Synopses & Reviews
In just three years, CEO Robbie Case has grown Core Communications, a data technology company, from 30 people to over 5,000. Now a $20 billion company made legendary by its sudden success, Core is based on a technology no other company can come close to copying, a revolutionary breakthrough known as "drawing blood from a mainframe." And Robbie, its 35-year-old CEO, is acclaimed worldwide for his vision, leadership and wealth. Except that all of it is based on a lie. The technology doesn’t work, the finances are built on a Ponzi scheme of stock sales and shell corporations, and Robbie is struggling to keep the company alive, to protect the friends who work for him and all that they’ve built.
Each day, Robbie tries to push the catastrophe back a little further, while his employees believe that they are all moving closer to "grace," the day their stock options vest, when they will be made rich for their faith and loyalty and hard work. The details of the lie are all keyed into a shadowy interface that Robbie calls Shimmer, an omniscient mainframe that hides itself, calculates its own collapse, threatens to outsmart its creator and to reveal the corporation’s illegal, fragile underpinnings. Shimmer is the story of a high-tech crusade nearing its end. The shell game Robbie has created is finally running out of room. And Robbie is the only one who knows or who has a chance to make things right. Or is he?
"This topical fiction debut from Memphis news publisher Barnes is a cautionary thriller about ambition and corruption in corporate America. Robbie Case, the 35-year-old CEO (and largest shareholder) of Core Communications has managed to grow the business from 30 employees to more than 5,000 in three short years. But his $20 billion company, linking mainframe computers worldwide to the Internet backbone, is built on faulty technology, false promises and questionable finances. Weary of the day when everything inevitably unravels, Case's slow (but accelerating) downward spiral drives the narrative through a number of timely plots, including Ponzi schemes and toxic assets: 'The people who worked here, the companies we acquired, the stock we sold — all of it was an unseen disease.' Readers may find it difficult, if not impossible, to empathize with Case, but the corporate intrigue should hook anyone fascinated by the collapse of Wall Street and the crimes of Bernie Madoff." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] timely thriller....Fans of Joseph Finder's big-business thrillers will definitely want to read this one." Booklist
This beach-bag perfect combination of intrigue and deceit is the timely, gripping tale of a worldwide corporate Ponzi scheme.