The Silent Oligarch
A London intelligence agent pursues a money launderer to expose the dealings of a shadowy Russian oligarch.
In a world where national borders shrink to insignificance in the face of colossal wealth and corporate power, The Silent Oligarch offers a new kind of hero to combat a new kind of crime. Drawing on his decade of experience at the world's largest corporate intelligence firm-where the wealthy buy the justice they want and the silence they need-Chris Morgan Jones leads us down into the unvarnished realities of our time in the grand tradition of John le Carré. Bearing news from a world hidden behind closed doors, The Silent Oligarch effortlessly creates a new genre in its wake.
Deep in the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources sits a nondescript bureaucrat named Konstantin Malin. He draws a nominal government salary but from his shabby office controls half the nation's oil industry, making him one of the most wealthy and feared men in Russia. His public face is Richard Lock, a hapless money launderer bound to Malin by marriage, complacency, and greed. Lock takes the proceeds of his master's corruption, washes them abroad, and invests them back in Russia in a secret business empire. He knows little about Malin's true affairs, but still he knows too much.
Benjamin Webster is an investigator at a London corporate intelligence firm. Years before, as an idealistic young journalist in Russia, Webster saw a colleague murdered for asking too many hard questions of powerful people; her true killers have never been found. Hired to ruin Malin, Webster comes to realize that this shadowy figure might have ordered her gruesome death, and that this case may deliver the justice he has been seeking for a decade.
As Webster peels back the layers of Malin's shell companies and criminal networks, Lock's colleagues begin dying mysteriously, police around the world start to investigate, and Malin begins to question his trust in his increasingly exposed frontman. Suddenly Lock is running for his life- though from Malin or Webster, the law or his own past, he couldn't say.
Leading us into a world we can know little about, The Silent Oligarch is the brilliant overture of a major new literary talent.
"Fans of thrillers, especially those set in present-day Russia, will welcome the supernova that has burst onto the spy and suspense scene . . . VERDICT: With a mysterious, complex plot and terrific local color, this novel resonates to the pounding heartbeats of the boldly drawn main characters. John le Carré, Martin Cruz Smith, and Brent Ghelfi will be inching over in the book display so readers in search of erudite, elegant international intrigue can spot the newcomer."
"Jones' sketches of all that is good and bad about London, Moscow, Berlin seem dead-on, right down to his marvelous detailing of the decadent lifestyle of the new Russian oligarchy, a group where school children receive Ferraris as birthday presents. His bad guy, Malin, "impermeable" eyes "dark brown and heavy, neither curious nor passive," is thoroughly sinister. The author also is adept at constructing and explaining the complicated post-Soviet Russia ambiance. Told in the third person, his narrative moves forward with an aura of malevolence to a conclusion too close to reality to be anything but believable.
Minimal gun-flourishing, minimal violence, maximum moral quandary."
"From Chris Morgan Jones, an absolutely terrific novel. It's about international intrigue-but the real deal. The Silent Oligarch is beautifully written, clean and terse, but you won't notice, because you'll be reading just as fast as you can. Very highly recommended, and you'll want more."
-Alan Furst, author of Night Soldiers and Dark Star