A Second Arthur Hailey: Find Virgil by Frank Freudberg


The Blurb Reads

Second-hand smoke gave Martin Muntor lung cancer … and he’s mad. Very mad. And he’s going to do something about it. 

It’s 1995, and the tobacco industry thinks it’s invincible. But is it? Muntor devises an ingenious strategy to put Big Tobacco out of business, and he doesn’t care how many people he has to take with him in order to do it.

Down-on-his-luck cigarette company investigator Tommy Rhoads has other ideas, though. Both Muntor and Rhoads are smart, resourceful, and motivated — and neither one has anything to lose. They’re full speed ahead and on a collision course to a showdown you won’t forget. 

Read Find Virgil now, and go along for the wild ride.

Woah!! This is one hell of a book!! When I read the Introduction on Amazon (the Author Review here, outlining the history of the book, I knew I had to get it. I read it zip-zip-zip on my Kindle!)

What makes it even better is that it reminded me of Arthur Hailey. Arthur Hailey, in my opinion, is the God of Detail in books. He can spin stories out of the most minute details in books and can enthrall you with how an industry works!

I found so many similarities between this book and between an Arthur Hailey. This book considers the journey of Martin Muntor through the 1990s and his self- declared war against the Tobacco Companies. I didn’t fathom how many cigarettes were consumed in the USA per day! The statistics are/were staggering. People smoking poison, and people dying from simply inhaling that poison. A moot point was that, if someone dies from passive smoking, who is to be blamed? The person who smokes? Or the Tobacco Companies making millions off people who smoke? Or the Government who earns so much revenue off this poison consuming activity, to not have the firmness to shut this industry down? Debates will keep on raging. And passive smokers will keep on suffering. Who pays the cancer bills then if the Insurance Companies desert you? What if you lose social security? Should you be condemned to die, just because someone had a ciggie because it was “cool”?

The book raises important questions about social decay and also about profiteering at the expense of killing millions. Although there may not be many deaths and many smokers may not be diagnosed with cancer, it still doesn’t mean that something which is so harmful, should be allowed to be propagated, expanded and allowed to grow!

The idea that Muntor has to bring down the Tobacco industry is brilliant. His demands make them bend and the company he targets, goes down on their knees. The corrupt CEO, Nick Pratt and his hitman Valzmann, show us the seedy world that exists at the top of Companies where every life is only considered important till the point it brings in revenue, profits, executive remuneration and stock bonuses. It is a selfish approach, but very true. GLOBALLY!

I felt the book would make a terrific movie. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened in the end and I kept turning page after page, looking for one clue, one new twist which would lead the FBI to Muntor. One of the most essential characters was that of a Psychologist who helps Rhoades track down Muntor. Reading about this, I realised, how often we write off people who don’t seem to talk in the same language as us. Even though they may hold important clues to help us evolve.

The END WAS BRILLIANT!! At that point, time stood still. I left all my work aside and kept reading, to discover and find how this epic saga ended. I felt this is a book every Smokers Association MUST HAVE!! So that they can show people who smoke, what happens.

Even though this is a fictional account, I think the author has scratched the surface of something very real. And I don’t think it is a nice view!

This book earns all my praise!!

My Rating: 4/5

4star

 

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