The Oil Dossier
There are many moving parts in The Oil Dossier by Jack J. Amstel. What begins with the assassination of Hugh Williams, the CEO of a paper company, leads to a larger puzzle involving the rich and influential people of the banking and political spheres. Willem Vandenwater is hired to write a profile for the new CEO of Ross Paper, which forces him to interview everyone close to the old CEO before his murder. Willem finds that these people might be more connected than he could have forseen, and he ends up in the center of power plays by some of the industry’s top titans. He begins with the Williams family but finds himself talking to an economics professor who was placed on the Board of Advisors for a mysterious reason, a Southern politician with big connections, and a fallen bank executive who is blackmailing the Summit Bank president.
The Oil Dossier reveals itself slowly. You are introduced to each character—all of whom have hidden agendas and dark secrets. Initially a reluctant player in the game, he finds himself drawn to the mystery of Ross Paper and wonders why this paper company suddenly became important real estate. Looming in the background of this story is the 2008 housing crisis, channeled through Summit Bank and the characters’ gained and lost wealth and status during the recession. The novel rotates between Willem Vandenwater, a consultant deciding the new CEO of the paper company, the family members of the late-CEO, and the Fate Makers, a secret society that controls the political and economic direction of the world.
Amstel rotates between narrators, keeping the story interesting and building suspense. As the story answers the question of who assassinated the CEO of Ross Paper, it pivots to how many players there truly are in the game. The story artfully navigates the post-recession politics of bankers and politicians. The story manages to move quickly, despite building the political background of the companies vying for power. We get the most narration from Willem, who draws us deeper into the mystery and slowly begins drawing conclusions about the other characters involved. Although you don’t necessarily find yourself rooting for any potential CEO candidate, the story remains engaging until the end. While, at times, I had to fight to suspend disbelief for how easily information or connections kept coming to Willem, I enjoyed watching him piece together the larger puzzle. A tight and well-constructed political thriller, The Oil Dossier built a power struggle between industry titans and Southern families that was enjoyable and immensely satisfying.
|Page Count||375 pages|
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|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|