Part corporate drama, part action adventure and private eye investigation, Marc Davis’ Bottom Line is set in the economic downturn of the nineties as businesses collapse and those employed to protect them spend more time determining who should be fired than asking for new hirings. Big boss Adrian has no qualms about sending eight men to do four men’s work, and charging the customer more, but the younger narrator still has some principals, or still thinks he has. Whether those principals will serve to keep Nick in his job or get him fired remains to be seen as the story begins, but soon Nick’s star is rising even as the business splutters and begins its fall. Then everything changes.
Halfway through the book the story changes gear and an ex-high-flyer wants what’s right. Nick’s lost his girl, his friends, his substitute father, and rather a lot of money. But he’s plenty to spare and when he sets out, almost alone, in search of the thief, it’s clear he can finance his own investigation. Of course, the FBI and SEC are investigating too. And former colleagues have hired a big-league agency to follow the clues. They’re just not quite so good at it.
Meanwhile, after causing so many business owners to see their own bottom lines, Nick finds himself looking for a measure of his life. Does he want revenge on the one who betrayed him? Is he still searching for a father figure? Is he in the business of making ends meet, of making the flawed meet their ends, or of bringing a meet and just ending to a broken situation? Is money or fame his “bottom line” or is he driven by something else?
By the end of this novel I’ve realized that, just maybe, some people really are in business for something real, not just fortune or fame. The story’s practical depiction of life in the corporate world has flowed into a fast-action drama of humanity too. The mystery’s intriguing. The road to its solution is clever. The surprises stick in the memory. And a falling character in a falling world finds his anchor after all.
Disclosure: I was given a free bound galley of this novel by the publisher.
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About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth (SheilaDeeth)
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
"Davis provides easy explanations of complex business dealings to foreign adventures before reaching an exciting conclusion in this smartly executed financial thriller." --Publishers Weekly
"Marc Davis has waded into the corporate cosmos and made it understandable, intriguing and fast-paced. I loved this story -- half corporate insider story, half private eye yarn, full on entertainment. I read it start to finish in one sitting." --Michael Connelly, best-selling author of the Harry Bosch series