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Be First or Be Dead
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Book and Film Discussions > February 2017 group read discussion: BE FIЯ$T OЯ BE DEAD #BOM_Feb_17

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message 1: by Alex (last edited Feb 10, 2017 10:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex (asato) We have exciting news! Our second group read of 2017 is a thriller like our last BOM. Thrillers were listed as one of the top genres in our group survey. We aim to please.

Without further ado, join us in reading the group founder's latest action-packed noir thriller.

Important
* Be sure to get your free copy. This free promotion ends today, 28 January.
* Also enter the giveaway which ends tomorrow, 29 January.


Be First or Be Dead
New friends, sex, drugs and lots of moolah. Michael enjoys his status of one of the richest men on the planet, indulging in every possible pleasure, unaware that those who really dominate the global economy have made their plans.

The realization that he's just a pawn in somebody's grand game may have come too late.

Will Michael survive a showdown with an ancient cabal and save his country?
Reading Schedule
Weekends are probably the days of the week when most people are active, so starting on each Friday, we can start discussing that week's (and any preceding week's) reading without having to use spoiler tags. Conversely, you must use spoiler tags for any discussion about future chapters.

10 Feb = Chapters 1-7
17 Feb = Chapters 8-25
24 Feb = Chapters 26-End


Alex (asato) i got my copy!


Kent Babin | 176 comments Question: can this be read as a standalone book or the first 2 should be read in order for this one to make sense?


message 4: by Alex (last edited Jan 28, 2017 04:06PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex (asato) Kent wrote: "Question: can this be read as a standalone book or the first 2 should be read in order for this one to make sense?"

yes, it can be read stand-alone.


Kent Babin | 176 comments Great! Just got a copy.


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Thanks for your interest, guys! Hope you'll enjoy and my vicious oligarchs won't spoil snowy or sunny (for the antipodes) February -:)


message 7: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments Sunny???


message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Hope Feb will be, if Jan isn't -:)


message 9: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments We'll see. This has been a dreadful summer here. Still, you will be pleased to know i have purchased a copy of your book.


message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Thanks, Ian and hope you'll enjoy reading it! However, any critique, questions, comments, thoughts are certainly welcome


message 11: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments On the question of discussions, is there anything formal at the end of the month, or do we just wait and see what happens? Just curious to prepare for the end of January :-)


message 12: by Alex (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex (asato) Ian wrote: "On the question of discussions, is there anything formal at the end of the month, or do we just wait and see what happens? Just curious to prepare for the end of January :-)"

tbh, i hadn't thought about it, but that is an excellent idea! we definitely should at least have a final discussion thread. i'll start one.


Eldon Farrell | 685 comments Excellent choice!! This book has been on my Kindle for a while now. Count me in :)


message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Eldon wrote: "Excellent choice!! This book has been on my Kindle for a while now. Count me in :)"

Counting -:) Hope you'll enjoy


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Just set the price at 1 euro, dollar, pound and a dollar equivalent at other markets, so as to alleviate the pressure of the disbursement on the reading budget of those who'd be interested in BoM -:)
Don't know whether it takes effect immediately, but it's gonna happen within the nearest hours and remain effective for a couple of weeks.


message 16: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments Nik, I have a question, which may display my ignorance. I am a little way in (I think Chapter 3) where a woman is introduced as Mrs Vorotavich. Now, I thought the "ich" ending for Russians indicated a patronym, which would mean she was "Mrs son of Vorat". That seems unlikely. Or does this not count in Ukraine?

Sorry to be a pest, but I want this clarified, because the next thing I am writing has some Russians in it, and I don't want to get something obviously wrong :-)


message 17: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments I'll gladly explain, Ian -:)

Yeah, 'ich' may be the ending for a male patronym, thus Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, however for a female it would be Ludmila Vladimirovna (if her father is Vladimir) Putina.
However, there are many surnames ending with 'ich', especially of Belarus origin, Russian - Jewish or former Yugoslavian - written as 'ic'. So, you have, for example: 'Andrey Makarevich' - a famous Russian rock singer.
In spoken language you distinguish also with the emphasis..
As there is no name 'Vorot', there would be no patronym - Vorotavich, so it leaves us with the surname option.
Agree, someone like Ivan Ivanovich Ivanovich (quite a possibility) may be a little confusing -:)


message 18: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments Thanks Nik. While I have you in an answering mood :-), one more question. One of my female protagonists is called Svetlana. Now, if a male was to call her by the diminutive "Sveta" would that indicate familiarity? Similarly, you have a Mikhael. Who would call him "Masha"? Would you have to be a reasonable friend? Business associate? Or is it more general? Getting both of these right could have plot significance for me.

I was also taken by your description of drive through Switzerland and the scenery to die for. After my Czech venture, I drove through Switzerland and never saw an alp, let alone a waterfall. Cloud, fog and drizzle were to blame.


message 19: by Kent (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kent Babin | 176 comments I think Mikhael goes to "Misha." (sorry, if that was just a typo)

I don't want to speak for Nik, but my experience is that you wouldn't call a Mikhael "Misha" to his face unless you were on friendly terms (or if he was younger). You could, if you were talking to someone else, refer to a Mikhael as Misha, especially if it was tongue in cheek. The former president of Georgia, Mikhael Saakashvili, was often referred to as Misha by pretty much everyone.

I think the same applies to Svetlana/Sveta. Anyone older or on friendly terms could say Sveta.


message 20: by Nik (last edited Feb 06, 2017 09:51AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Kent described well how it is. Anything diminutive requires familiarity (business associate, friend, family) or for kids. In Russian, like I heard in Spanish and Portuguese too, you refer to someone with 'you' plural and use often not only the name but also a patronym. At some stage, especially between peers you can waive the formal tone, expressly mentioning it, and switch to less formal.
Formal would sound strange between friends and informal - in biz.

Apparently, I had more luck with the weather in Switzerland and the drive from Lugano to Lichtenstein was at times simply mesmerizing with only occasional people and cars passing by.. -:)


message 21: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments Thanks, Kent & Nik. The good news is I had it right, so my current writing stands (and yes, Kent, a typo).

Glad you saw more than I did, Nik. Still, I found Lichtenstein quaint - blink and you miss it! (Figuratively, I was not driving quite that fast.)


message 22: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Yeah, just a tiny principality size of a few quarters.. Found them surprisingly big fans of philately -:)


message 23: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments Yeah, for a while they were making huge amounts of money selling stamps. Obviously not a lot used for internal postage - it would be as easy to walk to where you wanted to deliver the mail as walk to the post office :-)


message 24: by Kent (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kent Babin | 176 comments Just started reading last night. I like "Neplokho Publishing." :)

Something that wasn't immediately obvious was the time period we're dealing wit. Seems like it might be near future?


message 25: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments I put it at a slightly alternative recent past, when there was the threat of the pro-Russian forces taking Mariupol but I need to read more. Funnily enough, I am up to Lichtenstein :-)


message 26: by Kent (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kent Babin | 176 comments Ah, ok. I could see that as well. My thought was that Russia broke the "truce" a couple of years down the road and decided to see how far they could push.


message 27: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Kent wrote: "Just started reading last night. I like "Neplokho Publishing." :)

Something that wasn't immediately obvious was the time period we're dealing wit. Seems like it might be near future?"


Thanks, when buying a set of ISBNs needed to come up with an imprint name. Maybe that's the best part of the book -:)

Can be alternative, near future or just contemporary, as a few days ago the bombardment resumed and intensified in Eastern Ukraine


message 28: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Ian wrote: "I put it at a slightly alternative recent past, when there was the threat of the pro-Russian forces taking Mariupol but I need to read more. Funnily enough, I am up to Lichtenstein :-)"

You are pretty far in then -:)


message 29: by Kent (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kent Babin | 176 comments Did you think your book was coming true when Russia started lighting up the sky again? :)


message 30: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Kent wrote: "Did you think your book was coming true when Russia started lighting up the sky again? :)"

I sincerely hope not, but you can never know. Although it's sort of a grotesque, I think 2 tendencies that I try to explore in the book may be possible, but maybe more about them a little later, so not to spoil -:)


message 31: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments Not wanting to soil for the others, but is the start of chapter 12 really as intended? It looks to me as if something was missed out?


message 32: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Hope it is, unless Amazon started text's targeted liquidations -:) Pls, advise afterwards what you felt missing...


message 33: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments Nik wrote: "Hope it is, unless Amazon started text's targeted liquidations -:) Pls, advise afterwards what you felt missing..."

I shall wait until the end of the month discussion, and reread it to make sure. Also, to make the "book of the month" worthwhile, I shall write a review, and in case there are further issues like this, if you give me an address I shall forward a copy to you out of the public eye for comment first, and if there is a text issue, the chance to correct it.

PS - if anyone reading this suddenly decides to give my book a review, feel free to do so and make my day :-)


message 34: by Kent (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kent Babin | 176 comments I definitely agree that reviews are important to making the BoM worthwhile.

I was also going to ask Nik if he would like feedback in private on his writing, structure, etc.


message 35: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Sure, guys, I'll appreciate very much any input you might have. The more critical the better! I treasure candid feedback more than benefits of a five star review.
My email is: nikolas.krasnobayev@gmail.com
Thanks in advance!


message 36: by Alex (last edited Feb 08, 2017 01:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex (asato) Ian wrote: "Nik wrote: "Hope it is, unless Amazon started text's targeted liquidations -:) Pls, advise afterwards what you felt missing..."

I shall wait until the end of the month discussion, and reread it to..."


Maybe we could start open--no spoiler tags--discussions on the 15th. What do you all think? We do want to have a discussion of the whole book before the end of the month. (that's one thing I think we should've done in the previous BOMs).


message 37: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments I shall wait until a discussion starts, or the end of the month, whichever happens sooner. My concern would be for late starters.


message 38: by Kent (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kent Babin | 176 comments Sounds good, Nik. I'm almost done, so expect a full report within the next week or so. :)

I'm curious as to how many people are reading the book this month. So far, it just seems like Ian and I.

One idea is to say that on the 7th, for example, the group will start discussing the first third of the book, on the 14th, the second third, and on the 21st, the last third.


message 39: by Alex (last edited Feb 08, 2017 09:57PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex (asato) Kent wrote: "One idea is to say that on the 7th, for example, the group will start discussing the first third of the book, on the 14th, the second third, and on the 21st, the last third. "

i started it. you want it staggered. that gives late starters a little chance to catch up. that means that by the 21st, we can discuss the entire book w/o using spoiler tags. sure, that's fine.

anyone else want to weigh in?


message 40: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Kent wrote: "Sounds good, Nik. I'm almost done, so expect a full report within the next week or so. :)..."

Great, thanks!

Although traveling, I'm available for discussions any time and in any format -:)


message 41: by Alex (last edited Feb 10, 2017 10:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex (asato) Nik wrote: "Kent wrote: "Sounds good, Nik. I'm almost done, so expect a full report within the next week or so. :)..."

Great, thanks!

Although traveling, I'm available for discussions any time and in any fo..."


So, let's take Kent's idea. Weekends are probably the days of the week when most people are active, so starting on each Friday, we can start discussing that week's (and any preceding week's) reading without having to use spoiler tags. Conversely, you must use spoiler tags for any discussion about future chapters.

10 Feb = Chapters 1-7
17 Feb = Chapters 8-25
24 Feb = Chapters 26-End


message 42: by Kent (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kent Babin | 176 comments Sounds good. Thanks for setting this up, Alex. :)

Should we start the discussion on this thread?


message 43: by Alex (last edited Feb 10, 2017 11:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex (asato) Kent wrote: "Sounds good. Thanks for setting this up, Alex. :)

Should we start the discussion on this thread?"


yep! I'm in chapter 2, but I'll be caught up tomorrow. so don't let me stop the flow of the discussion. (i just won't look too closely. ^_-)


message 44: by Kent (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kent Babin | 176 comments Ok, here goes;

1) The major idea in the first 7 chapters is that of a wealth accumulation limit. A person could hold up to 100 million dollars; any additional would have to be lent, re-invested, or in some way redistributed to people who could benefit. Would such an idea hold much weight in the real world?

2) One other interesting scenario is whether Russia would gleefully start firing missiles at the US and attempting to build a land bridge to Transdniestria simply to tank the global economy? The question that crossed my mind was "What's in it for them?" I'm not sure access to capital is a good enough reason.

3) Chapter 7 introduces Emil's betrayal. Did you find it convincing or even feel bad for Misha?

4) The group that Misha meets at the Swiss castle seems similar to the infamous Illuminati. How would modern day tech companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple respond to hostile takeovers amidst a tanking global economy?


message 45: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments We even have a dedicated thread opened on the first issue, if someone wants to share what s/he thinks:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

They probably wouldn't attack US to tank economy and hopefully not for a pretense, but to fire something in the direction in return for some handsome reward or just to show they are serious, might not be entirely impossible...

Economy becomes a target more and more often, be it through sanctions or through keeping oil prices extremely low to hurt Russia, for example (if indeed it was arranged).

Old money vs new money, is it possible? Meteoric capitalization of high-tech, sometimes almost assetless companies, caught many by surprise... Sometimes we witness things that may have multiple explanations... Like forcing Cyprus (where many Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs kept the money) to impose 10% "tax" on deposits, may have additional agenda or multi-billion fine on Apple by EU... Sure, it's only conspiracy theories - but something fun to toy with -:)


message 46: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments My first go. Chapter 2 is written by Alex Shaw (from memory - my Kindle is in another room so haven't checked). Why one chapter? What part did Shaw have on the rest. My feeling at the time was chapter 2 was stylistically quite different from chapter 1, but it seemed to be less so with what followed. Maybe I was just getting more used to Nik's writing style, but why not use this to find out? :-)


message 47: by Kent (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kent Babin | 176 comments Thanks, Nik.

Btw, #3 was aimed at Ian and Alex, or whoever else is reading.


message 48: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Miller | 9264 comments Kent wrote: "Thanks, Nik.

Btw, #3 was aimed at Ian and Alex, or whoever else is reading."


OK, my response. Emil's betrayal did not surprise me that much, but the scene raised a slightly different issue for me. At the end of chapter 1, I think, Misha starts to have something like a sermon going through his mind, and my initial response here was, Nik is inserting a little Nik. But if this is real, then I found Misha's response to Emil's betrayal was somewhat underdone. If we forgot about that little sermon, then it changes Misha's character, and to me the response was more or less OK. My take on Misha's character was that Misha was a cold heartless bastard interested only in making money in great chunks, and lesser roaches will be stamped on. His problem now is, Emil is more likely to see Misha as a roach. But since Emil is the same sort of person, and not exceptionally friendly in chapter 1, this is unwelcome news, but not exactly a shock.

Nik may be amused at that interpretation ????


message 49: by Kent (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kent Babin | 176 comments Interesting take. I felt that up to this point, Misha seemed more likeable than reprehensible. The "fair" oligarch as opposed to the ruthless one. Therefore, I should probably have felt a bit bad for him when he was betrayed. Instead, I had to go back and re-read the conversation to make sure I understand exactly what was happening.

I just wasn't convinced that Misha would be caught hook, line, and sinker so easily by Emil. Misha didn't get to where he was by being naive. I thought Emil could have strung him out more and deepened the impact of the betrayal, which in turn would have made Misha's response one of sincere shock.


message 50: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13124 comments Ian wrote: "My first go. Chapter 2 is written by Alex Shaw (from memory - my Kindle is in another room so haven't checked). Why one chapter? What part did Shaw have on the rest. My feeling at the time was chap..."

Alex Shaw is a popular British thriller author, who spent some years doing biz in Ukraine, and who frequently sets his books there. Having him as a guest-star is a gimmick of a sort and I thought it might give him and his protagonist additional exposure in a compatible book, some amusement or maybe irritation to the readers -:), and having two names on Amazon - a little more to both of us in terms of discoverability, (for me - especially in the UK).
But most important - it was fun. I gave him sketches + characters of a few random chapters to choose from. He's written the 2-nd chapter, having pretty much a free hand on its content, but hasn't been involved in anything else. I just had to weave his chapter in....

Inspired by previous collaborations (I also had a co-author on the first book) and when having enough interested authors, I'd like to do a literary "four rooms" (like the movie, produced by Tarantino, Rodriguez and others, each directing a separate part), based on multiple authors' participation, each contributing a heist episode, which I hope to tie into a grand plan...


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