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Meltdown - Martin Baker I like to think that I will give any book in any genre a fair chance and thrillers are a style of book I particularly enjoy. The story should be compelling but not too technical, the main character likeable - or at least worth respecting - yet realistically flawed. It should have some excitement and intrigue but stay - mostly - within the realms of the real world.

I felt Meltdown did not live up to these expectations, which was disappointing as it started promisingly. The blurb seemed to suggest a good thriller was to be found within the cover. However, the old adage `do not judge a book...' rings true here.

The first criticism that arose was the technical nature of Martin Baker's writing. I found it difficult to understand some of the scenarios and transactions that were being written about. I set this criticism to one side initially, however, feeling that a book of under 400 pages can only offer limited explanations and perhaps it was also intended to add an extra level of mystery to the book. By the end, I found the increasing use of jargon and technical phrasing frustrating and somewhat tedious. This applied to both the style of writing and the storyline itself. The book seemed to be one violent, sexual, unusual or just plain random occurrence after another.

Secondly, I found some of the scenarios in the book highly implausible. Highly intimate or personal interactions between characters that had previously had little contact occurred more than once. I didn't feel Martin Baker developed enough rapport between any of the characters to justify the subsequent intimacies or sharing of information. I hate to say that by the end of the book I was rolling my eyes at some of the things coming to light or taking place.

Finally, the main character. A gifted academic, who turns out to have an incredible talent at playing the stock market. However, by the end of the book I still couldn't decide whether or not I liked this character - nor, for that matter - any of the others. The character development is extremely limited and there does not seem anything remarkable about Samuel Spendlove at all. Half an hour after putting the book down, I was hard pushed to remember his name, let alone anything else about him.

I am happy to give any book a fair chance even one with a bad review but I can say that having persevered with this until the end, nothing would induce me to give it a higher recommendation or read it again.