The Bottom Line: A glossy blast of suspense, romance, and political thrills—all with the sultry setting of Rio to add a little spice. Readers looking for a blend of true crime and international intrigue should give Blowout a chance.
Xingu Fawcett explores what may have happened when the U.S. Department of Justice investigated a corruption scheme in Brazil involving oil drilling, organized crime, and back-alley deals. Loosely inspired by Operation Car Wash, an actual investigation carried out in Brazil back in 2014, Blowout jets between Wall Street and Rio de Janeiro, deftly blending torn-from-the-headlines facts with a fast-paced romp. The investigations rocked the bedrooms and boardrooms of the politicians, corporate executives, and the management of the 6th largest energy company. About $20B USD had been siphoned off by a criminal cartel of financial traders, computer specialists and black-market currency dealers.
Fawcett’s writing takes some getting used to, with abrupt jumps from the barrios of Rio to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the frenzied halls of the Brazilian authorities. The style can cause whiplash, but the book’s main characters, who are prone to long monologues and soap opera-worthy decisions, keep things rolling along. What seems like a straightforward murder case evolves into a tale of corruption and bribery, as well as a sensual love triangle between the testosterone-fueled young American man in charge of the world’s most sophisticated oil rig, and two very uninhibited passionate women experience seekers.
Final note: Blowout includes not only a forward, but also a preface, a prologue AND a character synopsis before the first chapter begins. May we suggest getting right into the action and circling back to read those items later? Readers who do so will be rewarded with an absolute page-turner of a story.