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Book Review: The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer (4/5)

9 Nov

I had the chance to meet Meltzer a few years back when he came to town and got a copy of this book signed. I tried listening to the audiobook a few years ago but when I got to the end, I found out it was abridged! I was furious and put this book back on my TBR, hoping that I could wait a few years and forget most of the plot before I tried again. Thankfully, all I remembered was that it involved Disneyworld. That was a little bit of a spoiler, but not enough to ruin the story so I was able to enjoy it all over again.

Cover image via Amazon

The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer

Other books by Meltzer reviewed on this blog:

The Book of Fate
The Book of Lies
The Inner Circle (Culper Ring #1) (and Book Club Reflection)
The Fifth Assassin (Culper Ring #2)
Bonus: Meeting Author Brad Meltzer

Summary from Amazon:

Two brothers. Three secret service agents. And millions for the taking. Charlie and Oliver Caruso are brothers who work at Greene and Greene, a private bank so exclusive there’s a $2 million minimum to be a client. But when the door of success slams in their faces, the brothers are presented with an offer they can’t refuse: $3 million in an abandoned account that can’t be traced. It’s the perfect victimless crime. Charlie and Oliver opt to take the money, but get much more than they bargained for. Now, with a lot of extra zeroes in their pockets and a friend found dead, the Secret Service and a female private investigator are closing in. Whose money did they take? How will they stay alive? And why is the Secret Service trying to kill them? Both Charlie and Oliver quickly realize it’s not easy being The Millionaires.

I needed this book. I’d just made my way out of a reading slump and I needed something fun and fast-paced to get me to read fast again. This book was the perfect cure and I’m glad I got to it when I did. It wasn’t amazing, but it was good and fun and well-paced. Sometimes, you just need a thriller.

I’m not sure how much I believed any of the characters. Oliver was so straight-laced that it was nearly impossible to see him committing any crime, even with the motivations he had. Charlie was so whimsical that it was a bit hard to believe he existed at all. As brothers, they made sense and I liked the energy between them. Shep was hard to understand as well. And when you throw Gillian in the mix, it became almost impossible to understand what was driving all these people. I enjoyed it for the plot, not the people.

Oliver was my favorite character. He cared a lot about his family and he listened to his mom and his brother, even when it was hard. I respected those decisions and I liked seeing how that influenced the decisions he made. I thought he was an odd balance of planned and impulsive which I didn’t like, but he was more likable than not.

Joey was the easiest character for me to relate to. As a woman, you’re often overlooked and Joey ran up against that a lot. I liked how resourceful and cunning she was and how she would figure things out much faster than the secret service. I was rooting for her but also realized that was against Oliver and Charlie so I was a bit torn.

Brad Meltzer and me

The final scenes inside Disneyworld were really fun to read. I’ve been to Magic Kingdom and could imagine the spaces they described. I liked hearing about the underground tunnels and the mix of people milling about there to make the magic aboveground happen. It was a really unique setting and I enjoyed it.

The ending was too clean for me. The fact that they were more or less set free and losing their jobs seemed to be the biggest impact was a bit too convenient. I think they needed to consider they’d fail background checks for future jobs and Oliver had no chance of going to B-School without a recommendation he was never going to get. I thought life seemed pretty bleak but they were dancing in the kitchen.

I didn’t find a lot of strong themes in this book and that doesn’t bother me in a thriller. I could argue for a theme about trusting family, but listening to Charlie almost got Oliver and Charlie killed so I’m not going to go with that one.

Writer’s Takeaway: Meltzer’s pacing is great. He makes you think you know what’s going on and when he turns it on its head, you think back and you can realize where your assumptions were wrong. The reveal at the end had me spinning and it was great. I had believed what he wanted me to all along and in the end, he got me. Very well done.

A fun ride of a book. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

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Related Posts: 
The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer | Book Recommendations 
Renee interviews author Brad Meltzer | Renee Writes Now!

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