Monday, 29 August 2011

Book Review: Conflict of Interest by Lauryn Christopher

I bought this in response to reviews at BigAl'sBooksandPals and A Grateful Bookaholic.  I must admit that I wasn’t disappointed.  It’s a great read.

Synopsis: Margret Harrison is a corporate consult who investigates companies for corporate raiders, etc. Her investigative skills come in useful for her alter-ego, Megan Harris, an assassin. Hits are a sideline she engages in when her consulting business is slack, with her using her legitimate business to lauder her ill-gotten gains.  After accepting a hit via an anonymous, encrypted website, she quickly discovers the job isn’t quite what it first appears to be.  Not only does her contractor lie to her, but when she learns more about the target she discovers an unexpected link – hence the Conflict of Interest.

Review: While Meg is trained in Mixed Martial Arts, and is a skilled assassin, she is not infallible and acknowledges there are areas – such as surveillance – where her skills are somewhat lacking. This makes her a believable character and adds to the novel’s tension. Surprisingly for an assassin, it’s easy to identify with Meg and feel empathy for her. In part, this is because of the interesting emotional conflict with which Lauryn Christopher presents Meg. In part, it is because the author gives Margaret/Meg a convincing back story that explains why she is an assassin, without exonerating her of the moral responsibility for her actions.

The reader is taken into the protagonist’s inner world and ends up rooting for Margaret/Meg. When her growing emotional involvement with the job results in Meg taking risks that could put her in jeopardy, a genuine question is raised as to how this will end. Meg is aware her emotional involvement is putting her at risk but, like most people, her emotions get the better of her. The reader understands why, and is fearful of the consequences for Meg.

The plot’s twists and turns were unexpected and, most importantly, not contrived. The story is written in such a way as to draw the reader in and encourage him/her to suspend disbelief. It is well paced, with just enough descriptive detail to flesh-out the scenes and locations, without slowing down the plot. My only complaint in that there were a number of typos and formatting errors, with some characters not being rendered correctly – such as the accented ‘e’ in café.

Conflict of Interest is a five star must read


BooksAndPals said...

It is good to hear you got this book based partially on my review, Jake. Even more important, I'm happy you agreed with my appraisal and enjoyed it.

Jake Hardman said...

Good to see you Big Al. Lauryn will be doing a guest post on my blog soon. I loved the main character in this novel. A very different protagonist to the standard Jack Reacher type of character.