I have read some reviews that have stated that is book could be read as a stand-alone novel, but I completely disagree. I think you need to read Dead Anyways before this book as it sets up everything and more for this book and I feel that a reader would be at a disadvantage if they did not read the first book in the series first. Plus the first one ends in a nice cliff hanger which will bring you to this book anyways.
When Arthur Cathcart emerged from a coma, he thought that that only mystery was who killed his wife Florencia and attempted to kill him. But his search for justice has uncovered a whole new mystery that Florencia seemed to be involved in, and what appears almost a whole life that Arthur knew nothing about. Arthur does what he does best, finding out information about people, he just never thought that he would have to do it on his deceased wife and what he would find would start the bullets coming for his head again. As Arthur follows the path around the world to track down who Florencia really was, he soon realizes that he is in a Cat and Mouse game with the USA government and terrorist groups alike.
It was a while ago that I read the first book in this series, so it took me a bit to remember what had happened in the first, but Knopf did a good job on going over the main parts of the previous novel in this series. That said I do not think that this book could be read as a standalone book as everything in this book is based upon the first one.
This is a book that you cannot just skim over you have to pay attention as there is a lot of information coming to the reader and just missing the tiniest piece will throw you off. This is why I liked this book so much, it is smart, intelligent and you never have the full picture as you are waiting for Arthur to uncover the next piece of the puzzle for you both to put it together. There is no figuring it out beforehand in this book, though you’re welcome to try (I always do). Additionally, I liked that it is not all about thugs and guns and shoot ups (though there are a few in there as well). It is more about the digital age that we live in now, how information is accessed and how easy it is to find information online as well as procuring things online as well. It is amazing what you can do with a little bit of knowhow.
What I love about Arthur is that he is not willing to leave the mystery alone; he has this quality in him that he NEEDS to know. He needs to know his who deceased wife Florencia was why she did what she did and who she was involved in. It is not enough to just pull the thread he needs to unravel the entire thing. This just adds to Arthur tenacity to the point that he is willing to put himself and his girlfriend Natsumi in danger. Arthur is really more about his brain than physical ability and the relationships that he has made along the way are who help him out with the brawn that he needs. Arthur is very aware of himself and what he can and cannot do as well as his physical appearance and it is nice to have a character that is very self-aware. The one thing I do not like about Arthur is that he always comparing his old mind to his new one because of the bullet to the head and the coma he suffered. I understand that there is a change in how he thinks but he just really does need to accept it and that his new mind is just a brilliant as the old just in a different way.
My only complaint of this book and I think I had the same complaint in the first book was Arthur's reliance on just Google. There are so many other websites out there, Google really only gives you max of 10% of what is on the Internet and that includes going through every page. While you can tell this book is well researched in the art of money laundering, coding and searching for information, I wish that Knopf would have branch out from Google.
I like the sophistication that Knopf writes with and the way he takes his main character around the world. You really do need to pay attention as you read this book in order to solve the puzzles that Arthur is trying to compute, so I guess with those words I would not consider this book an easy read that you can just skim through. I will for sure continue on with this series and have found that Knopf has written another one as well that I will be checking out.