3 out of 4 stars
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Saving the Karamazovs by Gary Goldstick follows Jerry Bascomb as he attempts to save his family's security business. It has been crippled by a scheme concocted under the noses of his two brothers, who lead the company, and Jerry must navigate corporate politics and bank deals to rescue the livelihood of his loved ones. He also has to deal with the drama caused by his relationship with Helen, his brother Jeff's former mistress.
Every character in the book is very deeply flawed, so while it can be hard to root for them at times, their interactions are always interesting, and the narrative is concluded in a satisfying way. This is certainly a book for mature audiences with a lot of life experience and empathy. Otherwise, you're liable to spend most of the book angry at the characters. The constant comparisons between the Bascombs and the Karamazovs, the famous literary family that the title alludes to, become a bit repetitive at times, but they still give the story enough cohesion to keep it together.
It's also notable that the characters are extremely believable. The dialogue is realistic, and the descriptions of the characters' actions do a good job of conveying emotion. Narrative threads are never brought up or resolved by unrealistic or unfounded behavior, which is a personal pet peeve of mine, and everyone's motives are clear enough to understand without destroying all tension.
Unfortunately, this book does have its flaws. Its treatment of minorities is shallow at best - for example, Helen is bisexual only to show that she is sexually promiscuous. One of the people involved in the business, Charlie, is blatantly racist only to make Jeff seem sympathetic for standing up to him. These plot points have little impact on the overall narrative, but they border on insensitive, and they're so cliché that I have to wonder why the author included them at all.
The book's editing is also a bit lacking. There are simple typos that reflect insufficient due diligence or editing; "auf wiedersehen" is spelled as "aufwederzehn," and "boulder" is spelled as "bolder." The book also includes several instances of incorrect hyphenation, capitalization, and punctuation. In general, I was able to overlook most of these errors, but they still detracted from my immersion.
Despite its flaws, I found Saving the Karamazovs to be an enjoyable read, so I rate it 3 out of 4 stars. Just from the plot, you should be able to tell whether or not you'll enjoy it as well. It involves a great deal of family drama, as well as some rather in-depth discussion of the intricacies of business operations, so fans of either or both of these themes will be pleased. There are also many sexual themes, so I'd caution against letting younger audiences read this book.
Saving the Karamazovs
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