Review by CaitlynLynch -- The Expansion by Christoph Martin

This forum is for volunteer reviews by members of our review team. These reviews are done voluntarily by the reviewers and are published in this forum, separate from the official professional reviews. These reviews are kept separate primarily because the same book may be reviewed by many different reviewers.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
Post Reply
User avatar
CaitlynLynch
Posts: 445
Joined: 07 Apr 2017, 18:22
Currently Reading: Conquering Writer's Block and Summoning Inspiration
Bookshelf Size: 3245
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-caitlynlynch.html
Latest Review: The Hand That Feeds You by Amos Cartell
Reading Device: B01AZ7LQ00

Review by CaitlynLynch -- The Expansion by Christoph Martin

Post by CaitlynLynch »

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Expansion" by Christoph Martin.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


The Expansion is a geopolitical thriller based around a bid for, and the subsequent building of, an expansion to the Panama Canal. Max Burns, the protagonist of the novel, is the lead engineer of a British team bidding for the rights to build the project. Working with his old school friend Godfredo and Godfredo’s shady father Paco, Max and his team have to deal with the equatorial climate, Godfredo’s laissez-faire attitude and corruption from local officials at every turn.

Though Max’s former girlfriend Sarah broke up with him when he elected to take the job of a lifetime working on the expansion bid in Panama, a new love interest for Max enters the picture in the form of Karis Deen, an American paleo-archaeologist working in the Canal Zone. Karis’ involvement runs deeper than Max knows, however, as she is an undercover CIA agent with a mission to make sure the canal expansion is not sabotaged.

Max is a typical engineer; exceptional at his job and driven to succeed, sabotage and graft are incomprehensible to him. Unfortunately for him, this means that those with more nefarious motives see him as a useful fall guy, and it slowly becomes obvious throughout the book that Max is nothing more than a pawn in a game worth billions of dollars. A murder late in the book raises the stakes to terrifying levels and Max has to decide who to trust as he fights to save both himself and the project from disaster.

I didn’t find a single typo in the book and the word choices are appropriate for the genre - bad language and violence are to be expected on a construction site, after all! Pacing and sentence structure are excellent and the flow of the story is never interrupted by clunky exposition or unnecessary scenes. The author is to be congratulated for the quality of editing on these points.

I enjoyed The Expansion, but I thought that the book had some shortcomings. It was very light on engineering detail; while the history of the canal and the current economic and political climate was nicely filled in, there were no specifics on what the canal’s expansion would actually entail. Would there be new locks or extensions to original ones? Would the canal have to be closed at any point? Is the canal being deepened? These questions were not answered at all, and I found myself disappointed by this lack of detail.

The only characters who are really described in any detail are Max and Godfredo, and for them we only get character descriptions, not physical ones, which were reserved for the female characters in the book. I found it very hard to imagine what Max, in particular, looked like; describing him through Karis’ eyes would have been quite simple to do and it would have really helped the reader visualize the events of the book a lot better.

Ultimately, I felt that the pace of the book was too slow for a thriller, particularly quite a short one. The single murder in the book occurs very late on and until this point, there is very little ‘action’ happening. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about the geopolitics of Central America and the history of the Panama Canal, but I regret to say that as a geopolitical thriller, it’s not really all that thrilling. I am rating The Expansion three out of four stars.

******
The Expansion
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon | on iTunes

Like CaitlynLynch's review? Post a comment saying so!
User avatar
Gingerbo0ks
Posts: 735
Joined: 19 Mar 2017, 13:59
Currently Reading: All the Crooked Saints
Bookshelf Size: 168
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gingerbo0ks.html
Latest Review: "Strong Heart" by Charlie Sheldon
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Gingerbo0ks »

A good and informative review. I was hoping they'd be more action going on. I'm yet to make the decision to read this one yet.
"One must always be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
Latest Review: "Strong Heart" by Charlie Sheldon
User avatar
Izesicle
Posts: 748
Joined: 25 Jun 2017, 00:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 140
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-izesicle.html
Latest Review: With Malice Aforethought by Thonie Hevron
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Izesicle »

It's sexist to just provide physical descriptions of the women, not of the men. Just kidding :)
User avatar
CaitlynLynch
Posts: 445
Joined: 07 Apr 2017, 18:22
Currently Reading: Conquering Writer's Block and Summoning Inspiration
Bookshelf Size: 3245
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-caitlynlynch.html
Latest Review: The Hand That Feeds You by Amos Cartell
Reading Device: B01AZ7LQ00

Post by CaitlynLynch »

Izesicle wrote:It's sexist to just provide physical descriptions of the women, not of the men. Just kidding :)
What it does is make it very obvious that the book is written from a male point of view. Men don't think to describe other men, but they do tend to lovingly describe women. In my experience, female writers consider both - they are more likely to add very minute descriptions of hair, makeup, clothes etc too!
User avatar
Naval Aulakh
Posts: 719
Joined: 25 Jun 2017, 05:07
Bookshelf Size: 64
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-naval-aulakh.html
Latest Review: "The Deserving" by Efren O'brien

Post by Naval Aulakh »

The review is very good. I enjoyed reading it ?
Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Reading!!
Latest Review: "The Deserving" by Efren O'brien
User avatar
aussiebc
Posts: 2
Joined: 02 Aug 2017, 01:28
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by aussiebc »

I actually read in a blog about this book that the author Christoph Martin is the result of a collaboration of two writers, one female one male!
User avatar
jeminah28
Moderator
Posts: 1515
Joined: 09 Jun 2017, 19:28
Favorite Author: Still searching
Currently Reading: The Billionaires’ Handbook
Bookshelf Size: 1302
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jeminah28.html
Latest Review: Donny and Mary Grace's California Adventures by Catherine A. Pepe
2022 Reading Goal: 50
2022 Goal Completion: 56%

Post by jeminah28 »

wow!nice review. I agree with your review. it's hard to trust when the situation is critical. But one thing for sure...

Proverbs 3:5-6New International Version (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
"Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world."
User avatar
Skillian
Posts: 1026
Joined: 16 Nov 2014, 00:52
Bookshelf Size: 102
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-skillian.html
Latest Review: "The Christ Killer" by Robert Attenborough

Post by Skillian »

Very good review. The constructive criticism was on point. Especially when it comes to only the female characters being described I fully agree that it can be something easily overlooked since written from a male perspective (as you addressed in another comment). It probably feels pretty odd for men to have to describe men. However, people do tend to evaluate themselves. Especially when contemplating love interests and how they might view them. So I feel it could have been worked in somehow. I do agree that without sufficient description it can be harder to picture, and then harder to follow sometimes. I relate there. I am a very visual person.
I love LOVE. <3
Latest Review: "The Christ Killer" by Robert Attenborough
User avatar
ea_anthony
Posts: 609
Joined: 19 Jun 2018, 03:22
Favorite Book: Praying successfully
Currently Reading: Prisoners of Geography
Bookshelf Size: 650
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ea-anthony.html
Latest Review: McDowell by William H. Coles
2022 Reading Goal: 11
2022 Goal Completion: 9%

Post by ea_anthony »

Nice review, touched on the key ingredients of a good read - pacing, structure and flow. A shame it didn't meet your expectations or criteria cut-off to read as a proper thriller. As they say half bread is better than none, so Central American geopolitics and the history of the Panama canal will have to do.
Ignorance promotes divisiveness, knowledge encourages diversity. :techie-studyingbrown:
User avatar
MichaelJr
Posts: 1
Joined: 23 Sep 2018, 23:37
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by MichaelJr »

The expansion
I thought it was historical fiction, which I typically avoid because they're usually long and slow paced. If this is supposed to be a thriller, then the disappointment on the slow pace would be much more.
Post Reply

Return to “Volunteer Reviews”