In Cox’s fiction debut, Wall Street meets California when two surfing buddies launch an internet startup.
Readers sit in the passenger seat of a car in which Tom Rey is attempting to commit suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. From this startling introduction onward, Cox plots the story well enough that readers will eagerly anticipate each new chapter—even if the characters stay fixed on California memories of ocean waves and simpler times of sex, beer and drugs. Before his misguided attempt at self-destruction, Tom is lured to the East Coast, where his friend Fred Hanson is slaving over his new Internet startup, WebSurferUSA. The pair trade shorts and sunny lingo for more professional attire and more complicated problems. But when business turns cutthroat, they return to the calm of the ocean—if only in their minds. Memories of college and road trips prove harder to escape than board meetings and office politics. Cox engages readers with lively descriptions that carry personality and a reliable touch of humor. The book occasionally stumbles over business terminology—often presented in quotes—that distracts or overwhelms readers with the sometimes heavy language. A curious undercurrent of homoerotic imagery bobs beneath a heterosexual focus. The novel exposes a scandalous world of sex and secrets engulfing the characters, pulling readers into controversy both back home and at corporate headquarters. The two settings, though vastly different, run parallel in suspense as they mix together in dangerous amounts like pills and booze.
Surprisingly good, despite a brief slip into sentimentality near the end.