Monday, January 18, 2010
Oilspill dotcom by Alon Shalev
(BookSurge / 1-439-20651-1 / 978-1-439-20651-5 / May 2009 / 294 pages / $14.99 / Kindle $4.99)
Reviewed by Lloyd Lofthouse for PODBRAM
Imagine going on a first date hoping to have hot sex and you end up being the Webmaster for a site that is part of the defense against a libel suit brought by one of the largest oil conglomerates on the planet. In addition, you are fired from your high-paying job and start working for nothing, except for the sex. It must have been incredible sex since this huge oil corporation hires an army of lawyers and is willing to spend tens of millions of dollars in court to stop Suzie, the new girlfriend, and send her to jail for a few years. The oil company even hires two security companies to infiltrate the environmental group Suzie works with.
I guess I should slow down and mention that Suzie's environmental group is fighting for a tribe in South America to keep this oil company from spoiling the land this primitive tribe has lived on for centuries. There is oil under the rainforest and money to be made, but there is an obstacle: the locals who want to live as they've always lived without losing the trees.
Several years later, Suzie is still in court and the website Matt built has had almost two hundred million hits, and he has altered history by showing the world what can be done with the Internet, things Matt didn't even know could be done. The story takes place in the 1990s. Boy, love is powerful! The Website is called Oilspill dotcom, hence the name of the book.
When we first meet Matt, he has no girlfriend but wants one and he's talking to his cat Gates. Since Matt is a computer geek, who gets paid big money and is a member of a programmer dream team, I wondered if the cat was named after Bill Gates. Smart cat.
Oilspill dotcom turned out to be a speedy read, since I had trouble putting the novel down. I've read two other books in 2009 that impressed me as five star books, and those books took a bit longer to read. As much as I liked 600 hours of Edward and At the Table of Want, Shalev's book grabbed me and wouldn't let go. The only thing better in this world is chocolate, and sex, of course. I started reading Sunday night and was done Tuesday morning. I haven't read a book that fast in years. I've read James Patterson, Dan Brown, Michael Crichton and John Grisham, and in my opinion Shalev is a better writer. More than once, he had me laughing and getting teary eyed while smiling. Those other four guys never did that. Don't get me wrong. I like those other guys, but Shalev told a better story with more depth. The book's cover is unassuming and in no way hints at the treasure hidden inside.
See also: Alon Shalev's Website
Alon Shalev's Authors Den Page