Amazon 8 June 2015, Rating = 4 stars
good read & suspenseful
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TRAIL
By Joan Miller, posted on Amazon 28 September 2014, Rating = 4 stars
Many twists and turns before Erin’s murderer is discovered. The plot is complex, believable. Harry is super brave, not so believable!
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FRESH AND FAST MOVING
By Paul R. Scherer, posted on Amazon 8 June 2014, Rating = 5 stars
A slightly different twist to the murder mystery genre. A peak into the world of Hong Kong that a tourist would not see.
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WELL DONE

By Geraldine Hodges, posted on Amazon, 7 December 2013, Rating = 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed Shapiro’s novel set in exotic Hong Kong. A skillful combination of mystery, romance, plot turns, and character development. A strong, but not too stong, hero with credible skills and weaknesses, this is a good book, worth reading. I think I will try “Ghosts of the Red Line”. WEH

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THE BUSINESS OF MONEY

By Grady Harp (an Amazon Top 50 Reviewer, Vine Voice), posted on Amazon, 27 March 2013, Rating = 4 Stars.

Just when we all have the sense that this country is in that strange place of financial crisis repeating financial crisis and uncovering perpetrators on a regular basis, along comes Peter David Shapiro with a thriller novel about the ins and outs of China wheeling and dealing that makes what is happening here almost seem inconsequential. Of course it is a case of apples and oranges as one is reality and one is fiction – or is it?

One very important attribute of a successful writer is finding that tightrope of suspense based on relatable issues and populating a story with characters who resemble real people in such a frightening way that the novel becomes addictive to the final page. Shapiro places an American consultant group in Hong Kong to assist a merger only to discover that the merger involves far more depth of corruption than is apparent to anyone. He is able to draw a main character with whom we all can identify, add a valid love interest, allow enough unknowns to enter the story to keep it an edge of the seat suspense thriller and yet at the same time provide spaces of breathing room when purely human needs are being exercised.

Shapiro has that tested knowledge of breaking each character’s history into the running of the storyline that makes the reader stay ever alert as to the significance of the timing of every new bit of information. It simply works. And for those readers in search of a skillfully writen mystery/suspense novel, THE TRAIL OF MONEY will certainly satisfy.

THRILLER!

By Sara Sgarlat, posted on Amazon, 23 February 2013, Rating = 5 Stars.

I enjoyed every page of The Trail of Money! And learned a lot about Hong Kong and a bit about Mainland China!

Shapiro spins a wonderful story of intrigue, very detail oriented! I am waiting for his next novel.

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A GREAT READ!

By Jack Rochester, posted on Goodreads, 30 January 2013, Rating = 4 Stars.

Peter David Shapiro has delivered a contemporary successor to the often overly long and boring tales of the likes of John Le Carre to unite two consultants-cum-detectives in an exotic and sophisticated city, Hong Kong, to solve a murder and a money-laundering case, both of which seem to stump and stymie the local constabulary. It’s a story of a love long ago lost, of two partners united in their professional pursuit yet at odds over the woman, and another love more recently and painfully lost. Shapiro weaves these personal events into the two consultants’ professional lives in realistic and artistic ways, enriching the story with jealousy, doubt, a nice dose or two of sex, and a lot of twists of the tale.

I like a novel with believable characters and a unique plot. I’m pretty tired of the same-old same-old commonly found in mystery, espionage, spy and thriller novels. Shapiro demonstrates, through his writing skill, an understanding of the genre, most especially by incorporating contemporary Asian business-and-politics theme into the Shanghai and Hong Kong setting. He describes Hong Kong so well you can almost see it, and wish you really were seeing this glittering, elegant, multicultural city that twinkles twice in the reflected light across its harbor. His perspective is so current, in fact, that I just read a remark in the New York Times about how Mao might have changed a lot of stuff, but he didn’t change the basic greedy nature of the human animal. Shapiro demonstrates just how true that is in “The Trail of Money.” We follow the trail along with his two main characters, casting our gaze upon one character after another, each of whom is capable of being the suspect, yet experiencing an “Aha!” moment when we finally see who it really is.

One of my favorite recent quotes is, “It’s not the mystery that entertains you, it’s the things that happen along the way.” I think a lot of mystery-writers need to pay attention to that. Peter David Shapiro does a good job of it.

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“FOLLOW THE MONEY” WORKS…MOST OF THE TIME
By fredtownward (an Amazon Top Reviewer, Vine Voice), posted on Amazon 19 January 2013, Rating = 5 Stars
“Eminent Domain”, government’s power to seize private property for public use (however defined), is an ugly necessity that even our Founding Fathers recognized, but a very important limitation on it was enshrined in the Bill of Rights: the requirement for “just compensation”. Still, not even that has completely prevented vicious legal disputes, injustice, ruined lives and businesses, even murder. In a country without such thing as individual rights or truly effective rule of law, you’d expect things to be worse, and so they are. Village Number Four didn’t even have a proper name, much less any chance of either preventing its demolition or obtaining just compensation for its villagers, but events are set in motion here that will see at least some of the guilty pay the ultimate price…

along with some of the innocent.

Peter David Shapiro has written a marvelously twisty thriller that will keep you guessing (and probably reading without pause) until the very end. Management Consultant Harry West, having seen his life all but destroyed, leaps at the chance to evaluate a business deal in Hong Kong, a routine assignment, or so he thinks. But nothing is routine about this assignment: corruption, money laundering, threats, beatings, murder, and serious doubts about whom (if anyone) he can really trust: government bureaucrats, wealthy businessmen, the police, investigative journalists and their sources, friends and colleagues, present and former loves, etc. When someone involved finally turns up murdered, the stakes for Harry at least get raised off the chart, and Harry is in a race against time to catch the murderer or murderers. Ultimately, Harry must turn to the skills that made him such a successful management consultant in the first place in order to ferret out the truth.

I knew you could write a novel about management consulting; I just didn’t know you could write such an exciting novel about management consulting! I’m also amazed that this is a self-published novel. Having suffered through more than my share, I can usually tell, but not this time. Why DIDN’T a publisher pounce on this novel when they had the chance (if they had the chance)? The world wonders. Perhaps it has something to do with the first Harry West novel, which this novel is a prequel to, being about management consulting applied to the problem of…

Ghosts on the Red Line. Yeah, I might have passed on that one, too, but now I shall be haunted until I have read it….

Note: For full disclosure I received this book from the author in return for agreeing to review it.

A MYSTERIOUS, THRILLING ADVENTURE

By Wendy L. Hines “Minding Spot” (an Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, Vine Voice), posted on Amazon 26 December 2012. Rating = 5 Stars.

The Trail of Money is a thrilling ride, from cover to cover. Harry West just can’t catch a break. Still reeling with grief over the loss of his daughter and his crumbling marriage, he throws himself into his work. He goes to China to evaluate a business deal with the son of one of the richest men in Asia.

However, that’s not how it all goes down. Nothing is ever simple. Unbeknownst to Harry at the time, Edward Woo has connections to the Chinese Mob and is deeply involved in money laundering. He has plans to take over his father’s company and Harry finds himself barely treading water as he investigates.

The world-building is unique and complex, filled with wonderful, fully developed characters that have their own agendas. Harry is a very likable protagonist and Shapiro paints a vivid and detailed past and present that sets up a precarious future for Harry, unless he can overcome some personal issues. But it’s the adventure in finding the truth that overlaps everything and kept this reader riveted from cover to cover. I highly enjoyed it!

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A GREAT READ!

By Book Addict (a Top Amazon Reviewer, Vine Voice), posted on Amazon 21 December 2012. Rating = 4 Stars.

Shapiro takes us to the streets of Hong Kong, where Boston-based consultant Harry West gets wrapped up in corruption on both business and government levels. The plot is intricate, set in a world where everyone has something to hide. We learn the facts along with Harry, and the unknown keeps us slightly off balance along with him.

Harry is a complex character. He’s slightly damaged from a tragic past. He has strong feelings for a woman he can’t have, and is finally opening up to the possibilities of a future with someone new. His past and future collide in the midst of his struggle to get his job done before time runs out.

This is a fascinating, plot-driven story. The only reason I’ve given it 4 stars instead of 5 is because, at times, details were rehashed between multiple characters through various scenes, and this slowed the pace down considerably for me.

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MUST READ BACK STORY FOR GHOSTS ON THE RED LINE

By Dutch Girl, posted on Amazon 17 December 2012. Rating = 5 Stars.

My introduction to this fine author came via his first book, Ghosts on the Red Line. His second book is a great back story on his main character, Harry West, and the formation of his consulting business located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harry’s business partner and good friend resides in Hong Kong where the company’s branch office is located. While most of this story takes place in Hong Kong, you are also given background on Harry’s life in the States and his relationship with Erin Haig, the ravishing redhead he meets on the flight to Hong Kong. Coincidentally, Harry’s partner is also married to a Chinese woman who was the love of Harry’s younger life, and this only adds to the intriguing situations that occur in this story. I think the other reviews of this book really are spot on, and I don’t have much to add other than to urge readers to also read Peter David Shapiro’s first book, too. It honestly doesn’t matter in which order you read them either. While Ghosts on the Red Line is not as rough and tough as this second effort, it is my favorite in the “series” thus far (since I very much hope the author will keep the adventures of Harry coming). Both books are definitely rated 5 stars.

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NON-STOP THRILLS

By Ionia Martin (a Top 500 Amazon Reviewer), posted on Amazon 11 December 2012. Rating = 5 Stars.

Wow! What a thrill ride. When I decided to read this book, I hadn’t read the previous book by this author and wasn’t sure what to expect. This thriller quickly grabs a hold of the reader and refuses to let go until the very end. Because this author is so great at building suspense and giving vivid descriptions, reading this book was much like watching an action movie.

Usually thrillers are not my taste in books because I have seen the plots repeated so many times that I always prepare myself for a letdown. This is not the case with “The Trail of Money.” As the characters struggle with their own issues and have to face the reality of their individual situations, Mr. Shapiro also manages to please his readers with plot twists and original ideas that make this book a lot of fun to read. I found the main character to be quirky enough to hold my attention and appreciated the way humor was used to dispel the seriousness of the subject matter. The main character was believable and likable, which is always important with me if I am going to enjoy a book. I felt by the end, like I was reading about an old friend.

What I found made this so brilliant was how the various elements of the story were weaved together a little at a time until a story of intrigue, determination, suspense and perseverance of the human spirit emerged. This author has a superior grip on how to choose his wording carefully for the maximum effect. I was never bored while reading this book and actually found myself wondering what I would read next that could be as good as this was. The pace of the writing matches the plot and the characters. I appreciated that the end of this book did not feel rushed in any way and the author took the same painstaking time to craft it as he did the rest of the book.

If you are looking for a light, easy bedtime read this is not your book. If instead, you are looking for a truly entertaining, very well-crafted tale that will keep you away from bedtime turning pages, this is definitely the one to pick. I will have to go find the other book that is available by this author now.

In summation, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for some excitement. Highly recommended.

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LIVING AND DYING WITH GLOBALIZATION

By Bob Bickel (a Top Amazon Reviewer, Vine Voice), posted on Amazon 8 December 2012. Rating = 5 Stars.

Peter David Shapiro’s novel The Trail of Money is an interesting and easy read, loaded with suspense, and it comes with an ending that took me completely by surprise. Shapiro has a disarmingly straightforward prose style that innocently sets us up to be shaken a bit, maybe even frightened, by the brutal world of big-money east Asian power brokers in which the story is set. We’ve all seen journalistic accounts of globalization and the opportunities for corruption and abuse of power it creates, but The Trail of Money brings all this painfully to life. Shapiro makes us feel the greed and amoral destructiveness that accompanies the hand-in-glove relationship between corporate clout and political power that seems an inescapable fact of contemporary life, whether in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, or, for that matter, the U.S.

Shapiro writes to entertain, and he succeeds in doing just that. However, this is an author who has done his homework. He understands and graphically portrays the nerve-wracking powerlessness that many of us share in a world where commonly used categories of politics and economics — democracy, capitalism, communism, pluralism, libertarianism … — have ceased to differ one from the other, with all subsumed by an indifferent but menacing world-wide plutocracy. A hopeless set of circumstances where the only good that comes is by accident, or so it seems.

Shapiro, however, also understands that we live in a world where one still finds strong-willed, intelligent, creatively engaged individuals. As a result, even immeasurable wealth, and power organized on a continental scale have their limits. Ironically, moreover, in the Trail of Money the heroes and heroines do not come from the ranks of political activists, social reformers, or progressive do-gooders of any sort. Instead, they are some pretty ordinary people for whom making the world a better place may be a nice idea, but first they want to make a comfortable living for themselves and their families while maintaining their integrity and, at least occasionally, having a good time.

Yes, there are plenty of villains and a lot of large-scale evil in Shapiro’s book. But his main characters are motivated by very ordinary personal factors, things like falling in love, doing their jobs well, being a good friend, and, when circumstances force their hand, avenging harm done to those they care about. In the process, they sometimes trip themselves up, mistaking friend for enemy and enemy for friend, causing hurt feelings, and, at least for the short-term, generating ill-will. Often enough, however, they manage to set things right, though, inevitably, some are lost along the way. After all, Shapiro is a realist.

The Trail of Money is a well-crafted thriller set in a thoroughly modern context, one that any of us can appreciate as an important part of the world we live in. It’s true that Shapiro occasionally makes getting things done in such an environment seem a bit easier than is plausible. Still, this is a good read, one that has prompted me to look for copies of Shapiro’s earlier work, expecting that it, too, will be to my taste.

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CORRUPTION IN THE NEW CHINA

By Fred Camfield (a Top Amazon Reviewer), posted on Amazon 6 December 2012. Rating = 5 Stars

There seems to be something in human nature that causes greed. Chairman Mao tried to root it out of China, the human nature outlasted him. This novel is set in present day China, where a new class of elite government officials and entrepreneurs have enriched themselves, sometimes by graft. As everywhere, illicitly obtained money has to be laundered by some means. China may impose a death penalty for corrupt officials.

Blair-West International is a consulting firm specializing in telecoms. They have been retained by a government agency in Hong Kong to review the proposed takeover of a company. The job should be simple enough – reviewing documents and interviewing people involved, but all is not as it seems. There are questions about the source of the funding for the buyout. Some ambitious people are willing to sell their souls to the devil, and family relationships only go so far when business is involved.

This is a tale of intrigue and revenge. The bad guys hired the wrong accountant, and he has an old score to settle. The problem, from his standpoint, is getting information to the right people, and getting enough attention to prevent the case from being swept under the rug. Enter a crusading newspaper staff. Ah, but getting attention – sacrificing a few people to draw international attention is part of the agenda. Be careful who you do deals with.

This novel holds your attention as you continue reading to see how it all shakes out. It does have a few twists.

I was asked by the author to review the novel. I have found that self published novels include the good, the bad, and the ugly. This was one of the good ones.

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PETER DAVID SHAPIRO! YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!

by Tom McGee (a Top Amazon Reviewer, Vine Voice), posted on Amazon 25 November 2012.  Rating = 5 Stars

Although I do not know author Peter David Shapiro, he contacted me via Amazon.com and asked me if I would be willing to read and review a free copy of his novel, “The Trail of Money.” I agreed and am so glad I did.

Having just read “The Last Man” by Vince Flynn, I did not expect much from an author I had never heard of; however, I was pleasantly surprised by “The Trail of Money”. In fact, hold on to your hats and brace yourself for a twisting turning suspenseful ride that will make you want to read more by this author. I was so intrigued by this 323-page murder suspense novel that I read it in one sitting, yesterday and wager that you will too!

At the onset, the author takes the reader back to 1994 and a peasant village in Shanghai, China where powerful secret corrupt governmental sources use eminent domain to obtain space for “New Shanghai,” the fourth village obtained at the expense of their residents–an act that resulted in Chen Qiwei’s parents suicide and his life’s mission to bring down those responsible.

Fast forward ten years to 2004 Hong Kong where the author introduces one of the richest men in Asia, the owner of a giant holding company and board member of Hong Kong Wireless (HKW), Woo Jian-Min.

In his forties, rich, yet insecure, Edward Woo seeks the respect that his father holds. Edward is a dangerous man with connection to the Chinese Mob–the Triad. With the backing of the corrupt and sinister money laundering, Shanghai based “New China Property Fund” who helped him finance his impressive TelePhase corporation and against his father’s will, Edward plans a forced takeover of HKW.

Elsewhere strangers on a United Airlines flight in route to Honk Kong, passengers Erin Haig and Henry West become acquainted while sitting together. At the time, they did not know that their jobs would pit them against those willing to do anything to accomplish their mission.

“The Trail of Money” is a descriptive, fast-paced suspense novel that will keep readers on their toes guessing who is responsible for the violence and corruption at the centerpiece of this entertaining story.

The author does an excellent job developing characters, a great storyline and vivid settings.

It has a spellbinding quality that makes it difficult to put down. I whole heartedly recommend this novel to those who love a great international suspense novel!

Enjoy!