Meet Robbie Case: the 35-year-old wunderkid CEO of Core Communications. In just three years, based solely on a technology no other campany has been able to replicate, Robbie's taken Core from a relatively unknown, family business into a $20 billion company with more than 5,000 employees. And, in the process, he has become a rock star, worldwide, for his vision, leadership and wealth. The only problem? Robbie is living a lie. The technology is a scam, the financials are built on a Ponzi scheme of stock sales and shell corporations and Robbie is struggling, everyday, to keep his company alive...to protect the friends who work for him and all they've built. The game is coming to an end. And Robbie is the only one who knows the truth. Or is he?
In a debut that could have been ripped from today's headlines but was, in fact, imagined years earlier when the author came to recognize through his own business dealings that "people believe what they want to believe", Shimmer is the story of a high-tech crusade nearing it's end--a novel that charges the atmosphere with suspense and delivers complex characters you want to believe in--in spite of their flaws.
Eric Barnes is the publisher of the Daily News in Memphis and The Memphis News. He was formerly COO of a communications corporation, a reporter, and an editor. He grew up in Washington and Alaska, working construction and in the fisheries. Eric has an MFA from Columbia University and his fiction has appeared in The Portland Review, The Northwest Review, The Greensboro Review, and Other Voices. His website is http://www.ericbarnes.net/.
As a CIO in real life, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Barnes has done several things extremely well. He captures the ambiance of a technology company spot-on, and his characters are familiar to anyone working in a technology field. The character of Perry, the inscrutable guru who knows all but isn't quick to share his insights, was quite well-drawn. Further, the chapter describing how a technology company works during a crisis felt immediately familiar to me and captured the crisis mode and how each person on the team works through to solve the crisis trigger. I had some problems with the premise that the best technology gurus in the world wouldn't have discovered the essential flaw in the programming sooner, but that point probably wouldn't be noticed by most readers outside the industry. Shimmer was a read that kept my attention throughout and I hated closing the cover when I finished. This book is recommended for readers who enjoy current fiction or technology issues.