Title: Return on Investment
Author: Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh
Rating: 5.00 of 5 Stars
Martin David, an eager but inexperienced financial analyst, is the newest member of the investment team at Skeiron Capital Partners in London. His boss is an avowed financial genius, but he’s also overbearing and intense. Despite his erratic behaviour, Martin can’t help being drawn to him both professionally and personally.
Too bad his boss doesn’t seem to feel the same. In a firm where pedigree and connections mean far more than Martin’s newly-minted business degree, Martin feels desperately inadequate—at least until he meets the enigmatic investment manager Alec Berger, who promises to help Martin establish himself in the financial community. Martin is so charmed by Alec’s sophistication and wit that he gives him data that should have stayed confidential.
Then the financial crisis hits. Banks burn, companies teeter on the brink, and Skeiron’s survival is at stake. Martin is pushed into the middle of the fight for Skeiron—against both the tanking economy and a ruthless enemy who’s stepped out of the shadows to collect the spoils.
Martin David is a numbers cruncher at Skerion Capital Partners, a research analyst. He keeps an eye on the market, who’s doing what and how well, pulling everything together for the partners, the money investors who buy up companies and the sell them on years later for a nice shinny profit. He wants more though; he wants to be a buyer rather than a researcher, but for now he works long hours for little gain under the ever watchful eye of forceful and demanding Senior Partner Francis de Bracy. Accompanying Francis on a finance gathering trip to Dubai Martin is introduced to Alec Berger, an investment manager for a consortium of rich and powerful men. Alec is an enigma, a mesmerizing man, and it doesn’t take long for Alec’s charm to lure Martin into his bed.
Things start to change at Skerion with the addition of a new Junior Partner, John Cameron, and Martins subsequent promotion to Associate. Is it coincidence that this happens just as Alec Berger appears in London and what does all the gifts Alec bestows on Martin mean? As Martin gets more involved at Skerion, working ever closer to Francis, the finance world around them starts to fall apart. Francis had seen the signs and tried to warn his colleagues but no one at Skerion was listening. As Skerion itself starts to suffer Alec reappears on the scene as part of a takeover bid. Just where does this leave Martin and Francis?
I’ve wanted to read Return on Investment ever since I first read the blurb, and it lived up to all my expectations, I loved it. It is a very hard book to define though, it’s definitely not a romance, it’s billed as a financial thriller, but I think it’s ultimately a coming of age story for Martin, a growing up story, a defining who you are and what you want story, set among a turbulent time in the finance world. It’s perfect for anyone who wants something different to the standard mm romance.
The story unfolds gradually, after a heart stopping prologue, but even with its measured pace it’s absorbing and captivating, I couldn’t put it down. It does have some really dark elements, including a dub con scene, which might be a trigger for some people, but it’s subtly done and essential to the story. The twists and turns are finely drawn and in a way the story almost turns on its head half way through. I found I understood the finance jargon, it wasn’t written in a complicated or confusing way, the language was easy to follow and I understood what was happening. Of course it helps that I love the murky world of traders and investment managers, where money is literally just numbers which don’t mean anything else, until you don’t have any left of course.
Martin comes over as intelligent and thoughtful, with a burning desire to do well, to get on, to be something, he doesn’t want to sit on the sidelines he wants to be in the thick of the action. He’s hampered by his lack of money, of status, and he feels inadequate, especially next to Francis and Alec. He also wants Francis, is attracted to him, but the man is aloof, distant, a workaholic who treats everyone around him as lesser beings, except the investors of course, to them he is charismatic and charming.
Alec Berger on the other hand is confident and powerful, it’s obvious from the beginning he’s manipulating Martin, grooming him, trying to maneuver him into the position he wants him to be in for his own benefit. Initially I doubted he meant Martin harm, but right from the beginning it was obvious he was using Martin for his own end. As the story unfolds Alec’s dark and dangerous side begins to show through. People mean nothing to Alec, for him it’s all about the money and the game.
When I first met Francis I didn’t like him but as the story unfolded my feelings changed and in the end I respected him and he became my favorite, after Martin of course, the whole story revolves around Martin. I also have to say that I adored Josh, he was the perfect friend for Martin, and they complimented each other very well. As for the love story, yes it’s there, I can see it, and it’s part of what makes the book for me, but its very much a blink and you’ll miss it love story, you need to read bettween the lines to see it grow.
I can’t really say much more about the story, except to reiterate that I loved it. It’s exactly the kind of book that I look for, a book that doesn’t come along very often, a book that lives up to and exceeds its reader’s expectations. For anyone who wants a story that’s interesting and unusual, a story that challenges them, don’t hesitate to pick up Return on Investment, I really can’t recommend it highly enough.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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