Reviewed by Norm Goldman of
Gary D. McGugan has set his riveting thriller, A Web of Deceit,in the early days of COVID-19.
As the narrative evolves, one of the protagonists, Suzanne Simpson, CEO of Multima Corporation, a multi-national company, is apprehended by the FBI and charged with money laundering.
The charges are thereafter mysteriously abandoned. And as we slowly discover, someone in or around the White House had been influential in her arrest.
This is not the sole issue that Suzanne and Multima will encounter. Multima becomes the victim of fraudulent supplier invoices, culminating in substantial monetary losses.
Europe’s central bank withholds approval from Multima from doing business in Europe, reasoning that these billings were designed to unjustifiably launder the firm’s money offshore. The company further runs into complications with the Toronto Stock Exchange. It is pursuing a listing that would establish it the third-largest traded company in Canada.
And if that is not abundant to worry about, a couple of employees of the company meet disastrous endings costing them their lives.
While this part of the yarn develops, McGugan’s second protagonist, Fidelia Morales, seizes control of a villainous criminal entity known as The Organization after brutally slaying its chief honcho, Giancarlo Moreno.
Witnessing the murder is a criminal, Howard Knight, who had been snatched in Austria by Moreno’s goons. They whipped him to a pulp and transported him back to Moreno’s estate in Martinique, where the homicide unfolded.
Howard was on the run from The Organization after turning into an informant against them. He also looted a sizable sum of money from them. Moreover, he is the target of an Interpol Red Notice for his arrest.
After murdering Moreno, Fidelia asks Howard to join her in The Organization, but he rejects the offer and takes his chances. He chooses to live free of The Organization.
With the onset of the coronavirus spreading, Howard frustrates his pursuers and heads directly towards Cambodia, a country the developing virus had already infected.
Even though she does not trust Howard, Fidelia doesn’t press the issue and informs him he is free at last of The Organization. In the back of her mind, she aims to employ his services in the future, which, as we learn, develops into part of a convoluted plot.
After reinforcing her grip on The Organization, Fidelia recognizes that diverse criminal activities than the traditional kinds must be pursued to flourish during the pandemic.
This would encompass cyber technology. She sees an opportunity to siphon off billions of dollars from companies’ weak surveillance structures. Her new revenues base would involve banks, governments, and corporations such as Multima. To achieve her objective, she brings together a brilliant squad of technological experts.
After meticulous planning, Fidelia is in for quite a jolt when her project is in peril when she discovers that someone is stealing money from The Organization. It is a “no-no” when you have gangsters embezzling other gangsters!
You can well imagine what kind of retribution is exacted if the offenders are captured.
During the tale, McGugan fills his readers in on the broad and diverging landscapes of the lives of the two protagonists, and how their paths cross.
The above is the periphery of the narrative and is merely an inkling of the plot twists and dizzying journey. Believe me, there is plenty here to chomp on.
Once again, McGugan has crafted a bold, intriguing, and ultimately terrifying cerebral convoluted plot. And with an unfaltering hand, he effectively steers his readers to an unforeseen grand finale. He pulls out all the stops, repeatedly blindsiding his readers with shifts in the narrative and surprising turns of events.
Readers will become enmeshed in this carefully calibrated spine-chiller. And to keep score as to who's who in the novel, there is a list of the principal characters in Multima Corporation, Law Enforcement and The Organization on the first page
Dictionaries might define the word ‘rendezvous’ as a meeting with someone that is arranged for a particular time and place (and that is often secret); or a place where people agree to meet at a particular time; or perhaps a place where many people go to spend time. Here, Rendezvous is a place where we can share information and get to know each other better.
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