Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shimmer blog tour!

Review of Shimmer by Eric Barnes


The book opens at the top of a Midtown skyscraper in NYC at 6 am on Monday in the middle of the weekly senior staff meeting of one of Wall Street's technology darlings, Core Communications. Through the banter, Barnes shows the relationships between and among most of the book's main characters and CEO Robbie Case. Clearly, Robbie is regarded as a genius among geniuses, with vision and incredible technical skills such that even those who have worked with him every day for the past 3 years and have participated in the company's growth hold Robbie apart. Understandably so since Robbie's guidance, savvy and tech skills transformed Core Communications into a company with the size and culture reminiscent of Google - a $20 billion dollar company offering technology unmatched by any other. Core Communications offers a way to maximize server capacity and data processing through its secret "Blue Boxes". The market appears to put no limit to Core Communication's potential growth and revenues. No one understands exactly how the Blue Boxes work and it turns out that neither does Robbie Case. Instead, Robbie has based Core's technology on a lie and through this combination Ponzi scheme and shell game, Robbie has been able to keep up the charade. Robbie barely sleeps as he works feverishly to come up with a way to create the necessary technology that can save his company. To suppress his tension and fear, Robbie increasingly relies on anonymous sex and alcohol. While the employees keep going, waiting for the time that they can cash in on their stock options, Robbie is anxiously waiting for the company's collapse.


Other reviewers have mentioned that Shimmer seems particularly relevant for these times with the headlines of corporate fraud by Bernie Madoff. Though headlines of corporate fraud are not new, Shimmer does strike me as an unusual and interesting read because of the degree of business details incorporated in the story.

I enjoyed reading how Core Communications handled stock options in a company so young and successful that its early employees and nearly all employees are multimillionaires. I don't know anyone that worked at Google or Microsoft in the early days but I imagine that the anticipation, anxiety, and fixation with the time that first employees are allowed to exercise and sell their stock options, this period of "grace" would be all consuming and much like Eric Barnes's description.

I'm not particularly technologically savvy, so I had to pause and write out the explanation behind Core's unique service. I'm not sure whether it's service is viable or not - but that lack of knowledge didn't impact my appreciation and enjoyment of the book.

If you're waiting for a mindcandy technothriller in the Michael Crichton style, this book doesn't have the violence and gore of those books. Instead, enjoy the tension that comes with the unravelling of the financial fraud. Don't be fooled by the lack of violence - Shimmer is an absorbing action thriller.

Publisher: Unbridled Books (June 30, 2009), p288.
Courtesy of Unbridled Books.

Eric Barnes

About the Author, courtesy of Eric Barnes's website:

Eric Barnes is the writer of the novel, Shimmer (Unbridled Books, July 2009). Eric has been writing fiction for many years and published a number of short stories before finding a home for Shimmer at Unbridled.

He is the publisher of The Daily News and The Memphis News, two local publications covering business and politics in Memphis. Eric was once COO (and, before that, Publisher and Managing Editor) of Towery Publishing, a publisher of city guides, books, maps, city sites and business directories for cities around the country. Towery went under in 2003, a sad and endless and unforgettable experience that culminated in the purchase of a few cases of beer for the remaining staff at one final staff meeting at Union and Mclean.

Prior to that, Eric was managing editor of a business magazine in New York City, which was in the midst a transtion from what's known as a "business opportunities" magazine to a legitimate business magazine. Business opportunities magazines run ads for get rich quick schemes and, it seems now, those ads were an influence on the much bigger schemes in Shimmer.

Eric lives in Memphis. Previously he lived in New York, and before that in New London, Connecticut. He grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and Juneau, Alaska. He attended the Columbia University School of Arts, Connecticut College, and Woodrow Wilson High School.

Eric is the father of Reed, Mackenzie, Andrew and Lucy, and husband to Elizabeth, a wonderful person and incredible teacher at Memphis University School.

Shimmer is a dark, sometimes comic novel about Robbie Case, CEO of a high-tech company in New York that is secretly built on a lie. Shimmer follows Robbie’s efforts to undo the financial and technical Ponzi scheme he has constructed, with Robbie struggling to protect the people and friends who work for him and to fight the fear that he might finally need – or want – to let the company collapse. Read a full synopsis or an excerpt on his website.

The Shimmer video can be found http://www.shimmerthebook.com/

Thanks so much, Libby at Unbridled Books and Eric Barnes for this opportunity!

Countdown to ThrillerFest - it starts tomorrow! Today is the last day to register online. If you're heading to ThrillerFest, I'd love to meet up in person. Just send me a comment or an email at gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com.


  1. Thanks for the review! Much appreciated. Glad you liked Shimmer.

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Eric! Congratulations on Shimmer!