3 out of 4 stars
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“It’s easy to rob a rich man because he can afford it. It’s easy to rob a greedy man because he deserves it.” I remembered these words from one of the English lessons of my childhood while reading Never Again, Seriously by Forrest Steele. It begins with a drunken Paul Moore telling Jacob (Jake) Landon Foster about how he beat up a man for justice and then stating that he should have killed him instead. Jake is scared of talking to such a man but ends up blurting out how his boss at Global Source Enterprises (GSE), Malcolm Weaver, also deserves such a fate because he bullies him at work so much. As he continues to elaborate, we see that his intent is not in murdering his boss, but rather in weakening him by embezzling money from his company. He tells about the flaws and loopholes in the company’s security system and how it would all be so easy. He realizes that he has told too much to a stranger in a drunken stupor and leaves the bar in haste.
As Jake goes on with his hectic life at work, his idea of embezzling money and thus ruining his boss’ life goes stronger. After a heated argument at a meeting with his boss, he finally decides to carry out his plan. He knows that his boss is being greedy by pocketing most of the company’s profit for himself while issuing salary cuts to all his hardworking employees. Jake decides that Malcolm must go down.
The rest of the story is the explanation of how Jake begins his plan, executes it and worries about being caught. He manages to transfer around three and a half million dollars to fake accounts and later withdraws it as cash of his own. Each day he wonders when he would need to run from the authorities. He worries at every different mood of his boss, wondering if his crime has been detected. When Sharon Scott, the auditor assigned to his company calls him for a meeting, he gets a hint that an imbalance in the accounts has been detected. Will he be caught? Or would he be sympathized with?
This story has a very different twist than the other usual crime stories. The criminal is not portrayed as the actual criminal, but rather the protagonist and the reader sympathizes with Jake. His boss is the actual villain, because of his greedy action of lining his pockets with the hard earned money of his employees. Malcolm Weaver’s “right hand”, Arthur Temkin, is in charge of the company’s finances and knows about Malcolm’s greedy nature and the toll it is taking on the company resulting in absentia of many employees. Other prominent characters introduced are Willis Turek, Jake’s colleague who has a past with Sharon as “Trip”, unknown to anybody in the company and Colón José, a worker in GSE who tries to blackmail Jake to get a share of the money, threatening him that he’d reveal his secret if Jake resists. If I reveal any more characters, it would be a huge spoiler alert, so I would like to abstain from the same.
This story is very intelligently written. The twists are unpredictable since the reader is unable to identify whether fate wants to Jake to be caught or whether he should triumph. The characters he meets are a mix of both, for some say that he is doing the right thing, like ‘Robin Hood’, but some say he needs to think about right and wrong before he proceeded. The technological advancement of society is portrayed at its best, with phone tracking, GPS and other gadgets used for various purposes throughout the book. There are a few fight scenes, but they are realistic. They include guns and Indian martial arts of ‘kalaripayattu’ and the use of ‘chakrams’. Since they are not too hideous, I assure that this book is good for young adults and older. There are neither gory violence scenes nor explicit intimate scenes, which I’m sure would appeal to a lot of people like me.
Since there were too many spelling and grammar mistakes, I award this book 3 out of 4 stars. Since there were no flaws in the plot, the character development or the flow of the story, I would have awarded it 3.5 if it was possible. The author, Forrest Steele, deserves no less than 4 stars. The author's intelligence is portrayed even in the choice of title, which can be understood when one reads the book. Overall, an excellent read that I would definitely suggest to anyone, not just crime lovers. I hope that we may bring down bullies like Malcolm Weaver, in a more lawful way than embezzlement, to give our future generation a life of justice and happiness.
Never Again, Seriously
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