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Total Control is the follow up thriller novel from David Baldacci after the success of his debut novel Absolute Power. This novel also takes place in the DC Northern Virginia area, but the focus is now more on corporate rather than political matters.

After an airliner crashes, killing about four hundred including tech executive Jason Archer, his young corporate attorney wife Sidney and her two year old daughter Amy struggle to put this tragedy behind them. However, she receives a highly encrypted email that Jason sent her before he left on his flight, in which he alluded to a high amount of corruption in the firm they worked for, Triton Global Inc. However, Triton CEO Nathan Gamble counters with an explosive allegation of his own - that Jason In collusion with Sidney were stealing company secrets. She is forced out of her job and is forced to decrypt the email and uncover the truth.

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Meanwhile, crash investigators determine that the airliner was bombed, which brings in veteran FBI Agent Lee Sawyer. Sawyer also seized on the fact that Jason Archer was on that flight on false pretenses and had sent an encrypted email to his wife before he left. As Sawyer digs deeper, he too uncovers possible corporate espionage involving Sidney Archer, but then finds evidence of blackmail and a complex scheme to rig the financial markets.

Tropes found here are

  • Adult Fear: Sidney loses her husband to an airliner bombing, gets framed for corporate espionage, then has her two year old daughter kidnapped to force her to take the blame for everything.
  • Blackmail: The Federal Reserve Chairman was extorted over a secret relationship to alter interest rates to benefit Triton over its competitors and allow its CEO to enrich himself through insider trades.
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  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Gamble is the obvious one. Quentin Rye too.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Lee and Sidney go their separate ways after this ends.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Ex FBI agent Frank Hardy. He is officially Triton’s head of corporate security, and had agreed to help Jason blow the whistle on the interest rates scam. He is however in on it, snookering Jason into getting on a flight only to have him killed.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When the FBI finds the plane bomber, they find him executed. However, his executioner Frank Hardy pumped a full clip into that guy because of the sheer carnage the guy caused.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Frank.
  • Honest Corporate Executive / Benevolent Boss : Quentin Rye comesoff as this, being nothing but cordial to Sidney throughout. He is actually in on the whole scheme.
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  • Take That!: A bad guy called Frank Hardy
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The plane bomber had a full clIp of bullets fired into him, in anger over what he did.
  • White-Collar Crime: A rather complicated scam was pulled off by Nathan Gamble the CEO of Triton Global and company President Quentin Rye. Gamble blackmailed the Chairman of the Federal Reserve into altering the Federal Reserve bank’s interest rates so that Gamble and Rye could profit big off insider trades.
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