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Flash Crash [Kindle Edition]

Ruby Andrews
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
 
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Book Description

In 2020, Europe is a dangerous place. The oil shock of 2013 has relegated most citizens in the Hub to a marginal existence, surviving on food handouts. In the ruins of a Costa Blanca seaside resort, day trader Eli supplements his earnings by buying and selling anything he can get his hands on. Meanwhile in London, Meera, the ambitious CEO of an Indian software company, has arrived to pitch for a mysterious contract offered by a consortium of Europe's wealthiest banks. Staying at the same hotel is Fern, an Australian visiting Europe for the last time before she makes a fresh start. Meera's missed date with her ex-boyfriend, a hit-and-run in North London and a massive explosion in the Spanish mountains set off a series of events that will change the world for ever, triggered by a meltdown in the world financial system unless Eli, Meera and Fern can race against the clock to reveal the truth.

If you have been watching the recent news about the world's financial system and wondered 'What if...?", then this book is for you.

Excerpt:

On he went, with the blue of the Mediterranean sea now visible beyond the lakes, between the abandoned tower blocks along the sea front.

At least, he thought they were abandoned. The population of the city was now thought to be no more than 20,000 or so, compared with more than 100,000 who had once made their home there, but no one bothered to keep records any more.

He had never particularly wanted to find out who lived in the tower blocks. Most of those who remained tended to live somewhere they could eke out some kind of subsistence from the soil, and there was little of that in the high-rise former holiday home complexes. He gave them a wide berth, figuring that if there were indeed inhabitants who had moved in, that he did not want to meet them and especially did not want to find out the details of how they were able to survive.

He bypassed the heart of the town, with its grimy streets and shuttered shops and rode further up the coast where the buildings began to run out. He pulled off the road and wheeled his bike across the white sand to a wooden shack, ingeniously nailed together from packing cases and driftwood.

The barking from inside started when he was a good hundred yards up the road.

'Hola!'

He hammered on the side of the building and called out a greeting.

'Buenos!' Sergio opened the door a fraction, making sure Eli was on his own and then gave the bottom of the solid oak door, liberated from a luxury holiday villa a mile or so down the coast, a kick to free it from the makeshift frame. Eli guessed it was the salt water in the air that was making it stick.

The dogs kept up a threatening cacophony of growls and barks, until Sergio silenced them with a sharp word.

Sergio looked more like Robinson Crusoe every time Eli saw him. His black hair, lightly silvered, hung in dreadlocks to waist length and merged with his similarly matted beard. He was bare to his waist, and wore only a pair of army-issue khaki shorts, frayed at the bottom. He could have been any age from thirty to fifty-five.

He flashed a gold-toothed smile and gestured with his hunting rifle for Eli to sit down on the tattered sun lounger.

The gun had bothered Eli when he first met Sergio, but now he was glad it was there.

If he lived somewhere as prominent as Sergio's shack, he would have had more than a single rifle and a few hounds to keep off trouble, but then he guessed he just wasn't the swashbuckling type. Keeping a low profile on the urbs was more his scene, though Sergio swore it was safer to be somewhere you could watch the horizon at all times.

'Que pasa, dude? How's business?' Sergio flung himself down, keeping a watchful eye along the length of the beach.

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Product Details

  • File Size: 368 KB
  • Print Length: 245 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00514M6D4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #939,592 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting promise, lacked development August 18, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Flash Crash alternates between three main characters Eli, Fern, and Meera as they try to survive in a world of depleted resources, unemployment, and catastrophic oil prices. While I found the book's premise interesting, and enjoyed how it was anchored in our current day economic system, it lacked much needed plot and character development. Ultimately, I rated it 2.5 stars.

The beginning of the book would benefit from a clearly defined conflict for the reader to latch onto. There's a lot of decription of main character Eli, living in a dystopian society and trying to make ends meet, but I felt like I was just observing his everyday life with no idea why. In the next chapter Fern is introduced, a woman who's rich husband walked out on her by way of a simple note. However I didn't see her abandonment as a conflict to be solved; Fern wasn't very concerned as to why her husband left her, so as a reader I wasn't bothered by it either.

It wasn't until the introduction of former lovers Martin and Meera, and Martin's accident, that I had a reason to stick around. I continued to find Meera's story the most interesting and her character gave me something to hook onto: Meera's mystery computer project, her search for Martin, and the strange man following her.

This book had a lot of description, which would have been fine except plot and character development suffered because of it. The character's were rather one dimensional and several of the main character's conclusions were farfetched: for example, establishing a man as a killer because he had cold eyes. As a reader, I needed the conclusions the characters reached to be believable and often I wasn't on the same page. It felt like I lacked crucial information that the characters knew.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Draws you into a good read January 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well written, flows nicely, timely (sort of) believable premise, and a satisfying (if predictable) ending.

I really liked not knowing what was going on at first. It drew me along, wondering, as the characters were developed. The background situation formed slowly, as the current action became well underway. The four main characters are likeable and dimensional enough that the reader can identify with them. The several minor characters supported everything well and were easy to keep track of.

I reccommend this 'hopeful' view of world catastrphe, and look forward to reading more from this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Start a Revolution with Video Games? Really? July 31, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I hate reviewing things poorly. I really do. Unfortunately, if I don't rate the stars on something I can wind up with pages of Amazon recommendations based on my purchase of a novel I would rather forget. And so...here we are.

This novel started off well enough, I think. Excellent descriptors of life in a world now depleted of needed resources, where only the rich can get what they need and the rest of the world sort of muddles on...or doesn't survive at all. The main characters were actually pretty engaging at first too, with distinct styles and points of view.

Where it all went wrong is in a weakness of the plot that the author chose to fill with fluff and other tactics that exceed the ability of a relatively smart reader to suspend disbelief.

I'd rather not fill the review with spoilers, but the whole concept of fomenting rebellion obliquely by going into virtual reality games and putting conflicts analgous to toppling the kings of the castle is just silly. Really. And in a short time frame 3 people are going to get the world so riled up that they automatically understand that all the oppression they've suffered all their lives and said not a word to is suddenly too much. And they're going to do it by generating conflict in video games? There's more to it, but that is basically where my tipping point is reached. Going into a video game where the setting is medieval and fomenting people to rebel against whoever is the "lord" does not translate into all those couch potatoes suddenly growing cajones in their real life.

And the whole concept of the retreat of the rich has massive problems with logic too. What would be the point of manipulating the markets to take profit when the money will be useless because they are going to let everyone die off?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read but simplistic and stilted in parts July 15, 2012
By Kavey
Format:Kindle Edition
Overall, I liked the book, though I can't say I loved it.

The general setting of a dystopian future only a few years ahead was certainly intriguing, though a little thin on gritty detail. I also kept wondering quite how, if such a high number of Europeans were no longer working/ earning, the government was able to raise sufficient taxes to provide the soup kitchens etc.

Still, the premise was OK and I was willing to go along with it.

The Hives were good, I could see such a thing happening, as a natural development from gated communities. A reaction to reduced resources, better technology and a widening gap between rich and poor.

Character development was a little weak and simplistic and somewhat cliched, though I think Meera was the most interesting. We got to see more of her inner thinkings and conflicts, which made her more real than the others.

Where it also tripped up for me was the idea that the baddies were so desperate to take into the fully sealed Hives a financial system and wealth derived from the society outside. My thought was that wealth would have a different currency, a different meaning once permanently sealed within the hives and bringing it in from outside just didn't sit well with me. I felt a whole new society with new values would develop within these sealed Hives, if they were to happen.

The end also fizzled out rather than wrapped up with a satisfying "aaaah!"
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