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Sunday, 3 November 2013

Robert Harris – The Fear Index



review by showhost Nov 2013.
‘Nothing Spreads Like Fear’
This was another of my 50p books from St Agnes put aside for a holiday read.  I had read Pompeii and Ghost by this author and enjoyed them so I was looking forward to reading this one.  Although it was an interesting read it lost me in the financial and IT jargon, stocks & shares & algorithms.
The main character is eccentric, scientific Alex Hoffman who has perfected a machine which plays stocks & shares, predicting future shifts, for the hedge fund he and his partner Hugo Quarry have set up, which has made billions for themselves and their investors.
One night an intruder has by passed the very high tec security and entered Alex’s house/mansion he shares with his wife.  Alex is knocked unconscious and needs stitches to a head wound.  After this his behaviour becomes very erratic. 
How did the intruder get in his home?  He got a glimpse of his attacker and spots him again several times almost stalking him. 
The financial system he set up starts to behave oddly – it’s making billions but acting very erratically.
A valuable collectors book is delivered to Alex from an anonymous source but when he makes enquiries as to who sent it, it leads him back to himself and an account he didn’t know he had along with other investments he didn’t know he had made.
Everything spirals, people think he is going mad, having another nervous breakdown.
He tries to sabotage his creation but the system seems invincible (he has created a monster).
The ending is left open! – I still don’t know if it was a machine malfunction or it it was sabotage nor do I know if Alex lives or dies after an accident – so frustrating!
So, found it interesting and it had moments of tension & drama, but I preferred the other 2 books I mentioned earlier by this author.

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