Posted in 3 paws, Book Club, fiction on April 6, 2014

This month we read 419 by Will Ferguson.  I chose this book after I saw a write up in the paper last year and the topic sounded very interesting – the scams that you receive in your email inbox probably every day from Nigeria wanting you to hold money for someone trying to leave the country.  There were mixed reviews from my book club and you can see my review below.



A startlingly original tale of heartbreak and suspense

A car tumbles down a snowy ravine. Accident or suicide?

On the other side of the world, a young woman walks out of a sandstorm in sub-Saharan Africa. In the labyrinth of the Niger Delta, a young boy learns to survive by navigating through the gas flares and oil spills of a ruined landscape. In the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims.

Lives intersect, worlds collide, a family falls apart. And it all begins with a single email: “Dear Sir, I am the son of an exiled Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help …”

419 takes readers behind the scene of the world’s most insidious internet scam. When Laura’s father gets caught up in one such swindle and pays with his life, she is forced to leave the comfort of North America to make a journey deep into the dangerous back streets and alleyways of the Lagos underworld to confront her father’s killer. What she finds there will change her life forever.


I really liked the concept of this book – the 419 story. I know I get so many of those scam emails it makes me crazy, but I just spam them and delete. Anyway, it is interesting that people do fall for these scams and this is what happens when one man falls prey to the scam and ends up losing everything and putting his family in a situation that no one would hope for.

There are 3 different stories that all intersect at the end. Of course we never find out why Amina was walking away from her previous life. I can speculate but would have been nice to have that tidbit too.

I do think there was a lot of text (backstory) that could have been cut out, I found myself skimming those sections, and don’t think anything would have been lost had they not been there. Some of it was necessary to paint the picture of what it is like growing up there and what they experienced, but not all.

We give this 3 paws.