This is Rage: A Novel of Silicon Valley and Other Madness. Ken Goldstein. The Story Plant. October 2013. 530 pp. ISBN #: 9781611880717.
Once upon a time employers and employees believed they were working as a dedicated team. Each depended on and was loyal to the other in good and bad financial times. But somehow the plot went awry when profits, sales, stock values, mergers, and executive privilege replaced the security of united effort. Now lives are so much dross when the schemes for more money prevail! Sound like a fairy tale, a piece of contemporary fiction? It is and it isn’t – welcome to the world of Silicon Valley, a world of madness gone even more awry than anyone could believe possible!
The real story starts out with an evening’s party attended by Silicon valley owners, investors, and underlings close to the top. The talk is all about profit margins, a potential merger, and more, talks headed by those who think they know it all about how to make companies profit and manipulate publicity so that the stock market follows their lead. But all of that is about to implode as two kidnappers arrive, inadvertently kill one man and kidnap two owners of a smaller company that is on the down side of being productive and therefore financially viable. The ransom is at first money which is totally rejected by the financiers and the FBI, whose one reluctant agent has been assigned the task of freeing the victims. But upon realizing this, the victims contrive a plan to actually benefit the kidnappers financially and free all concerned.
Enter Kimo Balthazar, a renegade talk show host who’s been fired multiple times from multiple stations, a host who can’t find another station to employ him. He now turns into an Internet talk show host and picks up on the kidnapping story and the real dope on how Silicon Valley CEOs operate. Interviews with these higher-ups and even a female Congresswoman follow in which their desperate attempts to manipulate the public as usual fail miserably, resulting in a massive walkout of Silicon Valley employees. These are men and women who are sick and tired of never being able to communicate with the executives, who know they will be let go with future mergers, who know they are expendable and are demanding change – NOW!
While the plot contains ample financial lingo that might be beyond most reader’s intellectual acumen, this information and the descriptions that are provided to educate the reader don’t detract from a tense, intelligent, realistic and frightening series of events that rivet the reader on every page. No, you can’t predict where it’s going initially but it’s worth every page read to see the surprising outcome, a Bill of Rights for the “little man and woman” in the intensifying battle for decent consideration and truth. One might add, the battle, as well as the outcome, are a microcosm for much of what goes on in many different avenues of corporate America!
Ken Goldstein knows his facts and also is a skillful writer who has written a novel that deserves the attention of business, government, workers, employers, CEOs – everyone that keeps the economic wheel of America moving for supposedly the benefit of all! Outstanding business and thriller fiction! Highly recommended!