Terminal Value

Title: Terminal Value
Published by: Marlborough Press
Release Date: September 11, 2018
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OVERVIEW

Be Careful What You Wish For

That's a warning Dylan Johnson should have listened to. When his mobile computing firm is bought out by Mantric Technology, a red-hot company about to go public, it seems like a dream come true for the young entrepreneur and his partners. But the closer they get to payout, the more uncertain Dylan becomes.

Something doesn't feel right. When one of his colleagues is found dead on what should have been their night of triumph, Dylan is determined to find out what happened. But asking questions plunges him into a web of digital deceit and betrayal that will shake everything he thought he knew.

Thomas Waite’s debut novel is an intense thriller that provides an insider's look into the excitement of a technology start-up, the anticipated riches of an initial public offering, the gut-wrenching murder of a friend, and the dark side of corporate America.

 

 


PRAISE

“I believe with time he will be called the John Grisham of the murderous technology novel. This is an excellent beginning to, what I hope is, a long writing career for Mr. Waite.”
Literary R & R

“Thomas Waite opens a window into the world of technology that even a technophobe can appreciate. Filled with tension, romance, humor, mystery, and avarice, Terminal Value is a captivating tale that holds your interest right through to its surprising conclusion.”
David Updike, author of Old Girlfriends: Stories and Out on the Marsh

Terminal Value is to the corporate world what John Grisham’s The Firm is to lawyering: a taut, fast, relentless thriller. A most impressive debut novel.”
Jim Champy, co-author of Reengineering the Corporation and author of Outsmart!

Terminal Value is a sizzling thriller convincingly set in the world of emerging technologies that even industry insiders will appreciate. Thomas Waite has earned the right to belly up to the bar with the likes of Brad Meltzer, Scott Turow, and David Baldacci. A great read!”
Paul Carroll, author and Pulitzer Prize–nominated Wall Street Journal editor and journalist


EXCERPT

Prologue

Little is spoken after the facts come out. Besides, the weapon says it all, the silencer so long and bold and beautiful. So foreboding.

Or so it seems.

Still, a trembling voice asks, “What are you doing?”

Isn’t that obvious?

Two sets of footsteps sound on the oak floor. One advances, the other retreats. “Keep going.”

The command is not loud, and it is issued with a complement of smiles, as if to soften the undue burden to come. They stop in the living room.

“Turn around.” Again, said softly with a smile, as if forgiveness might yet be won.

But now the babbling begins. It is not unexpected.

“Shush.” A finger to the lips. The softest command. “Shush.”

“Turn around.” The voice edgier now, perhaps an octave higher than absolute ease would allow. For the first time, it sounds murderous. “On your knees.”

Execution style? The back of the head?

But the babbler doesn’t ask those questions. The babbler pleads and kneels.

At least it will be fast. The temptation to offer solace is great—because it is such a lie.

The babbler begs for mercy. But with so much at stake, mercy is in short supply.

Surely you know this.

The muzzle nestles neatly in the back of the neck, near the seat of the reptilian brain.

The babbler, head down, cringes next to a small coffee table, a carefully planned placement. It is a sturdy table of steel and ironwood, so simple yet it can be so damaging. The gun subdued the babbler, but the table is the weapon of choice. With a quick effort, it is lifted high and provides a solid blow.

The babbler’s head snaps forward. The legs keel. And then the body is rolled over.

I have to see you.

The heart still beats. Listen to it: Thumpety-thump. Thumpety-thump. An ear lowers to a familiar chest. A familiar scent rises. And familiar eyes gaze emptily at the blank ceiling above.

The babbler’s survival is not unexpected, though if death had come easily, that would have been fine. But the table’s brutal duty is done. It rests on its side, another carefully planned placement. Forensics will want to examine it, as they should.

But the “accident” is hardly over, for there is a workroom with a black rubber mat that has even more to offer—a heavy-duty electric cord lying unplugged on a bench right below a large circuit box. The bench is also crowded with tools, switches, gadgets galore, and—best of all—a cable stripper that gleams boldly, its edge as sharp as the intruder’s greed.

The insulation strips away easily, but with great care. Not a drop of blood can be left behind. The shavings are a different matter: every shred lies on the bench. The naked copper at the end of the cord is now a candidate for a new, heavier duty socket, which is left in its packaging next to the shavings— and offers the unstated explanation for an exposed cable in an otherwise safe workspace.

The cord is hauled to the living room and looped around the babbler’s arm. Every step has been thought out so precisely that it’s a pleasure to see it unfold so seamlessly: The babbler carried the hazardous cord, tripped and fell, and struck the table.

Elvis Costello plays in memory: “Accidents will happen….” Yes, accidents. Plural. The plug at the other end of the cord enters an outlet.

Sparks fly as the exposed copper whips around like a snake, feeding on the chest, right where the heart drums. A dazzling display of blue arcs then shoots across the torso, crackling again and again as the copper makes contact with the body. The sounds are nothing less than splendid, like kernels of popping corn bursting apart their hard shells.

Fried alive—and that’s a fact.

Tendrils of smoke drift away and—miracle of wonder—snake from the dead nostrils.

The body lies splayed on the floor, lifeless but still roasting. The left arm is raised stiffly, as if seeking the blessings of heaven. But the face has been frozen with terror and pain, beckoning only hell.