IAN ANDREW — FACE VALUE — 2015
If you like action novels, suspense stories, and police drama, you will enjoy this book.
First of all, the two main private investigators are two women, along with a whole bunch of other assistants, both women, and men. All of them are veterans of some armed forces in Great Britain, like the author, so that the technical side of the story is perfect, or at least you will find it perfect. The author sure proves that women can be particularly effective and powerful in their chase of some organized crime.
The second reason is that it deals with some human trafficking in Great Britain, led by a Russian chap with a lot of helpers too, all of them also veterans from the Russian armed forces and looking for some simple work that is less dangerous than war in Ukraine, Crimea, Chechenia or wherever Russia sends some troops. They work for a Russian criminal for sure but that is a lot easier than war and even when it ends badly no one or nearly no one is killed. Arrested, yes, but not shot dead by police forces because police forces do not like the paperwork that goes along with killing someone who is nothing but a suspect even when caught red-handed in some criminal activity.
The third reason is that this story shows how human trafficking works in our modern world. It works with fake papers and these fake papers require some accomplices within some administration to produce them. One thing is sure though: the introduction of the biometric passport in 2006 and the end of the validity of traditional passports in 2016 prevent that human trafficking from going on. But don’t worry there are other methods that are invented every morning in the mind of a creative criminal somewhere in the world, including next door to home.
The fourth reason is the description of the business: escorts for rich clients in ritzy hotels; pornographic videos spread around on the Internet; and other services like sexy chatrooms in which anyone can ask for this or that from the “model” in the chatroom who will respond positively, of course, provided the customer has paid his subscription with a valid credit card. On the side, there can be some credit card trafficking when some customers are too gullible and do not protect their identity. The other day a scam hiding itself behind a “University of California at Davis Alumni” facade was promising on the phone a phenomenal deal to boost the global image of a “gullible of course” researcher for a few hundred dollars, and to deal with this proposal the “customer” was asked to give the secret security number on the back of his credit card first. This shows how gullible some people can be. Such information is NOT supposed to be given on the telephone to anyone and can only be given on the Internet to services you are sure are clean.
This story should make people think twice when dealing with their privacy and security, but I guess there are quite a few people who have some inner drives that are stronger than their common sense. As for this aspect of the story, I find it rather refreshing.
The fifth reason is that self-defense can be dangerous for the attacker who can be killed by some well-used procedure, and there are too many people who are harassing or assaulting people, in this story women, but more generally anyone, for any satisfaction as a bully, or any profit as a mugger. The police will have to proceed and the person who self-defended himself or herself will be confronted with manslaughter and all it means in court. The story here deals with professionals of such situation, the two main female characters, who leave behind absolutely no evidence because they know the job, but the police are not blind, far from it, just powerless in front of a job well done.
So it ends with a proposal to the two women to become advisers of police forces about the cleaning methods a good criminal can use, and thus the possible means you can use to get beyond these methods. The best persons qualified to fight against forgers, hackers, criminals are in fact the very same forgers, hackers, and criminals who accept to provide the police with their skills to fight against such criminal activities. This end might be depressing to some readers, but it is true the best hackers are paid fortunes just to work for some secret or security services, both public and private.
The last point is probably the fact that immigration is not always criminal and human trafficking but it can be that and there must be some way to prevent it, to stop it. Human slavery does exist and quite often under our noses, in front of our eyes, on our doorsteps. We have to be aware of that to stop it. Such criminal activities need some accomplices within the country and that’s the worst part of the business. Imagine two grownup children who find out that their parents have been criminals for decades and they have not seen it at all. The story is pathetic then and rather discreet about the reaction of the daughter, though we do not know the reaction of the son who is absent at the time of the revelation.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU