CANADA TO CARACAS
**** 4 Stars from me
This was my first Stephen Douglass read. I found the whole plot idea to be intriguing; could oil really be stolen and on sold for large profits? I believed it could while I was reading. This story is about corruption within the oil industry, theft and tax fraud on a huge scale, all layered down with several deceitful characters; including the odd government representative. The realism of certain aspects of the plot obviously came from the author’s first-hand knowledge of working within that field in his previous life; a story which is full of characters who are all mostly flawed in that they are open to taking tax revenue money from the government without blinking an eye. Jim Servito is the main villain of the piece. A very good looking draft dodger, with no moral fibre; who thought nothing of killing someone once their usefulness was at an end; or to tidy up and leave no trace of his involvement with said individuals. But rest assured readers he gets exactly what he deserves in the end; although a slow death in jail would have suited the storyline just as well. (NB: If you’re squeamish then perhaps this story isn’t the read for you? Jim’s fairly ruthless when it comes to disposing of unwanted labour.)
The romance and long standing relationship between Mike King and Karen Servito is where the story let itself down in my view; it’s mostly done in a ‘telling’ style rather than a ‘showing’ style. And unfortunately, at times, I felt their affair lacked some emotional depth and appeared to be one dimensional because of the ‘telling’ aspect. However, all the elements of a great romance are there; thwarted lovers, distance, wrong timing, a hijacking for Karen and being held captive for over a year, marriages to other people, a child to each partner… but in the end Mike turns out not to be as moral as I believed him to be for most of the book; and his hero status becomes greatly reduced in my eyes which is the only reason I didn’t rate it a 5 star read.
Having said that, what I loved about this book was the realism of the settings; Canada to Caracas. And everywhere in between. I also found ‘The Bridge to Caracas’ to be a well presented book and I liked the multiple viewpoints. An easy read.