419: a book review

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From international bestselling writer Will Ferguson, author of Happiness™ and Spanish Fly, comes a novel both epic in its sweep and intimate in its portrayal of human endurance.

A car tumbles through darkness down a snowy ravine. A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in sub-Saharan Africa. And in the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims. Lives intersect. Worlds collide. And it all begins with a single email: “Dear Sir, I am the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help…” Will Ferguson takes readers deep into the labyrinth of lies that is “419”, the world’s most insidious internet scam.

When Laura Curtis, a lonely editor in a cold northern city, discovers that her father has died because of one such swindle, she sets out to track down – and corner – her father’s killer. It is a dangerous game she is playing, however, and the stakes are higher than she can ever imagine. Woven into Laura’s journey is a mysterious woman from the African Sahel with scars etched into her skin and a young man who finds himself caught up in a web of violence and deceit.

And running through it, a dying father’s final worlds: “You, I love.”

First of all, 419 was the winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, which is probably the most prestigious literary award in Canada. That alone piqued my interest in reading this, so as soon as it came out in paperback I was all over that like flies to honey – or corpses, because for some reason flies like both.

If you aren’t put off yet, keep reading!

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