I really enjoyed reading this book. It takes you on a journey of the European political and business landscape and some of the key players in that region. It also details the sacrifices and the lengths that some of those men will go, to be wealthy, including blackmailing, manipulating and killing anyone that gets in their way.
This book is so well written. Nik did an amazing job of adding just the right touch of details and you can tell a lot of time and effort went into character building. Each character has their own interesting story and you can’t help but pick a couple favourites. One of mine is Mikhail. At first, I really hated him, but at the end of the book, I couldn’t help but respect him; demons and all.
In this book, Nik explores some interesting concepts about power struggles, the distribution of wealth, the relationship between political issues and business and how easy it is to pull some strings to get what you want when you know the right people. Another topic that is addressed is betrayal and it illustrates how easy it is for your company and reputation to fall apart, when people with powerful allies, drop the right kinds of allegations at your front door when you don’t comply with their wishes.
This was such a good book, definitely filled with a lot of suspense, which easily made it a page turner for me. I’m not really into political issues and I never really put too much thought into the private lives of the world's most elite CEOs, but this book changed all that for me.
Nik paints such a compelling story about what goes on behind the scenes of some of the world’s wealthiest, that I can’t help but wonder now if some of our favourite Fortune500 men, live lives as scandalous as the characters in this book.
I think the only thing that disappointed me was the ending and that’s only because the twist at the end was so unexpected, I felt a bit blindsided. Then I was just left wishing there was another book because I really want to know what happens next.
I absolutely recommend this book for anyone that likes to read about political and business conspiracy theories, mixed with suspense and some action. No worries though, even if you aren’t into politics you will still enjoy this book because it’s jam-packed with interesting ideas and it is written for us regular people to understand. That’s right, it’s not filled with long legal terms and references that only scholars can understand.
Be First or Be Dead, will most certainly leave you contemplating your own political and economic landscape, hoping that none of the economic disasters that occurred because of crooked business ventures, really happen in real life or have you doing your own research and cooking up your own conspiracy theories. Either way, it’s worthy of a read.
Not only did I have the pleasure of doing a book review for Nik, but I also did an author’s interview. Keep reading to see what he had to say!
Hi Nik, tell us a little about yourself.
Born in Kiev, USSR (now Ukraine), at the age of seventeen, seeing the enormous Soviet Empire crumbling I immigrated to Israel, where I became a lawyer.
After coming out independent from the Big Bang of the USSR, Ukraine offered endless opportunities. I returned there in the late nineties as an Israeli citizen and established with partners an international law firm.
Simultaneously with promoting the law office, I worked for an international business group and took part in different projects in Ukraine and other countries, such as Moldova, Russia, Poland and Lithuania. I've been sharing my time between family in Israel and work and business mostly in former USSR countries.
After selling my share in the law office a few years ago, I reside in Israel and work as an independent legal practitioner under my real name. As 'Nik Krasno' I write books on debatable issues in a gritty, unromantic and hard-boiled style -:).
When did you decide to become a writer?
It was more an opportunity rather than decision. I thought I had a story, but lacked confidence and skill to produce a book out of it, so when my friend and published non-fiction author felt equally enthusiastic about the project, I told him about, it became a chance not to be missed...
Why do you write?
For fun, to tell a story, which I believe is interesting and appealing, however maybe I'm not the best writer to tell it -:)
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I'd rather talk about achievements since I prefer to refer to realized ambitions rather than dreams. I've written 2.5 books (the first one with a co-author), which is an achievement. Now I try to draw readers' attention to the Oligarch series. At this stage, I hope my writing entertains and provides some new knowledge to those scarce readers that grab the books.
What has been the hardest part of building your career?
The career (an overstatement at this stage) is just underway. The hardest part is probably - silence, disinterest, when you know your book is out there, but sits unnoticed.
Which writers inspire you?
How about directors? I try to offer something competitive with Tarantino and Ritchie. Megalomaniac? I know, but I see no sense in looking at 2-3-d tire and not at the top -:) I don't know whether writers inspire me, but I'm a fan of Irvine Welsh, David Benioff, a bunch of Russian authors, still cherish my childhood fondness with Jules Verne, Alex Dumas and many others...
What have you written?
I've co-authored 'Rise of an Oligarch' with Carlito Sofer and authored 'Mortal Showdown' and 'Be First or Be Dead'.
Where can we buy or see them? (stores, websites, links where your work has been featured).
Amazon, Createspace, and 'Mortal Showdown' is available practically through any e-venue. Here are the links:
What genre are your books?
'Rise of an Oligarch' is a historical fiction with thriller elements, similar to Godfather but Russian-style, while 'Mortal Showdown' and 'Be First or Be Dead' are action, political thrillers. All are pretty much stand-alone books.
Why did you pick that/those genre(s)?
Because of natural inclination, I guess, the genres that I feel created a natural ambiance for the story I wanted to tell.
What inspires your ideas?
Real life events, business, politics, my interpretation and extrapolation thereof, my experience.
Are there any correlations between the books you write and your life experiences?
Not in specific scenes, but in general bios of the heroes I draw on my personal life and those that I've heard from others experiences.
Do you work from an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
Both - I have a general outline of the story, but let the scenes flow in between and deviate if it so happens.
Tell me about your most recent release.
I've released 'Be First or Be Dead' just about a month ago. It's a stand-alone sequel to the Oligarch series, where to have a chance to illustrate the protagonist needs to prevail against practically the clandestine rulers of the world no less. Michael attempts to save himself and his country in this action-packed, high-voltage, but also philosophical and transgressive read.
Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
A few, which I hope some readers will discern. I want the readers to consider the grand construction of our lives and societies, the chase after the dollar, what's meaningful and what's - not. At that, I leave the conclusions to the readers and not preaching any specific direction.
Any new projects we should look out for?
I'm currently toying with a short story under the working title 'What the f..k?!" in a mischievous, hangover genre and I have some ideas about another thing or two, but that's contingent on many factors.
Do you think it’s hard to build and maintain a writing career? Why or why not?
If under career you mean a certain business success, then the answer is - very. Out of millions - only hundreds can truly live off writing. But in general to write something - isn't that hard, you just need confidence, patience and consistency. But that is only a raw material. To turn it into a book (provided you think it deserves exposure to an unexpecting audience) may take longer than the creative part with iterations, editing and so on…
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
But that's exactly what I'm trying to find in authorship. I know what it means to work for money, while with writing I'm trying to discover what it is to work for enjoyment.
What is your favourite motivational phrase?
The drinks are in the fridge, the Friday is soon, gotta finish off some things to enjoy the relaxation without pangs of remorse -:)
Any advice for dealing with writer’s block?
Not sure I've experienced one. But - not to write for some time doesn't sound like that much of a disaster to me. The desire and fluency should return naturally and I don't think they should be forced.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Make money elsewhere and then enjoy being a writer
What’s the best advice you’ve been given, that keeps you motivated?
To stop this silly writing -:)
Where can readers connect with you?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nik-Krasno/e/B00O416OLU