Satan's Gold

Money makes the world go 'round. Or stop. (A Tyler Jackson Thriller)

Fiction - Thriller - Espionage
306 Pages
Reviewed on 03/10/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite

In the lightning-moving Satan’s Gold, author Michael Ray Ewing plops us down into the action in the very first line and doesn’t stop until the surprising but gratifying ending. Tyler Jackson is a Quantico graduate now using his training to track down his rival Daemon’s stolen Russian money for a commission, getting shot at, crawling through sewers and falling apart Chicago brownstones, waking up from recurring nightmares of being shot, and traversing complicated computer transactions through a network of hackers. Yet, besides all this mind-boggling action, Jackson is trying to reunite with Suzanne, his disillusioned fiancée. Yes, mind-boggling, so before you open this amazing novel, prepare your brain with coffee and fasten your seatbelt. If you don’t have a degree in computer science, be ready to get your diploma in this book.

With my limited knowledge of digital electronics, I was nevertheless swept away immediately by Mr. Ewing’s action-oriented prose. Though I had to Google a few things along the way, like ‘who is Jean Valjean,’ everyone likes a book from which you learn a few things while reading. Besides the tech framework of the narrative, there’s the endearing character of Tyler Jackson, his wry wit, his aversion to using illegal methodology to avert a monumental heist, and his affection for Suzanne which opens the book. Then, there’s the writing itself. Despite the complexities of hacking and decrypting passwords of financial accounts, Ewing’s style (short, declarative sentences, realistic dialogue, gritty violence, emotive locale images, and excellent character descriptions) keeps the pace at a furious speed. I not only read this novel but felt it. Get ready for a mind-bending and ultimately satisfying read.

Pikasho Deka

From author Michael Ray Ewing comes a fast-paced, action-oriented rollercoaster of a crime thriller named Satan's Gold. Former FBI Agent Tyler Jackson continues his search for the criminal mastermind Daemon alongside his loyal team members -- A hacking prodigy named Dixie Stevens, ex-cop Quinten Pavak, and former CIA operative Tracy O' Connell. Meanwhile, after stealing billions from the Russian Federation, Daemon attacks the US Federal Reserve Districts, sending the global economy into a tailspin. But the hunters soon become the hunted as killers funded by the CIA and Jackson's former boss Marcus Byrnes track Jackson's pursuit of Daemon. Jackson must now push himself to his limits and use all his expertise to throw the manhunt off himself and his team and discover the true identity of Daemon before the money is lost forever.

Every single page of Satan's Gold is a quicken-your-pulse and 'hold on for the ride' experience. Michael Ray Ewing uses multiple POVs to perfection to showcase the various factions involved in the narrative. The plot is woven intricately and sometimes gives the impression of trying to decipher a complex code as extra pieces continue to be added to the puzzle to create an invigorating narrative and a mesmerizing story. Despite the large cast, the author gives every character a unique personality and an in-depth backstory. I especially enjoyed the banter between Jackson and his team and found Dixie to be a particularly quirky character. I think fans of the Jason Bourne series will find Satan's Gold highly entertaining. I did, and I highly recommend it.

Jennifer Ibiam

Satan's Gold by Michael Ray Ewing is a fantastic novel suitable for lovers of crime, thrills, and adventure. It started six years before when Daemon, a financial expert and hacker, was recruited by some CIA big shots to steal billions from the Russian financial reserve. Daemon was betrayed and served up to the government, but he disappeared. Agent Jackson almost caught him but was shot and got his marching orders from the FBI. Daemon and Jackson had scores to settle with each other and their corrupt bosses. Jackson had a goal to clear his name while Daemon's dream was to sink the United States reserve, hence bringing the world to a standstill. Two tough men are against each other and pursued by the government. Who will be the last man standing?

Satan's Gold by Michael Ray Ewing is an action-packed book that I enjoyed reading. The fast pace and consistent shots of adrenaline kept me on edge. I loved all the characters because they were relevant, whether protagonist, antagonist or supporting. They were also well developed, making it easy to connect with them. Dixie was my star because of her devotion, loyalty, and bravery. Michael put together a unique plot that shed light on the corruption that has eaten into every layer of the government and law enforcement fabric. It was unpredictable, captivating, and without any fluff. Michael's writing style is fun and engaging, yet simple and conversational. I also loved that the book was exceptionally edited. Satan's Gold will be a good adaptation for an action movie. I'd love to read more from Michael!

Foluso Falaye

Satan's Gold by Michael Ray Ewing puts into perspective the statement, "Money is the root of all evil." Jackson's hope to redeem himself as a respectable former federal agent is tied to him catching Daemon, the ever-elusive hacker who's a threat to the world's financial system. Even with Jackson's team of audacious experts and criminals, his target seems to always stay one step ahead of him, and the hunt is further sinking his reputation and affecting his health and his relationship with his lover. To make matters worse, there's an anonymous killer on the loose and a top FBI agent threatens to punish Jackson and his loved ones if he refuses his request. Time is running out for Jackson! He must find his targets before they find him.

I love stories that portray a different reality arising from losing one or more of the things that we have evolved to depend on as humans. I like how Satan's Gold depicts the possibility of a failure in the world's financial system. Readers should prepare for an immersing, intricate, and fast-paced plot that's filled with many surprising twists. The author's attention to detail is impressive as all the different parts and perspectives of the book fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. However, the extensiveness of the story and the large number of characters might be a bit off-putting. Satan's Gold would be perfect for readers seeking a story woven around hackers, FBI and CIA agents, smart criminals, and solving puzzles to find the offenders.

Vincent Dublado

Two paths. One goal. Getting his life back. It did not go well for Tyler Jackson the last time he tried to corral Alec Janné, aka Daemon. In Satan’s Gold, Michael Ray Ewing brings back the disgraced ex-FBI agent as more zeros are moving out of Daemon’s account through the maze of his offshore corporate shell accounts. Jackson wants to trail where the money is going, but he is no longer in the game and in no physical condition to pursue a relentless hacker. The two months of recovery from the slugs he received from Daemon had cost him his muscle and he has not been eating well. On top of that, his old boss wants him thrown down a hole. As the map of the twelve Federal Reserve District banks falls into Daemon’s hands, Tyler throws his hat back into the ring to follow the money trail worth billions.

Satan’s Gold emphasizes the ever-present dangers of cybercrime and how hackers perform their illegal trade. This subject makes for fascinating reading as it gives Jackson a hard time running after his elusive target. As a protagonist trying to redeem himself from a past mistake, Jackson not only faces a Lupinesque adversary but also threats coming from his former boss and an unidentified assassin, which make his task even more difficult. Ewing’s ingenious plotting goes well with the story’s quick pacing. The cliffhanger as to whether or not Jackson would be able to save the world sustains the thrill of the story’s endgame. This is cutting-edge techno-thriller espionage that is compelling enough to make you think about the safety of electronic financial transactions. Ewing’s laudable research into the subject matter deserves to be rewarded with more reading audience.

Romuald Dzemo

Satan's Gold: Money Makes the World Go 'Round. Or stop. (A Tyler Jackson Thriller) by Michael Ray Ewing has a strong appeal to fans of espionage and tautly plotted novels. A hacker who goes by the name of Daemon is after financial institutions and the U.S. Federal Reserve is his biggest target. Ex-FBI agent Tyler Jackson has a past that still haunts him, and all he wants is to clear his name and get his life back. Jackson is out to unmask Daemon, racing against time to unravel the hacker’s plot. Can he stop Daemon before he sinks the financial world? His investigation becomes more complicated when an assassin begins to follow his every step. The odds are stacked against Tyler and it is not only his life but the lives of those he loves that are on the line.

This is a fast-paced, cleverly-plotted, and deftly written thriller that features sophisticated characters. The author writes characters that are real and I particularly enjoyed how he builds their backgrounds. The author takes great care in showing relationships between the characters, starting with Suzanne and Tyler, and exploring the human threads that hold their relationships — some very fragile. The protagonist is a character that has been deeply hurt and is fighting to make things right. The plot displays the work of an intelligent and skilled writer, loaded with surprising twists that readers won’t see coming. Satan's Gold is suspenseful and Michael Ray Ewing has created a protagonist that readers will root for and genuinely care about. It is a fun read for anyone looking for a good book in the area of espionage.

Peggy Jo Wipf

Michael Ray Ewing makes a promising start in his writing career with Satan’s Gold. This techno-thriller has Tyler Jackson hunting the phantom Daemon, while he and his team are being hunted. Years ago FBI agent Jackson and his partner, Lambert, were close to catching this man who had stolen billions from the Russians when he took a bullet that ended his career. Now Daemon is in Jackson's sights again when he takes on the Federal Reserve’s accounts. Jackson and his team will end up charged for the crime if they help or not. He questions whether he can finish his mission, keep his team from harm, and save the woman he loves.  

Satan’s Gold is a fast-paced novel that keeps the reader engaged with the criminal actions of the characters. Michael Ray Ewing plants significant clues throughout the novel while intensifying the game the characters are playing. When Tyler Jackson is wedged between the federal agencies and criminals, he realizes they are the same. The friction between the characters is severe as they each realize this game is for keeps, and if they don’t stay ahead, the assassin is just waiting around the corner. Overall, this well-written novel has a web of complex deception woven within the plot and characters. The author skillfully keeps you hanging from one dramatic event to a larger crisis, with no hope for Tyler Jackson to shake the strands coiling around his freedom. I highly recommend this novel to those who enjoy a gripping espionage thriller.

Susan Sewell

A former CIA agent attempts to steal funds from the United States Federal Reserve which will result in a national crisis worse than the 1930s Great Depression if a discredited ex-FBI agent and his motley team can't stop him in the exciting espionage thriller, Satan's Gold: Money Makes The World Go 'round. Or Stop (A Tyler Jackson Thriller) by Michael Ray Ewing. Even though he no longer works for the Bureau, Tyler Jackson is still on the hunt for Daemon, the cagey ex-CIA agent who stole billions from the Russian government and damaged Russia's economy. Now Daemon has targeted the Federal Reserve, and Tyler and his team are the only ones who can stop him. However, with his former boss threatening him and his associates with trumped-up charges and Daemon wanting to kill him, Tyler has his work cut out for him. Can he and his team stop Daemon before it is too late?

Satan's Gold by Michael Ray Ewing is a riveting spy novel containing high stakes and action-packed scenes. With striking characters, a tight time frame, and a tense atmosphere, the story is spellbinding from the first page until the last. Never slowing down, the storyline flows at a brisk pace, keeping the feelings of anticipation and anxiety high until it reaches the electrifying denouement. It is a suspenseful story with plenty of conflict and drama to satisfy everyone who relishes breathtaking action-packed novels complete with intrigue and computer technology.

Asher Syed

Satan's Gold by Michael Ray Ewing is a crime thriller that pits a fallen protagonist, Tyler Jackson, against a modern-day pirate named Daemon. The plot is contemporary and extremely fast-paced as it ventures into a years-long battle between dueling foes, both purged from the registers of the respective agencies that gave rise to them; Jackson with the FBI and Daemon, a high-tech black hat marauder, formerly of the CIA. What's a few billion snatched from Russia when the entirety of the United States Federal Reserve is ripe for the picking? Everyone has lost faith in Jackson, grinding his personal and professional life into the ground as he always finds himself fifty paces behind a mastermind. He needs this win for himself, but also because the global economy is about to turn into little more than a flashing cursor on a screen filled with zeroes. Told from alternating points of view, the two sides of the same coin spin with only one person able to come out on top.

It's been a long time since I put down a book and felt giddy. In the interests of full disclosure, I spent years convincing high net-worth investors that their money was safe with my employer, an unnamed bank that happens to be the largest in the United States. I read a ton of financial crime and Michael Ray Ewing has now made me excited for the genre again. Satan's Gold is tightly written and intelligently witty, dancing between the dark and the less dark. I loved Jackson and the way he is willing to put his nose to the pavement even when his motives and self-sabotage aren't even pretending to hide anymore. Dixie, a seriously brilliant hacker assisting Jackson, is worthy of her own spinoff. Over a drink she casually mentions that she overslept when she was supposed to be in court as a character witness, her college boyfriend gets ten years and she unleashes a federal virus for the ages. The chemistry between Jackson and Dixie is perfect. I envision their nemesis, Janné, as an Eastern European Vincent Cassell in my mind, maneuvering underground and the dark web with mind-bending ingenuity. Overall, this is a great read. Very highly recommended.

Rabia Tanveer

Satan's Gold: Money Makes the World Go 'Round. Or Stop - A Tyler Jackson Thriller by Michael Ray Ewing is a thriller that will make you sit on the edge of your seat and hold on as you wait for more. There was a time when our antagonist worked as a CIA financial analyst, but now he is known as Daemon, a criminal mastermind. He stole billions from Russian Federation, and now his next target was the U.S. Federal Reserve. There was no one smart or strong enough to stop him, except maybe Tyler Jackson. As an ex-agent, Jackson had a lot to prove and a huge chip on his shoulder. He was on Daemon’s trail, and Jackson would not stop until he got Daemon. With Dixie (a hacker) by his side, Jackson’s chances of finding Daemon were high. However, with every step he took closer to Daemon, he put more and more people he loved in danger. Was he ever going to find Daemon, and was there no stopping this evil genius?

Satan's Gold is the first thriller I have read this year, and what a way to start! Jackson’s struggles to find Daemon, the race against time, and the chase were all well managed. Michael Ray Ewing added life to the story with his descriptions and made sure readers knew enough about his characters before diving into the story. He gave just enough information about Daemon, Dixie, and Jackson to make his readers invest in the story and want more. The action never ended, and the mystery was well-preserved until the end. The pace was fast, the dialogues were interesting, and the danger felt real until the very last moment. The ending was absolutely fantastic! I hope the author writes a sequel because I would love to see what happens next in Dixie's and Jackson’s lives.