3 out of 4 stars
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J.E. Hall’s fiction, No Easy Money, is a story of three amateur thieves who tackle the many dilemmas that occur following a bank robbery. With a relaxing and enjoyable reading pace, I was immediately hooked by the engaging cadence and the generous sprinkling of sarcasm and humor. Draped in the author’s comedic writing style, the book also presents a fascinating look at the beginning of the Internet era and our technological world.
The plot follows the hijinks of the three main characters. Rick Gaines is the head of human resources at Affordable Electronics. His friend, Binny Jenkins, is a skilled computer programmer, while Oscar Anastas, Binny’s uncle, works as a professional bookie. Through no fault of his own, Rick loses his job, and after suffering much frustration while seeking new employment, he decides to join Binny and Oscar in their plan to rob fifty million dollars from a bank with the aid of Binny’s outstanding computer skills. The challenges that begin after the robbery underscore that there is no way of earning an easy fortune. The three of them go the extra length to cover their tracks, ensuring the money can’t be traced back to them. In doing so, they move to a different city and adopt aliases. Everything was going according to plan until they inadvertently put the career of a schoolteacher, Sara Simpson, in peril and must find a way to rectify the situation.
The book has a constant flow of active dialogue, blended with a welcome mix of irony and humor, which deftly etches out the characters’ personalities. The characters are realistically illustrated and gradually developed. For instance, Rick goes from a person afraid of losing his job to an individual who risks everything because he is tired of his boring and mundane life. The story is a manifestation of the karmic saying: What goes around comes around.
The amusing actions of the characters are also relatable and offer a reason for a good laugh. For example, Sylvia, Oscar’s wife, misunderstood a reading from Corinthians in church as a Kardashian reading, and Sara’s absent-mindedness and clumsiness created other hilarious scenes that left me in fits of laughter. The entire book was like a live scene unfolding in front of my eyes. The story uniquely combines a cyber component with a deceptive crime.
The book seemed edited, but the editorial and grammatical errors were continuous throughout the story. It is a catchy fictional read, and anyone interested in computer-oriented crime would immediately find him or herself completely immersed in the book. Apart from the usage of a few profane words, the book does not contain any obscene or explicit scenes. I gladly reward No Easy Money, by J.E. Hall, with three out of four stars.
No Easy Money
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