Like many people, I first learned about Nick Santora from Prison Break, and Breakout Kings. I did my homework and found that he had some impressive credentials before that having been a writer for shows like Law and Order and the Sopranos. All four of those shows I consider to be some of the better of our generation of television. I immediately pre-ordered this novel, Fifteen Digits, in harcover. To hold me over, I also ordered his first novel, Slip and Fall. I wanted to see if the style of his books mirrored the style of his television. The answer: a resounding yes.
Much like in Slip and Fall, the main protagonist in Fifteen Digits is a common everyday man. Rich Mauro could easily be you or me. Raised by his blue collar uncle, Mauro is trying to do something that I have personally found myself challenged with, transitioning from blue collar, to white collar. He is trying to trade in his tool belt, for a brief case, a crowded court room, and a corner office. As an audience, we are taken along this journey through the ups and downs, with staggering authenticity. Santora does a masterful job of passing the character's emotions along to the reader.
We meet a cast of characters along the way that would look out of place even on the island of misfit toys. As we meet these characters, we meet the good sides of them, as well as the bad. We do not see them in the same filter that most people would use, only showing us the savory side that will be pertinent in the latter parts of the story, but rather, we get to know all of the players in the cast.
In my opinion, where Santora excels, especially in Fifteen Digits, is creating a story and characters that the reader can genuinely lose themselves in. Where so many novels introduce a platoon of flat characters with no other purpose that to move the story about, Santora uses round characters that the reader can feel attached to. This opens up a plethora of possibilities for the direction of the story, and if you are familiar with any of Santora's previous works, you know that he can and WILL take the story anywhere he thinks it should go.
The end result is a fantastic novel with amazingly different, well balanced characters, and a story that unfilds with gritty authenticity that allows the reader to never break his or her willing suspension of disbilief. I can, with confidence, tell you that you will enjoy this novel. It is one of the few books that I have read from cover to cover in a single sitting. I am a very slow reader, and it only took me about seven hours. My only complaint is now I have to wait for Santora to write something else.
I know that sometimes it is hard to read a review and know that the same experience will transfer over to you, so perhaps some context is in order. The fiction that I have enjoyed previously aside from Nick Santoras works are: The Mitch Rapp Series (Especially American Assassin) by Vince Flynn, the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child, the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, the John Corey series by Nelson Demille. The one thing that really sets Fifteen Digits apart from the rest of these is its authenticity. So to sum up, if you are look for a book with well developed, likeable, relatable characters, and a story that you can immerse yourself in without feeling out of place, you definitely need to give Santora a try!