Sunday, March 16, 2014

Book Review: The Fear Index


The Fear Index by Robert Harris

The book takes place over about 28-30 hours but really kicks into gear in the middle of the night when the main character Dr. Alex Hoffman is realizes someone is inside the house he recently moved into, the house that was supposed to have high-tech security. He's attacked as he tries to warn his wife and that sets off a series of events that are cram packed into a really short time-frame.

This is an important day for Hoffman, making a major presentation at his firm and for his wife, opening her first gallery show.

I could not put this book down. I started it early one Saturday and finished it later that evening, despite being gone for a big chunk in the middle of the day. (286 pages)

It's in a similar theme to a movie I recently watched and enjoyed and a TV show I really like. But those elements unfold as the book progresses, so it's hard to know how to write a decent review. A lot of people I know probably wouldn't like this book, it presents at first as a book diving into the intricate details of hedge funds and then moves to be more of a techno-thriller.

The timing is hard to keep track of - a presentation, a morning gallery opening, a lunch-time meeting, the opening and closing of stock markets around the world, it got a little confusing and I found myself consulting an internet site to try to figure out at one point if the opening bell was ringing on the NYSE, what time was it again in Geneva? (answer: 2:30 pm)

I liked that the technology aspect was underplayed, I thought the financial stuff was easy enough to follow along with and I found the characters interesting, but the ending a little underwhelming. Probably fine in its own right, but based on all the other stories in this genre, perhaps a little too.... tidy.


The Fear Index (Amazon.com)
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