Thursday, July 17, 2014


RETURN ON INVESTMENT by Aleksandr Voinov

Pages: 336
Date: 17/06/2014
Grade: 5
Details: Copy received from author

The blurb:

“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.” 


My thoughts:

“With his less-than-conservative long hair he looked leonine – a predator in the boardroom, the feline equivalent of the shark prowling the seas for blood.”

‘Return On Investment’ starts with a bang. In fact, to say the prologue pulls you right into the story would be an understatement. I’m not going to say anything else about it except that I defy you to read those first few pages and not feel the urge to read on.

If I’m perfectly honest I have to admit that the words ‘financial thriller’ would under most circumstances be enough to turn me away from a book. In fact, the only reason I did not only want to read this book, but also all but begged the author for a review copy is my complete and utter trust in Aleksandr Voinov’s abilities to bring me a story I will lose myself in.

You have to admire an author who is able to completely captivate you with a thriller set in an environment you know little to nothing about and haven’t really been interested in either. But, Mr. Voinov managed exactly that. Martin’s journey gripped me from the first page and I only got more entranced as the story progressed.

In fact, most characters in this book intrigued me because none of them were what they at first appeared to be. I found myself changing my mind about characters as the story progressed. There were moments when I surprised myself by rooting for somebody I had previously despised and hating someone who had come across as a good guy only chapters before. In most thrillers the distinction between the good and bad guys is obvious from the start. In this book the reader has to wait and see. We learn as Martin learns and just like him we have are eyes opened to unpleasant truths as well as happy surprises.

Return On Investment is not be a typical Aleksandr Voinov romance. In fact I wouldn’t call this book a typical anything. ‘Return On Investment’ is basically a good story spanning various genres and more than lives up to the standard I’ve come to expect from this author. We meet characters who are far from perfect and all the more realistic and recognisable for it. And while the whole financial wheeling and dealing may be a bit more technical than I and other uninformed readers can properly follow, it is done with such skill and ease the reader can almost believe they understand it all. Besides, the whole ‘real-world’ financial debacle is fresh enough in our memories to allow us to understand the atmosphere even if we are a bit vague on the details.

Martin David may be a bit old for the concept but in many ways this is a coming of age story. Martin learns his way around life both professionally and emotionally, and it is a beautiful journey to observe. It was fascinating to watch Martin grow from rather innocent but eager to please into far more secure, balanced and fair.

First and foremost this book is testament to Aleksandr Voinov’s amazing ability to tell a terrific story. I am by now convinced I would read a fictionalised version of the telephone directory provided he had written it. His smooth writing combined with sparkling and realistic dialogue, fascinating characters and an intriguing plot never fails to captivate me. If you’ve enjoyed earlier titles by this author I would advise you not to be deterred by the ‘not a standard romance’ label this book comes with. Read the book; I would be surprised if you didn’t end up enjoying it far more than you thought you might. And you never know, you may learn something about financial shenanigans in the process.

Why the fuck had he agreed to sex? Because his body liked arrogant assholes far more than his rational mind did.”

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