‘Zero Alternative’ – Luca Pesaro
Scott Walker is a fugitive from the quicksands of Finance, with one card to play – DeepShare, a silicon oracle coveted by billionaires, hitmen and hackers. As he fights for survival and vengeance, digging deeper into the dark heart of the global economy, one question torments him: what price will the world have to pay?
‘Zero Alternative’ is an action-packed conspiracy thriller that plucks at the heart of human nature. When our grip on love, hope and morality starts to slide, the only future worth living is the one we choose for ourselves.
About the author:
Luca Pesaro was born in Italy in 1971, but he has spent most of his adult life in the US or UK. Being a proud UWCer, he likes to think of himself as just another random citizen of the world.
After spending a few years gaining a degree (LSE) and masters (Bocconi University) in the now mainly discreted pseudo-science that is Economics, he got bored, jumped the gun and became a derivatives trader in financial markets, first with the tragic Lehman Brothers, then with a bunch of other banks, somehow always managing not to blow up. He wrote his first novel in Italian in the mid-nineties, but then decided English worked much better for the type of stuff he liked to read and write, and switched. (Easy to do, he has forgotten most of his written Italian).
Recently he has decided to dedicate himself fully to his great passion since the age of eight – writing, mainly Fiction, but anything that amuses him at any given time. Zero Alternative is his first English novel, and he is hard at work on his second thriller, A Game of Kings.
He is married to the awesome F. and has two children, A. and J. who always manage to annoy, surprise and delight him beyond any reasonable expectation.
‘Zero Alternative’ starts off with a bang and got me hooked straight from the beginning. With its fast pace and rapidly developing storyline, this book had me pulled in so quickly that before I knew it I was racing towards the end. Completed in one day, this was a totally satisfying read and for a debut English novel, I look forward to seeing what Pesaro has to offer next.
I don’t read thrillers very often and have in the past found them to be a little predictable. ‘Zero Alternative’ certainly was not this. I love the world of stock trading and have always been fascinated when I have seen characters in films desperately trading before the market closes. I still don’t properly understand this environment and how it all works and whilst ‘Zero Alternative’ is set in this industry, my lack of understanding did not hinder my enjoyment of the story. There is enough explanation behind the premise of the story and the new technology that Walker is being hunted for, but without it coming across as patronising or dull. This definitely appealed to me and helped me get into the story.
Walker’s character comes across as a typical broker – lots of money, reckless, with plenty of alcohol and women. At first I thought I would despise his confidence (almost arrogance) but as he quickly finds himself in a game of cat and mouse, I was rooting for him to find someone he could trust and rely on to escape the danger. The narrative follows Walker (nick-named “Yours” because of his reputation as a trader, which, I must admit, was a little annoying and confusing when I read this and thought there were typos!) but often switches to the mysterious bad guys. This change in focus was refreshing because not only did we find out how close they are to Walker, you are given enough clues to speculate who it might be. That said, when the pieces were finally put together, it wasn’t a character I had suspected – another bonus for this read.
There are some gory scenes in this book but don’t let this put you off. Whilst I don’t like reading graphic scenes of torture, I was so amazed by what I had read I just couldn’t help but repeat it to my husband and literally cringe at what was happening! It is all part of the story and is not just an added-in feature to give more substance to the story. It reflects the danger of Walker’s situation and made me even more keen that he reach safety.
This was a great read and I feel so lucky to have been able to review it. I really enjoyed it because it was so different to other books I have come across recently and, with the subject matter focusing on something I don’t know much about, it made this all the more enjoyable. I’m excited to see what Pesaro writes next.
This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.