Book Review: Red Notice by Bill Browder

red notice

Reading and reviewing books is a key part of being an author – crucial for improving our craft, and perhaps positive Karma?

In 2019, I read and reviewed 62 books for my Goodreads Challenge. My reviews were also posted on Amazon and Bookbub.

My favourite genres include inspirational memoirs, travel, environmental awareness, self help and crime thrillers.

Red Notice was my favourite read from last year. It is an inspirational memoir, but it reads rather like a John Le Carré spy thriller!

It also showcases the power we all have within us to promote positive change.


“Part John Grisham-like thriller, part business and political memoir.” —The New York Times

“[Red Notice] does for investing in Russia and the former Soviet Union what Liar’s Poker did for our understanding of Salomon Brothers, Wall Street, and the mortgage-backed securities business in the 1980s. Browder’s business saga meshes well with the story of corruption and murder in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, making Red Notice an early candidate for any list of the year’s best books” (Fortune).

This is a story about an accidental activist. Bill Browder started out his adult life as the Wall Street maverick whose instincts led him to Russia just after the breakup of the Soviet Union, where he made his fortune.

Along the way he exposed corruption, and when he did, he barely escaped with his life. His Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky wasn’t so lucky: he ended up in jail, where he was tortured to death. That changed Browder forever. He saw the murderous heart of the Putin regime and has spent the last half decade on a campaign to expose it. Because of that, he became Putin’s number one enemy, especially after Browder succeeded in having a law passed in the United States—The Magnitsky Act—that punishes a list of Russians implicated in the lawyer’s murder. Putin famously retaliated with a law that bans Americans from adopting Russian orphans.

A financial caper, a crime thriller, and a political crusade, Red Notice is the story of one man taking on overpowering odds to change the world, and also the story of how, without intending to, he found meaning in his life.

My Review

Bill Browder recounts his own journey as a rebellious young man from an academic family, to the creation of a hugely successful investment fund, built through scrupulous research of undervalued Russian public companies. Unfortunately, he and his team made many very powerful enemies in the process, which eventually led to the arrest, imprisonment, torture and death of young lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
The author relentlessly campaigned for his friend Sergei, who was a modest but tireless investigator of the truth.
The Magnitsky Act was signed into law in December 2012 by President Barack Obama. Since then it has been enacted in many other countries against human rights offenders, by freezing their assets and curtailing travel opportunities.
If you are interested in human rights issues Red Notice is a must read.

Your Favourite Books

What was your favourite read of 2019? Please share.

Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.


  1. An important part of being a writer is reading and reviewing. That is a profound statement which I agree with. This book sounds highly interesting, I enjoy mysteries and thrillers too. My favourite read of 2019 is hard to pick as I read many books. I’d say The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin was most memorable. A story for young readers which throws light on how adults are perceived and how science can help find answers to our urgent questions. Nice review Brigid, a book I will put on my list.

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  2. Ohhhh that is so true Brigid “Reading and reviewing books is a key part of being an author ” I find myself always reviewing while I’m reading, looking at structure and words in a way that I wouldn’t if I wasn’t a writer. In the last couple of years i haven’t read many books. My intent this year is to get back to my reading books, I have however been reading a lot of email content, I can’t seem to stick with reading a book, however I did read Pam Grout’s book E2 and I’m not a really good reviewer but I’ll say that the author goes on to prove that our thoughts do create our reality. Thanks for the review of this book, very interesting.

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    • I think some readers are shy about leaving written reviews, but a sentence or two is all that is needed. It gives authors such a boost to know what their readers think. I leave mine on Amazon, Goodreads and BookBub. Happy reading Masha.

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  3. Wow! Brigid, I am in awe of your 62 books which you reviewed last year! That is impressive and how lovely of you to take the time and effort to share all these books! ‘Red Notice’ piques my interest and you’ve written an excellent review of an unusual book. One to add to my list! Happy Reading & Reviewing … and it’s good to remind authors everywhere of the importance of both! 😀

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  4. Gosh, 62 books is an impressive tally, Brigid. You have prompted me, as your thoughtful review of Bill’s book reminded me that I read it last year. A story that stayed with me and I wept towards the end, especially knowing that it was true. Such courage on the part of both men and all involved in highlighting Putin’s Russia. I will leave a review for him. I have a much more structured plan for reading and reviewing this year. Thank you for this post. ❤

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  5. Wow, this sounds like a must-read Brigid! When I hear of some of the types of corruption that go on, I think, “surely that can’t really happen” and yet it does…. It’s so important for these things to be brought into the light. Thank you for giving me another book to put on my TBR list.

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