Shimmer is a novel written by Eric Barnes (Unbridled Books, Hardcover: July 2009, Paperback: July 2010). An IndieNext Pick by the American Booksellers Association, Shimmer is a dark, sometimes comic novel about Robbie Case, CEO of a high-tech company in New York that is secretly built on a lie. Shimmer follows Robbie’s efforts to undo the financial and technical Ponzi scheme he has constructed, with Robbie struggling to protect the people and friends who work for him and to fight the fear that he might finally need -- or want -- to let the company collapse.
In just three years, CEO Robbie Case has grown Core Communications, a data technology company, from 30 people to over 5,000. Now a $20 billion company made legendary by its sudden success, Core is based on a technology no other company can come close to copying, a revolutionary breakthrough known as drawing blood from a mainframe. And Robbie, its 35-year-old CEO, is acclaimed worldwide for his vision, leadership and wealth.
Except that all of it is based on a lie.
The technology doesn't work, the finances are built on a Ponzi scheme of stock sales and shell corporations, and Robbie is struggling to keep the company alive, to protect the friends who work for him and all that they ve built. Each day, Robbie tries to push the catastrophe back a little further,while his employees believe that they are all moving closer to grace, the day their stock options vest, when they will be made rich for their faith and loyalty and hard work. The details of the lie are all keyed into a shadowy interface that Robbie calls Shimmer, an omniscient mainframe that hides itself, calculates its own collapse, threatens to outsmart its creator and to reveal the corporation's illegal, fragile underpinnings.
Shimmer is the story of a high-tech crusade nearing its end. The shell game Robbie has created is finally running out of room. And Robbie is the only one who knows. And he's the only one who has a chance to make things right.
Reviews of Shimmer -- Bookstores, reviewers and bloggers have been reading Shimmer. Here are some reviews:
"Case's slow but accelerating downward spiral drives the narrative.... The corporate intrigue should hook anyone fascinated by the collapse of Wall Street and the crimes of Bernie Madoff." -- Publisher's Weekly
"...a sheen of elegance and terror; one is reminded, in Barnes' language and locution, of Don DeLillo's scalpel-sharp delineation of American corporate culture and paranoia, and of David Foster Wallace's penetration into the heart of the relationship between human consciousness and rapidly changing technologies." -- Fredric Koeppel, The Commercial Appeal
"Robbie is one of those engagingly conflicted heroes who comes along from time to time, an essentially good man who knowingly perpetrated a swindle of epic proportions and who will now do whatever it takes to minimize the damage." -- Booklist
"[T]his page turner isn't for techno geeks only. Bottom Line: Even the computer challenged reader will be wired into the intrigue." -- Wanda McKinney, Southern Living
"[A] remarkable character study, unflinchingly probing the psyche of its flawed but compelling protagonist. [A]n insightful and incisive rendering of the kind of high-tech confidence man that it’s impossible not to recognize. [A]s with … Delillo and Gibson, the technology, though high concept, is not the main subject of Barnes’ interest, except in the ways it transforms the characters. Eric Barnes is completely fearless." -- Benjamin Whitmer, INDenverTimes
"The real story of Shimmer is the interaction between the people of Core. An ode to good people who do bad things and who genuinely believe it's not always about the money. Sometimes it's personal." -- Chris Scott, Chapter 16
"Shimmer is a 21st century thriller about technology and morality.... Shimmer's origins owe more to the dot-com bust." -- Rich Fisher, Studio Tulsa, Tulsa Public Radio
"[The] characters are the novel’s primary concern …. Shimmer is pervaded by a sense of solitude. … The descriptions of computers, networks, and information are kept clean. They don’t bog down the plot, and they manage the difficult trick of being comprehensible to the layman and sufficient for the otaku. It is more like Murakami than Gibson." -- Columbia Spectator
"Eric Barnes colors his characters with nuance and complexity. ...[F]ast-paced and exciting, and above all, thought provoking." -- The Internet Review of Books
"A smash debut novel.... This novel has a cast of unforgettable characters who keep you engrossed from beginning to end." -- Clark Isaacs
"A marvelous debut! A relevant story that is a page-turner and an anti-hero character you will not soon forget...has elements of depth and surprise that are refreshing among today's predictable novels." -- Christina Meek, Davis-Kidd Booksellers
"Want to read a thriller that will keep you up into the night--even when the ice storm hits? Tired of people killing each other? No blood, no car chases -- lots of drama and tension as CEO Robbie Case dances to keep Core Communications alive. This is an interesting insider look at a high flying Ponzi scheme kept afloat by smart young hard working true believers." -- Mary Gay Shipley, That Bookstore in Blytheville
"A unique thriller that leaves the reader with a sense of satisfaction when the pages are all turned..." -- Vicki Erwin, Main Street Books
"I haven't been able to get the people in the book out of my head.... Beautifully written, quiet and intense, Shimmer was absolutely riveting." -- Rene' Kirkpatrick, Third Place Books
"It's a rare writer who can make you like the man at the root of a Ponzi scheme that is technological, financial, and poised to ruin the lives of everybody he knows, but Barnes definitely pulls it off. Shimmer is beautiful in the way that a collapsing building is; more beautiful, because throughout it you can cling to the hope that the building will somehow put itself back together." -- Stephanie Anderson, Word Bookstore
"This story of high-tech, corporate chicanery creates a foreign, but believable, world that will lodge in your mind. Barnes has written a gripping depiction of how people can become dehumanized in their single-minded drive for success. A superior novel." -- Joe Strebel, Anderson's Bookshop
"There were times when I was reading Shimmer when I couldn't put it down." -- BookingMama
"I found Shimmer to be unlike almost any other book I have read." -- CollectedMiscellany
"Shimmer was tense, exciting, and sometimes had me on the edge-of-my-chair." -- PassionForThePage
"Enjoy the tension that comes with the unravelling of the financial fraud. Don't be fooled by the lack of violence - Shimmer is an absorbing action thriller." -- StartingFresh
"As a CIO in real life, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. [Barnes] captures the ambiance of a technology company spot-on." -- BooksiesBlog
"The narrative and the dialogue are captivating." -- ThisBookForFree
"Barnes writes about corporate America in a way that will keep you asking for more, hoping for the best, and clinging to the characters even after you close the book." -- WriteForAReader
"The best thing about the book [is] the true joy of Eric Barnes' storytelling." -- BookFoolery
“What a great book! … really compelling. Your book will be on my staff pick at my bookstore … Thanks for such a terrific read!” -- Sue Krall, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore
“Barnes provides a unique insight into the culture of a mega corporation. The challenges, accomplishments, inadequacies, and insecurities are all laid bare. I truly enjoyed this book.” -- Reading with Mo