The Bezzle is another good one from Cory Doctorow

The Bezzle is another good one from Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow’s newest book, The Bezzle, is a second installment in his Martin Hench, tech-nerd, forensic accountant series. It was released Tuesday and I got my Kickstarter-backed audiobook onto my phone the same day. Yesterday, I started a 12-hour road trip to California and listened to the ~8hr long book in a single stretch of the interstate 5 freeway.

I absolutely loved the first book in the series, Red Team Blues, and if had to come up with any slight ding against The Bezzle it’s that because the first book did so much world-building, the second book felt a little familiar to me. That said, the second installment never links the storyline with the first book, so you can read either book in any order. I think this is a problem for anything that could be seen as a sequel—any subsequent stories aren’t going to surprise you as much as the first one did.

Martin’s story this time around is a bigger one, and covers a larger range of subjects, but without giving away any spoilers (the book is only 2 days post-launch), I enjoyed how things wrapped up by the end. I got a real kick out of the way Cory deftly covers scammers of all shapes and sizes in all walks of life woven throughout the three-act story.

I first met Cory in 2000 or 2001, when we ran in a lot of the same tech circles and knew a lot of the same people. I was delighted when there was a chapter covering the work of Carl Malamud without mentioning his name but I could spot the homage to his project. I also suspect a minor character was one of my old bosses at Creative Commons. If you followed Cory for years on BoingBoing and then later on his Pluralistic site, a lot of the subjects found on those blogs end up as part of the new book’s overall story and each time I recognized a thing I’d seen him write about in the past, I was again delighted.

Like the first audiobook, Wil Wheaton narrates and does a fantastic job coming up with unique voices for every character and really makes the story come alive in his telling. I’m kind of a stickler for good audiobook narration and I quickly grow bored of a book when it gets a flat droning reading from a generic voiceover. Wil Wheaton is almost doing a 1940s radio play here, and like the first book, I loved his take on it.

I rarely review books but I loved Red Team Blues and if I was posting a review at Amazon, I’d give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. The Bezzle was another fun romp, and would probably get 4 out of 5 stars, with the only dings from being a sequel I was familiar with, and the story subject matter goes a little darker.

If you love tech stuff and stories of people trying to fight the good fight, check out either book, and if you prefer audiobooks, you certainly won’t be disappointed. The first couple chapters of The Bezzle are free to download on Cory’s site so if you want to hear a sample before pulling the trigger, give it a listen. I was hooked from the get-go, and only paused the story once in the middle to fuel-up during my roadtrip.

I listened to the very end, and like the first book, Cory mentions the name of the next installment, which is already slated for a release a year from now, in February 2025, and I can’t wait.