Monday, July 22, 2013

Dark Pool / Helen Hanson

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Thriller

Approximate word count: 95-100,000 words

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A former employee of high-tech manufacturers in Silicon Valley, Helen Hanson now lives in Texas with her husband and son. She’s lived from coast to coast, worked a variety of jobs, and even has a pilot’s license, but what makes me jealous is that she “saw the Clash at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium sometime in the eighties.” This is Hanson’s second novel.

For more, visit the author’s website.


“Maggie Fender’s law degree remains a daydream as she supports her ex-felon half-brother and their incoherent father. Suffering from Alzheimer’s, Dad’s rarely lucid, but when he’s accused of murder, only the gorgeous Russian neighbor flickers Maggie’s hope.

In the news, disgraced hedge fund manager Patty O’Mara awaits trial for bilking investors out of forty billion dollars. The legendary dark pool wizard offered phenomenal profits. But the SEC discovered O’Mara never made a single legitimate investment. His fund was a total scam.

Maggie’s Dad barely functions, but her hacker brother swears Dad is sending them vital messages about O’Mara’s pot of gold. A private investigator hunts for the money and aims to find it before a notorious Russian mobster. When their efforts focus on Maggie’s father, her remaining hope turns to rampant fear.

She’s the only adult left in her family, and her weary camel won’t carry a single extra straw. Her teenage brother’s hacking skills landed his ass in prison, but he swears he was framed. No fans of the Fender family, the local police assume Dad ran away when he goes missing. Maggie will never find her father without help.

But who can Maggie trust when everyone has betrayed her?”


An engaging story with plenty of mystery along with the unrelenting conflict and danger you’d expect from the thriller genre, Dark Pool is an intense read. However, what set it apart for me is summed up in the portion of the description that reads “who can Maggie trust.” She’s overwhelmed with responsibility and those she should be able to depend on, her family, aren’t any more helpful or trustworthy than the rest of the world. Her father due to his Alzheimer’s, which makes anything he says hard to interpret, at best, and often suspect. She finds her brother hard to trust because of the crime he was convicted of committing and his continual denial of having done anything wrong. (Don’t all ex-convicts deny committing the crime?) Maggie’s situation not only jacks up the tension, but had the effect for me of making me sympathize and pull for her to get through this even more.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: **** Four stars


Vicki said...

Great review, Al. Dark Pool sounds a bit different and a really interesting story.

Must read faster...
Must read faster...
Must read faster...
Must read faster...
Must read faster...

BooksAndPals said...

Thanks Vicki.

Me too, me too, me too. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks, Al! And Vicki :)

I missed this earlier because my crazy sisters were in town that week. Finally catching up on work and rest. Thank you for your time, sir. I'm grateful!

All best,