SPARKS by Cathryn Louis


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Set soon before the recent housing-market crash, Louis’ debut features an excellent heroine in an elaborate financial thriller.

Whip-smart Gabrielle developed Sparks, a program that helps her forecast the housing crash through the portrayal of graphs that predict a “roller coaster.” The program has “adaptive and predicative algorithms”—a highly desired feature in the finance industry. Compounding her startling discovery, Gabrielle learns that NEI, the analytics firm where she works, is being infiltrated at the highest level. Amid the high-stakes takeover, someone on the inside will apparently stop at nothing to see his best interests realized. She tries to use the data to convince her superiors at NEI, of the impending doom, but a handful of male superiors mysteriously want her out of the firm and off the case—for her own safety, they say. She’s also handling a broken heart: Her ex-fiance Stephen left her when she refused to give up her career to marry him. But fortunately, one of her compassionate, newly minted superiors apparently has a thing for her. This intelligent read broaches the early 2000’s landscape of mergers and unpredictable financial markets, as well as an array of wealthy, elusive guys, including Gabrielle’s eleventh-hour lover, Jarin. She’s also aided by Carson, a resourceful security guard–cum–G-Man who helps her navigate some tricky terrain. Although the tone and dialogue can come off as a bit too dramatic at times (Question: “What the hell do you want?” Answer: “Your resignation”), the well-portrayed world is thoroughly amusing and seemingly TV-ready.

An intelligent thriller that’s a bit overdone.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 2012
Page count: 386pp
Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Program: Kirkus Indie
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