Zero Sum Trilogy by Russell Blake
A timely Wall Street thriller
I ‘met’ Russell via the medium of Twitter and downloaded the first part of the Zero Sum Trilogy for free during one of his promos. I had no idea what I was getting into!
Quick intro: our hero, Dr Stephen Archer, spots strange behaviour around a particular companies stock – sudden announcements, followed by a share price rise and a flood of stock sales. Known as ‘pump and dump’, this practice is supposed to be illegal, but it’s obviously not illegal enough.
So Stephen decides to unmask the company and the investment fund behind the artificial share price rises and sets up a whistle-blowing website. Unbeknownst to him, investors in the group include the Mafia and the CIA. And, while he’s careful, he’s not careful enough and they track him down. This is just the beginning of the story which sees him do his best to drop off the grid and go on a global adventure without getting anyone killed, while doing his best to expose the whole thing.
I found the story very readable – meaning I got sucked in and had to know what happened. It’s a scary look at the people who manipulate the stock market to their own ends and, in light of the financial disaster of the last few years, a bit worrying. The characters were believable (for the most part) and were appealing enough to gain my empathy.
The only annoyance I had was the fact Russell made this a trilogy; it didn’t feel like a trilogy to me, more like a book that had been broken into three parts (and I bought the last two parts). Perhaps that’s why it’s now available as a single Kindle volume.
Still it’s an entertaining read and worth a look, if only to see how market forces can be manipulated to the benefit of a few and the detriment of the rest.