I have never been addicted to any kind of online games or video games. But the kind of games we see around us today, I wish I could be six again so that I could play some of those games. Even though gaming companies are coming up with high end games, social games and games like Farmville etc. I still feel like starting afresh.
The concept of bitcoins is introduced only recently and so far I used to think that it was some Japanese innovation. But this book made it clear to me about the history of bitcoins but that is only a small part of the whole story.
The best part of being an active blogger is we get all such books to read and share our thoughts for free of cost. For example this book was sent to me by Blogadda and I will be ever thankful to them for that. Because even if we read thrillers not every book makes a lasting impression in our minds. This is one such rare books that I will read, re-read and also refer others to read because other than the new subject of bitcoins this book is an ocean of knowledge in modern international hi-tech crimes. Crimes related to technology, banking, entertainment and society.
The story is about a newly launched gaming company that wants to be successful in online gaming and modelled like the popular Facebook game Farmville is designed. But Farmville existing in the social platforms it was difficult for them to make a mark. While the company founder Aditya was forming this company he reunited with his Standford educated son Varun. As the new company was struggling to find the right strategy for being successful young Varun takes charge and turn the company over.
At the same time an ATM heist takes place in New York. Criminals swindled $5 million from different ATMs across the city using five cloned debit cards of HNI personnel. While doing the investigation FBI comes across the involvement of Islamic militant groups and some of the links connected to a major Indian bank.
Investigating officers also unearthed how the money was transformed immediately into bitcoins and went to an undisclosed account. This crime trail led to a highly secured but anonymous network of CottonTrail that allowed its users to be anonymous while trading anything including drugs. This cotton trail used bitcoins the international currency of online trading. It seemed that one person with the nickname Altoids is behind this. It was eventually clear to the investigators that Altoids would have used single router connection to connect to internet always or would have used a VPN for connection.
The new Indian gaming company eventually could find out the rights strategy and launch with great success. Within no time they clinched all crowns in the gaming glory and users started downloading their game in devices that could connect to internet. The new leader Varun has showed the way to the company and replaced Farmville.
In the meantime authorities in Dell started getting complaints that some of their laptop batteries are catching fire for seemingly no reason. The overcharging comes out as the cause and Dell replaces them with no cost but could not find any issue with their manufacturing. But this caught FBI attention when some other devices like tablets and some smartphone users, too has raised the same complaint.
In the meantime the CEO of the reputed Indian bank commits suicide. Her affair with Indian Finance Minister was in the news for sometime, so when she commits suicide everyone suspects the minister for the same. Eventually the FBI team finds link between all different crimes and they come to India in connection.
In India FBI takes help of CBI to crack the case and resolves the case in highly dramatic way. The seemingly unrelated incidents and crimes were connected and the mastermind was nailed down. Due to some political reasons the mastermind was booked only for one crime whereas she was guilty of many other more serious offences.
As a reader I was thrilled reading this book till this climax. I felt the author had crafted his thriller very well upto this point but there came a twist in the story, when after sending the suspect to jail, FBI sleuths find another fresh hint of starting a new Cotton Trail. This time it is version 2.0.
This twist towards the end opened up new questions to the readers. The solution reached by the sleuths was actually not the solution, there was another game behind the story that FBI was made to understand. The mastermind was happily enjoying the life in a different part of the world.
What happens next, how do the sleuths catch the mastermind or they go wrong again? You need to find out by reading this book.
Even though this book will thrill any person who loves such thrillers I was little bit disappointed by the end. I felt the author just wanted to transfer the blame of such high end global crime to a man. It was done in haste and the last few chapters did not go well with rest of the book. When we see that somehow a man is blamed that might be to go with the popular notion that the biggest crimes are committed by the men. Even though there is another way of looking at it. The crimes described in the book, are all high end sophisticated crimes that needed a lot of technical and banking knowledge. Those also needed knowledge of International politics. Anyone who committed those with impunity and fooled FBI sleuths could be no less than a genius. But this is how gender stereotype is created and that might be even dangerous for us.
Other than the last part I have enjoyed reading the book. It was wealth of information for me. Only a IIM grad who has served global banks in their highest ranks could write such a novelty. Probably towards the end he just wanted to go along with the social stereotype for being acceptable to a larger audience. Even though the quality of his book was so high almost throughout, it was not needed at all. Sometimes too many twists lead to chaos.
I have really enjoyed reading the book. Someone has rightly said, books and friends should be a few and well chosen. Thanks Blogadda for choosing this book for me. It will be a treasure for me.
This book was sent to me by Blogadda and the author for an honest review.
My Rating – 4.5 in 5