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on February 8, 2017
Good but would have been great with some editing. I really enjoyed this book - the plot was interesting and a nice change of pace from my usual mystery - I would categorize this as more of a suspense novel. My only suggestion would be tighter editing. There were many paragraphs that I just skimmed because the information did not effect the story. An example would be the back story to the love interest, Antonia. The fact that she is a widow and how she happened to be at the hotel he was staying at is relevant information. The rest of her past had no bearing on the story and was never brought up again. It was information not needed to advance the story. I realize that the author has a lot of knowledge of the stock market but going into the amount of detail he did was just confusing and not necessary again to advance the story. As fairly intelligent readers, we get the idea without so much detail - over and over again. Another minor criticism - why are all women described as beautiful, hot, etc. Are normal women not worthy of these characters? I know you are surprised I gave this 4 stars but the story was very interesting and kept my interest enough to finish it. With the above corrections I believe it could be a 5 star book.
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on February 23, 2013
Russell Blake is one of my favorite authors in the Action Adventure genre. His Assassin, Delphi and Jet series are all solid reads. Zero Sum is a little different than his typical action series. There is more focus on plot which is deviously twisty while centering around the crooks of Wall Street. (Which may be most of them.) The hero is a solid guy with military experience and several high black belts in several different martial arts. (A hero is just not complete without them.) While there are not too many fight scenes, they are exciting and riveting. There are just the right amount of love scenes and they are well done. As the hero finally gets to settle down with his heroine, the plot takes some interesting final twists to a good conclusion. Yet there is always the possiblity of a sequel for this hero and the heroine. And maybe a sequel will include Uncle Dante too. Zero Sum is a good solid read. (Once started, I read all night until finished.)
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This is fantastic! Not knowing anything about the stock market, I didn't think I would enjoy this story.

HOWEVER, I soon learned how Griffith (an inside market crook) operated with hedging, selling short, etc. Incredible to me...

Then, add in Steven and his on- line buddies trying to expose this crook and the chase is on! Is the US government involved in this one as well? UNREAL!!

Oh by the way, just for a little bit extra, toss in some romance with a hot Italian lady to spice this one up!!

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on June 19, 2013
I have purchased a number of "free" kindle books from the top 100 free book list. Some were not so good but this book was AMAZING. Once I got into the first chapter, I was hooked. Russell Blake does a fantastic job of story-telling the classic David vs. Goliath using a modern day Wall Street scenario pitting Dr. Steven Archer Cross (David) against Nicholas Griffen (Goliath).

I was fortunate enough to get the entire trilogy in one book and it was a real page-turner.

Basically, Steven goes against all sage advice from his friends, girlfriend, and lawyer and goes after a powerful Wall Street executive, who amazingly has connections all the way to the White House as well as "assets" in organized crime. Combined effect: they allow Griffen to conduct illegal trades and with willing press advocates, he is able to manipulate the stock for Allied, a biotech research firm, to bring in millions of dollars of profits to his elite clients.

Steven has had enough and begins a campaign to ruin Griffen using every resource he can muster. But things turn deadly very quickly and Steven finds himself on the run from this giant. To get evidence to take Griffen down, Steven travels to several countries and uses his internet buddies to post the info. The ensuing conflict makes one wonder about the stability of our own markets and the players that can manipulate it.

When Stephen's friend gets exposed in researching Griffen's power plays and ultimately ends up dead, Steven sets out alone to prevent others close to him from dying. He goes up against rogue cops, Russian mafia oligarchs, drug cartels, and other terrorists. But in his chase, he meets the beautiful Antonia on an island, who captures his heart and assists Steven in blowing the whole case wide open.
This book is a must read if you like action, adventure, mystery, and suspense.

I look forward to reading the next book featuring Steven Cross.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 29, 2013
Third book I've read from Blake and never disappointing. This is my go to author after having read some dumpier material. Blake has a mind for detail and great plots in my opinion. This book in particular is very relevant to the shenanigans we've all experienced on Wall Street and in the banking sectors of late, a fictional account after all but a thrill ride nevertheless. Another book I'd recommend with a similar anti-Wall Street theme is "Silver Justice" also by Russell Blake (Please see my review for that book as well) Something else I like about him is that he takes the time to correspond with some Amazon reviewers on ocassion in a kindly manner which only lends to his appeal. Great book, enough said!
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on March 27, 2013
Like all mystery suspense novels, this one kept me intrigued all through it. It's evident the author did his research and learned about the stock market and ways those on Wall Street can manipulate it to line their pockets. This information is layered in small doses so as not to bore someone unfamiliar with short calls, offshore accounts, and media manipulation to boost a stock's performance.

It's also frightening to think those in the U. S. government might've had a part in the global recession we're recovering from.

The plot was well thought out and character development done in such a way I looked forward to learning more about the characters as the story unfolded.

I had several complaints about the story readers who like Nelson DeMille's stories will not object too. It moved forward at a lackadaisical pace. A lot of time was spent telling about where the protagonist went to eat and what he ate. There were times I wanted to shake him and make him realize the serious situation he was in that he seemed to be naïve about.

All in all, I enjoyed this book by this new author, for me, and look forward to reading his vast selection of other thrillers.
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on September 21, 2012
Russell Blake is one damn good writer. "Zero Sum" is one of the best action/thrillers I've ever picked up. From the first few pages, be ready to lock and load as Steven Archer takes on a Wall Street manipulator and begins a terrifying journey filled with danger, death and double-crosses that would make Robert Ludlum cringe. Blake propels the story through three separate phases that ultimately end with.... well, let's not give anything away. Suffice it to say that Archer, who 'becomes' Steven Cross out of necessity, along with some techno-dweeb pals, an Italian centerfold and some other, more mysterious allies take on the nefarious Nicholas Griffen to ultimately unseat the financier and wreak havoc on his shady dealings. What's particularly nice is that Blake explains his antics along the way with a remarkable clarity and doesn't bog you down in Clancyish techno-babble. It makes the story flow more smoothly and Blake's way with words paints a veritable tapestry that gives even more life to an already-exciting yarn. "Zero Sum" is an amazing book and the only thing I don't understand is why I haven't heard everyone talking about it. Keep it up, Russell. You're on the right track.
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on February 28, 2012
I routinely download free kindle books in search of new authors to read. I am SO glad I stumbled upon Russell Blake through the free download of book one. I will be reading a lot more of Russell Blake to be sure.

The setting in the world of Wall Street with pumps and dumps, message board mania, and the bad guys playing games you just would not believe is one that I became all too familiar with in 2008, when I was a stockholder in one of the bigger banks to "fall", so I really identified with this book--I was hooked from the start. I knew some of the things he was talking about were exactly what is happening out there in a world far more evil than the average person is aware of or could even contemplate.

Blake hits that perfect balance of when to describe and how much, in order to let the readers mind "fill in the blanks". It takes talent to be able to do this well. Some authors put you through painful pages of too much description of people or places, and others leave you with the feeling the characters are "flat" and shallow or the setting has no dimension.

Blake has the perfect mix...enough description to give you the basics of scenery and characters, leaving enough unsaid to let your imagination take over. That is why for me, a good book is always better than the movie. With a well written book, an author leaves enough room for your imagination, and a movie will just never live up to what our imagination puts into place.

The story was intriguing and fast paced. I did not put it down until I was finished except to sleep and eat. The quality of the writing is "spot on". I'd put him up against some of the best authors I have ever read (and I read a lot!), and predict that he will become very well known for his writing excellence.

I cannot say enough good things about this series but I don't believe in "spoilers", so you'll have to read it for yourself. I'd get it now because when people realize the value of his writing, the price is sure to go up.
I'd happily pay more for books that are this well written.
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on December 5, 2012
While reading Zero Sum I believe i was taking the same adventure as Steven was to gather all the pieces to bringing Griffen down. My heart raced as his did my eye's watered and shed a couple tears because I felt that I was experiencing everything that he was. I really enjoyed this book that kept me on edge just to find out what happened at the end.
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on February 22, 2013
Love reading books with interesting characters, good plots and best of all, I have to use the dictionary! I am off to read Series #2.
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