Conspiracy, by Jacob Ganani

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Jacob Ganani for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Dabbling in the world of account balances and spreadsheets, I turned to Jacob Ganani’s latest financial thriller to get the blood pumping. With a number of great subplots and delving into the banking world, I took the plunge in a genre I would normally have left to gather interest elsewhere. Elijah Levi has issues in his personal life that he’s discovered cannot be handled on his own. His wife has been struck with a muscular disorder that is not only crippling, but also costs a great deal. While he has been employed with General Citizens Bank for many years and kept a spotless record, Levi uses his knowledge to scam Israel’s third largest bank out of a great deal of money through a complex embezzlement scheme. While doing so, Levi discovers something even more troublesome that the bank has been doing, which includes cheating the US Government out of a significant pile of its own cash. When the red flag goes up on Levi’s actions, officials within the bank are ready to terminate him and let the police take the appropriate action. However, Levi presents them with a deal to protect himself and keep the bank out of hot water. Officials are shocked that he would have the temerity to do or say much of anything, calling him nothing but a crook. Meanwhile, US officials think that they are on to the scam and trace General Citizens Bank back to some interactions with a Swiss financial institution, but they must tread carefully. As Levi knows too much, he will have to be handled before everything comes crashing down, but to do so may leave General Citizens Bank in hot water and create political turmoil between two political allies. An interesting take on a financial conundrum in this fast-paced thriller that will have the reader checking their bank balances soon after finishing. Recommended to those who enjoy stories with a financial spin to them, as well as the reader who finds pleasure in thrillers outside of the typical domain.

This was my first novel by Jacob Ganani, which introduced me to the world of financial thrillers. Ganani leads the reader on quite the adventure with this piece, targeting the intricacies of the banking world and how easy it can be to pull a fast one on unsuspecting clients. While the book offers up a few key storylines, Elijah Levi does prove to be the central character. His long career with the bank makes him a model employee, knowing the ins and outs of the system, which is potentially how he has been able to work his scam so effectively. Levi has a personal problem that can only be solved with money and has his eye on the millions that cross his desk on a daily basis. His love of a sick wife forces him to take action, though he tries to do so in as sly a manner as possible. He’s also able to see the bigger picture and the practices that General Citizens Bank is taking on, using that as leverage. While I would not say he ‘grows’ as a character, it is interesting to see how Levi uses what little power he has to turn the tables on his employer. A handful of secondary characters work their way into the story effectively, both in the Levi embezzlement plot and the larger scheme by the bank. Ganani offers up these characters both to entertain and educate the reader, which is done quite effectively. The story is flavoured not only by those characters, but also the setting for me. Israel is one of those places that I know or hear little about, outside of its political struggles in the region. Ganani offers a different spin to keep the reader interested, while not weighing them down with too much excessive editorialising. In a book well outside my usual genre, I was able to keep up with detailed chapters that explained some of the goings-on, as well as shorter ones to keep the plot moving effectively. There may be some technical aspects to the story, but Ganani shies away from alienating readers (like me) who do not have a strong financial background or a passion for the banking world. The writing was crisp and the narrative flowed well, using dialogue effectively to get the point across. I’d gladly suggest Jacob Ganani’s work to anyone looking for a different type of thriller that still keeps the tension and chills of any crime or legal one.

Kudos, Mr. Ganani, for a great piece. I will certainly recommend you to others and promise to be back to try some more of your work in the months to come.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: