Saturday, December 4, 2010

Outsourced-Dave Zeltserman

Dave Zeltserman
Serpent Tail, Feb 11 2011, $14.95
ISBN: 9781846687327

In New England software engineers Dan and Shrini are fired when their positions are outsourced to India. Middle aged Dan worries for his family as he only brings small change as a freelance contractor and his wife Carol works as a legal assistant though her hours have been cut. He also knows he needs health insurance as he is going blind unless he has surgery. Shrini finds it ironic that he cannot score work in the States, but once home in India will receive outsourcing offers from the same companies who rejected him.

After working on a bank security program in which the safety protocols were developed extremely poorly overseas, Dan sees the major flaw. He and Shrini work on a plan to rob the bank. Dan asks his former mentor out of work Joel to join the team, which he reluctantly does, but insists on Eric be on their heist unit so the latter can supply untraceable weapons. The final player is strange Gordon. The scheme is perfect on paper but the execution not so as people die. As the Feds, local cops led by Detective Resnick, and former KGB turned mobster Petrenko search for the money, the thieves struggle with each other and their fears that their families will learn of their crime caper.

Dan is the center of this crime caper as an upper middle class good citizen whose life has imploded due to Outsourcing of his job. Ironically the quality of work is irrelevant to the software companies as that takes away from the bottom line leading to the middle aged men (and the younger Shrini) being fired and able to draw up the perfect plan. Readers will feel for Dan. Although Petrenko and several of Dan’s cronies are more caricatures seemingly employed to enable the protagonist’s woes to stand out further, fans will enjoy this exciting amateur criminal Noir with a powerful poignant coda while the body count will remind readers of the line “War, friend only to the undertaker” from Edwin Starr’s War.

Harriet Klausner

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