May 30, 2023

Crimson Workforce Blues is the latest novel from Cory Doctorow, former co-editor of Boing Boing, and the primary of the brand new trilogy centered on Martin Hench, a forensic accountant who’s hacked collectively a scrappy way of life for himself by un-hacking monetary crimes. It is also a remarkably accessible examination of the inherent criminality of worldwide finance, however in a approach that radiates with a stunning sense of optimism (sure actually). The important thrust of the story is that Marty is employed by an previous buddy of his, a Silicon Valley billionaire named Danny Lazer who tried to create a cryptocurrency that may very well be used for good, and solely good. Non-spoiler alert: this does not go so properly, which is why he wants Marty to recuperate the lacking laptop computer with the keys to the blockchain. Whereas the 67-year-old Marty leads a snug sufficient life, this job might make him rich sufficient for a really comfy retirement. That’s, if he is not killed first by any of the individuals who need the blockchain keys.

This being a monetary crime technothriller, you as a reader predict one thing fishy from the beginning. And positive, you will discover loads of shady conduct on this e-book! However the factor that makes Crimson Workforce Blues really feel surprisingly subversive is that it isn’t a twist-after-twist, trust-no-one type of thriller, with always shifting allegiances paid off by oligarchs and authorities officers. As a substitute, Doctorow deftly illustrates that generally, basically good folks can nonetheless discover themselves wittingly performing as pawns for the labyrinthine schemes of world capitalism. From DHS brokers to prison legal professionals, the forged of characters that Marty Hench encounters are largely respectable folks, who’ve discovered a approach to make their residing by enabling the corruption that makes the world go ‘spherical, resembling violent worldwide crime syndicates. What’s that saying? There is not any moral consumption below capitalism?

Maybe so. However Marty Hench nonetheless believes you may (and will) do the least worst injury alongside the way in which. At the same time as he learns the laborious approach that the mere act of present whereas being terribly rich results in harrowing ethical compromises.

Stylistically, Crimson Workforce Blues looks like a non secular successor to Doctorow’s Little Brother — however not like a YA novel, awe-struck on the wonders of a youngster’s firsts in life, Crimson Workforce Blues is centered on a 67-year-old white dude gearing up for retirement. I discover this side of the e-book to refreshingly subversive, too. Marty’s sufficiently old that he is discovered to just accept a variety of issues as simply the way in which issues are. However he is additionally humble sufficient to understand that the way in which issues are might and must be higher, too. Positive, he is in late 60s, with loads of expertise and experience to point out for it. However Marty additionally demonstrates a capability to study and develop. Being a e-book about wealth and crime that is set in Silicon Valley, it maybe should not be stunning that Marty’s adventures carry him in touch with some unhoused folks residing in San Francisco. Even then, Marty thinks he is aware of what to anticipate, however is open-minded sufficient to be humbled when he realizes simply how little he can really wrap his head across the expertise and indignity of being unhoused. Marty is likely to be good at tracing monetary transactions, however he is additionally bought lots to find out about how precise economics work, and that turns into a working motif within the e-book, too.

That is not the one refreshing high quality about Marty as a protagonist, both. Sure, he is an older white dude, riffing on the concept of being pulled again for “one final job.” However he is no chiseled motion hero, and has to make use of his ageing mind to take care of the threats on his life. And his sexual and romantic entanglements largely revolve round ladies who’re additionally round his age. I am unable to consider many different thriller novels that contain booty calls from sexagenarians.

So we’ve got a monetary thriller about crypto centered round an older man who faces off towards a bunch of people who find themselves basically respectable although their lives are rooted within the exploitations of capitalism (excluding the worldwide crime syndicates on the heart of all of it. type of). Which may not sound like essentially the most gripping, high-octane journey — and but, Crimson Workforce Blues is among the books that you simply need to breeze via. I stored selecting it up at bedtime, after which getting mad at myself after I realized it was after midnight once more. It’d sound unusual to explain a e-book a couple of 67-year-old man scouring monetary spreadsheets as “unputdownable,” however, properly, Crimson Workforce Blues is rattling close to unputdownable.

You’ll find Crimson Workforce Blues by Cory Doctorow at, or, sure, at Amazon (except you need the audiobook)

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