4 out of 4 stars
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The Expansion by Christoph Martin is an extremely fast paced political thriller with international ties involving greed and deception. In the prologue, readers are automatically introduced to pain, betrayal, and greed as Edward and Helena Burns attempt to escape from the possibility of prison time for a financial felony. Edward Burns ultimately takes both his life and his wife’s in a fatal helicopter crash leaving their 16-year-old son Max to live with his Uncle Alan. Flash forward 15 years and Max is now a geomatic engineer who is being recruited by his old friend Godfredo Roco to come to Panama and place a bid to expand the Panama Canal. Along the way Max meets Karis Deen, a woman with a secret but also someone who could be a potential ally for Max Burns. Soon Max is framed for murder and sabotage after a brutal death of a high-ranking Panama official. Now it’s a race for Max and Karis to save themselves and possibly the Panama Canal.
The structure of the story allows the reader to flow through the story experiencing the same emotions with the different character perspectives. We receive the ultimate backstory of Max’s parents, but then move on to his adulthood. Then we see what Max’s childhood friend Godfredo has become and meet the reason behind it. From there, we follow Max and Godfredo as the maneuver through the Panama Canal expansion submission, deception, greed, fear, hopelessness, but attraction and excitement. Each chapter is a different character’s perspective which gives the reader a full experience. The reader can feel Max’s desire to go to Panama, and in another chapter, they can feel Godfredo’s anger with his family. The chapters are short but not too short that the reader receives only a glimpse of the situation.
The relationships are clear and concise. They grow and develop in the ways that normal relationships would. This assists the reader in making a connection with the characters. I enjoyed seeing the attraction between characters and feeling the blatant sexual tension. However, I was equally glad that Martin did not write a sex scene as I feel it would have taken away from the overall plot lines. There are already a lot of emotions and actions in the story that giving something extra like that would have made the story feel overwhelming. Martin does a magnificent job of keeping his readers connected but also separate.
To clarify I did read the story twice to be sure that I did not miss anything for this review. I also tried to make this an unbiased review by finding one thing that was wrong or that I did not like. Fortunately, there is nothing about this book that I didn’t enjoy. There is a cliffhanger at the end, but I feel that a really good book will leave a reader wanting more. And this reader certainly wants more from Christoph Martin.
I very greatly enjoyed this story. There was always something new to digest but as the reader you also received the appropriate information to keep the story interesting. There was never a moment where I thought that the author did too much or too little. I also did not find any grammatical errors that took anything away from the story. For these reasons I give the rating of 4 out of 4 stars. This is a story meant for teenagers and older. It is a fast paced story, and can only hope that Christoph Martin continues Max Burns’ story in a second book.
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