Michael's Reviews > The Fear Index

The Fear Index by Robert   Harris
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's review
May 14, 2012

it was ok

I read this because I had previously really enjoyed Harris's, The Ghost. This one didn't live up to expectations. Although the subject matter was highly interesting and relevant, given the recent Chase Manhattan Bank fiasco with a $2 billion hedge investment loss, it came off a little too formulaic as an over the top thriller rather than a serious work. Nothing wrong with that except that was not what I was expecting. It read more like one of Michael Crichton's books.
Alexander Hoffman is a top physicist who had been working in Switzerland on the CERN project. He finds that his interests are more drawn into writing algorithms for investment market hedging. He starts his own company and develops a powerful artificial intelligence program which sifts through all the data available via the internet to predict market directions before they occur allowing him to make billions. However strange things begin to happen and the software starts to take control of itself causing disastrous results. The story gets a little too over the top along the way with Hoffman being pursued by a cannibalistic killer and other ridiculous things as Harris gives the out of control computer system a personality similar to HAL in "2001 Space Odyssey"

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