In this Brazil-set financial thriller, a British merchant banker tries to broker a delicate telecom deal.
After decades of military rule, Brazil began a process of redemocratization in 1985. In the late 1990s, its government began to open up the economy to privatization. Englishman Carlton “Carl” Matthews, 45, is the senior vice president of acquisitions for American company Laser Telecom (sometimes spelled “Lazer” in the text), which wants to go global. To that end, Carl is in São Paulo to acquire BrasTel, the state-owned telecommunications company. With him is business partner Robin Stephens, 40, who understands the nitty-gritty of dealmaking, and the boss’ son, Skip Watson, who, at 26, is more interested in chasing women than doing business. It’s a touchy deal, and several people warn Carl that he needs to understand the “real Brazil” to carry it out. Sure enough, complications ensue; for example, military factions are still in play in the government, with the most powerful figure being Gen. Ignacio Aranni. His ward, Alana, a beautiful young woman, takes a romantic interest in Carl, who’s besotted with her immediately. As various international players move their chess pieces in this high-stakes game, Carl must avoid danger while putting together the deal of his life—one that will leave him richer than ever. Debut author Rawl, CEO of Rawl & Associates, comes from the high-finance world he describes, and he provides much authentic detail in describing the complications of international dealmaking. The density of these details, however, will offer little excitement to most readers: “The base case and the downside models have one of the risk factors tied to the Morgan index.” The book brings a similar due-diligence attitude to every meal, lingering on food, wine, and cigar choices in ways that don’t advance plot or reveal character. These longueurs make the book a slow read despite some dramatic episodes of violence or sex. The ending is unresolved, but Rawl promises more installments of a planned series.
A high-finance novel that bogs down in deals, meals, and spinning its wheels.