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Inspired by a true story and written by the real Irish Investigator who won the acclaimed award of Financial Investigator of the Year EMEA 2013 * for the true case. * International Association of Financial Crime Investigators. Someone has taken my place is an epic account of the identity theft of Irish babies who died in the 1970's. Irish Fraud Investigator Andrew Stone is on the trail of the serial fraudster known in Ireland as the Texan. The fraudster is inventive and elusive as he evilly masquerades in the identities of dead babies for fraudulent gain. Stone is obsessed with obtaining justice for the vulnerable Irish parents whose babies identities have been taken by the American professional conman. Follow his personal international chase across Ireland, Europe and the United States of America as, with the help of the FBI, former KGB Agents, the United States Secret Service, Interpol and the Irish police, Stone pieces together the international conman's tortuous spider's web of illegal aliases and criminal intent.
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Review by Travis Starnes
Someone Has Taken My Place is a true story about an Irish insurance investigator on the trail of an identity thief. It could be called true crime, although it is uniquely different than anything in that genre.
When I first heard this book described as a “riveting story of insurance investigation” my thought was, yea right? The most amazing thing is that is a pretty accurate description of this book. I am not sure how he did it, but David Snow managed to take insurance fraud investigation and make it fascinating. The writing is superb across the board. Snow managed to take what is essentially an intellectual tale and make it extremely accessible. This is not, or at least mostly not, an action piece. Nearly every chapter Snow, who the book follows, is on the phone or in meetings. And in every instance I cared about those phone calls and meetings. I would actually wonder a chapter later, is the FBI lady is going to call him back, because we were waiting on those leads.
You really follow the trail with him. This isn’t a mystery where you see what the criminal is up to and then work out the mystery as the hero chases the bad guy. This is closer to the Sherlock Holmes of true crime. There are clues and you follow the clues where they lead. You can kind of figure out what is going on from, but that isn’t because of additional information the protagonist doesn’t have. Snow is/was very good at his job and every time I made an intuitive leap off some piece of evidence so had he.
And here is the big thing that this book teaches you. These aren’t cases of great intuitive or cognitive leaps. The clues as that are uncovered are fairly direct and straightforward. This isn’t the bad guy dropping hints or slipping up. What you see is what I image real detective work is about…the work. These guys chase down every lead and angle, leave no stone unturned, and other clichés about getting putting in the time.
My one real complaint of the book is the conceit that it is about stealing identities from kids. Sure that is part of the story, but it is such a minor piece. It only shows up near the end of the book and has no real effect on the chase or capture of the criminal. You can’t help but feel that the book would have been exactly the same without that angle.
I get that the author is affected by the admittedly despicable exploitation of these kids’ identities. And he does convey his evident emotion well. But by two-thirds the way through the book I am into the investigation, that is what I want to see. I don’t want to sound insensitive but it really ended the book on a not 100% satisfactory note. I would have preferred it go out with the closing of the case.
But that is a small complaint. This is an excellent read and really was a page turner about insurance fraud investigation. Finding this book is kind of like finding a unicorn. It is rare, hard to believe and you feel lucky to have seen it.
This book was reviewed as part of the Someone Has Taken My Place Blog Tour.