Santora, Nick - 'Fifteen Digits'
Rich Mauro starts working in the printroom of one of the biggest law firms in the world. He and his four fellow workers are an essential part of the business but as non-lawyers totally undervalued and disregarded. Rich has ambitions to be a lawyer and, due to the tragic circumstances of his parents' death when he was a child, has a mentor in the firm who has helped him get the job with the idea of eventually training as a lawyer, using the firmís limited support scheme.
When one of the partner's sons approaches him with an idea to use the confidential information that passes through the printroom everyday to make money by buying and selling stocks, Rich's response is to refuse but as he becomes more and more insecure about his relationship with his girlfriend, Elyse, he persuades himself that Jason's plan will give him the security and means to achieve everything he wants to.
Rich realises that he cannot work in isolation and recruits his four colleagues. They all have their own reasons for needing money. They think they have set up the scheme so that it is foolproof, no one can link the purchases to them and no one individual of the group can defraud any of the others.
The book introduces us to the leading characters one at a time. We learn their secrets and what motivates them and during that process, come to have a degree of sympathy for them even though they are thieves but, in a strange way, it seems to be a victimless crime, which is of course nonsense since there really is no such thing as a victimless crime.
There is an inevitableness to the story which is sad and I really wanted the book to turn out differently for the main characters while knowing that it couldn't.
FIFTEEN DIGITS is a good read - one that really made me question my response to some crimes. I am not sure that the scheme as portrayed could work but that wasn't important to my enjoyment of the story. There is violence, which is not gratuitous, given the circumstances; unpleasant to read as it was, it seemed appropriate.
Susan White, England
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