The Fear Index – Robert Harris

Setting: Switzerland. (The Land of Money.)

Story: A slightly nutty (and super secretive) scientist – Dr Alex Hoffman – has created a digital trading algorithm which makes him and his hedge fund partner an obscene amount of money. But Hoffman’s house is broken into, despite state of the art security systems. And he starts experiencing other strange, unsettling events which take their toll on his stability and ability to do business as normal. However, he is badly needed to bring in the money for the next, improved version of his creation. His wife is troubled, and doesn’t understand what is going on. Hoffman’s past may be catching up on him. What will crack first?

The Good Stuff: There are some interesting insights to the world of finance, but they should be taken as entertainment and not fact. My copy has a nice cover…

The Bad Stuff: Any half awake, half decent fan of Asimov, Bradbury, Clark, Dick, Ellison, Farmer or Heinlein, will crack the plot inside the first twenty pages. It is that obvious. And so, much of the positioning and prancing around is totally wasted. Harris is a good writer, but not a great story teller, and this book exposes that weakness for all to see.

Score: 5/10. (And 4 of that is for the cover…)