Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Conspirators by G.W. Shaw

First Line: The rich were careless about their wealth.
Jacob Meaney's girlfriend has a life plan, and the pittance Jacob earns as a translator does not fit in with her expectations. When an Australian digital marketer named Eloise offers him a lot of money for a couple of weeks' work, he has to take it or risk losing the woman he loves... even though he suspects that this job is too good to be true.
Jacob is taken to a villa in Austria. For the next two weeks, living in the lap of luxury, he is to interpret between Hindi, Russian, and English during Zoom calls with an Indian criminal named Nazim who's taken over the manufacture and distribution of a drug villa owner Bondarenko has been selling on the internet.
Yes, Jacob has unwillingly become part of an organized crime conspiracy, and he is being held captive by armed guards along with a trafficked worker named Vlada. It soon becomes apparent to Jacob that his boss Bondarenko is in far deeper and more dangerously than he realizes. Jacob's focus should no longer be on translation; it should be on getting out of that villa alive.
I may be hooked on William Shaw's Alexandra Cupidi mysteries (The Birdwatcher, Salt Lane, Deadland, etc.), but after reading his Dead Rich last year written under the name G.W. Shaw, I learned that the man writes a mean thriller, too, so I wasn't about to pass The Conspirators by.

One of the things this book points out is the importance of language and words in Jacob Meaney's job as a translator. I enjoyed my time experiencing life in a decadent villa; however, I wish I could've enjoyed the people I was staying with as much. I found none of the characters particularly likable. Yes, Jacob has a good heart and always tries to do the right thing, but his being under the thumb of his money-grubbing girlfriend Carla and his willingness to jump at something he knows is too good to be true make him a bit spineless. My favorite character, the Ukrainian maid Vlada, is made more sympathetic by the letters she writes to her young son, but her life has made her so angry that she's hard to like, too. 

If I didn't like the good guys, what did I think of the bad guys? They were proper bad guys. They made me nervous. They made me angry, and it was a pleasure to want an ill wind to blow them off the page.

Even though the cast wasn't all that typical in the emotions they evoked, I did find the story compelling. I simply had to know if Jacob and Vlada would escape. How would they escape? Would they be all right? Would Vlada be reunited with her little boy? Would Jacob realize what a loser Carla was? 

It takes skill to make a reader care about unlikable characters, and G.W. (William) Shaw has that skill in spades. His books are must-reads for me.

The Conspirators by G.W. Shaw
ISBN: 9781529420074
riverrun © 2023
Hardcover, 400 pages
Thriller, Standalone
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased from Amazon UK.


  1. I know what you mean about not really liking the characters, Cathy. That's happened to me, too. And yet, it's still possible to like the book and I'm glad that happened here. I have to admit, I don't think this sort of thriller would be 'me,' but the premise is interesting. And being a language person, that part really appealed.

    1. It's quite an interesting story, Margot, but I can see how the book might not be "you".

  2. It does indeed take a special talent to make a reader care about unlikable characters. Even so, like Margot, I'm not sure I want to spend time with these particular characters.

    1. Now... aren't you glad I didn't add another book to your TBR? ;-)

  3. I like the Cupidi series, but I can't take on another series. (says she bent over with books and lists). Glad you like this one. I, however, am happy with finishing Shifty's Boys, Sujata Massey's latest Perveen Mistry, Alex Wagner's memoir (MSNBC), and have Evergreen and more books piled up next to me in a near avalanche. By the way, wonderful interview at the PP with Naomi Hiraharai. Just fascinating about this book and Clark and Division, history of the Japanese in the U.S. and their mistreatment. She is a great interviewee.


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