Cold Wallet by Rosy Fenwicke
There is something so satisfying about a thriller that captures the imagination from the start and maintains the energy and focus throughout the entire thing. So often they drift into mundane cliches. Not so with Cold Wallet, Rosy Fenwicke’s new book. After reading Death Actually the expectations were high for Cold Wallet - albeit a totally different premise!
Tackling the world of Crypto is never an easy task. It’s very complex, context bound, and challenging to express using only words. This is a very impressive overview of how the whole blockchain scenario works using the metaphor of a romantic liaison. Certainly a first in the world of crypto I am sure! The subject matter is challenging if you are not au fait with even some of the terminology, but that doesn’t hold the story back in any way. This is a fantastic mystery even without the jargon.
Fenwicke sets up the protagonist, Jess, in a world completely foreign to her. There hasn’t been much call for the world of blockchain as a physician. But the sudden death of her beloved husband thrusts her into the technology race that is cryptocurrency pitched against the ever present threat of her husband’s business partner who, clearly, has an agenda of his own. It seems the company, Vaultange, is not all that it seems.
The narrative is fast paced, and definitely not in a straight line. There is never a clear understanding as to who is the team you're supporting, and who you are against. Every character has their issues and significant baggage, so you’re never quite sure what is coming at you next. There is a twist in the story, but it’s not as surprising as I wanted it to be. There were plenty of suggestions and foreshadowing throughout leading to this point.
One area that was a little disconcerted with was the use of graphic violence which seemed a little unnecessary to the overall trajectory of the novel. However, if one skips over these bits there is still much to be enjoyed in the text.
It is really clear that Fenwicke has done a sizable amount of homework in constructing this book. It is meticulous in its accuracy and her clear command of the subject matter. The characters are sharply constructed with depth and strong motivational drivers that make them authentic and engaging.
The narrative progression moves with ease between historical context and current elements. It adds illustration to the events and creates plausible scenarios that keep the reader guessing from start to finish. An expertly constructed story with those important little details that really do make it something special.
Reviewer: Chris Reed