In this debut novel, Zack Penny invokes the wrath of CEO Allen Henley after leaving Display Technik to start his own tech company.
Zack has finally acted on his dream to leave Display Technik, a Silicon Valley technology company that’s extremely successful but also extremely stressful given the iron rule of Allen Henley, its war-obsessed CEO. Zack has convinced several engineering colleagues to join him in launching Imagination, which aims to be a more democratic place to work while revolutionizing TV watching. Paul Ryerson, Zack’s business partner, has secured millions in startup financing, but the bubble soon bursts. Ever-watchful Henley had persuades daughter Mary Anne, who has been dating Zack, to sneak into Zack’s home and take photos of his startup plans. Just as Zach and his team are setting up their offices, Zack is served with a temporary restraining order, and a judge in Henley’s pocket forces Imagination to turn over its technical research and halt operations pending further review. Gleefully unleashing Sandy Fong, his dirty tricks goon, Henley ups the ante to further discredit Zack and turn the Imagination team against each other. Meanwhile, Henley’s wife, Charlotte, rises from her defeated alcoholic stupor to warn Mary Anne about Henley’s plans and seek out Dean McSorley, Henley’s legal counsel. A final showdown at the Henley mansion brings violence and a “reset” for Display Technik as well as for Zack and Mary Anne’s romance. Ogura, a graduate of electrical engineering and an executive for a laser micromachining company, competently crafts a novel reminiscent of John Grisham’s The Firm (1991). At times, however, Ogura gets bogged down with technical details, and his characters could use a bit more delineation. Henley is largely a cardboard villain, and Zack’s relationships with him and his daughter Mary Anne remain rather sketchy. Similarly, Zack’s startup colleagues also get either scant or heavy-handed attention. Still, the entertaining novel is generally an easy read, serving up dirty details of Silicon Valley arrogance and hardnosed capitalism.
A solid business thriller offering an insider’s glimpse into Silicon Valley culture.