Terminal Value: a Novel
Author: Thomas Waite
Reviewed By: Anne Holmes for the NABBW
According to Wikipedia, in the business of finance, the phrase terminal value refers to securities and is defined as “the present value at a future point in time of all future cash flows when we expect stable growth rate forever. It is a technical term that is generally used in multi-stage discounted cash flow analysis, where it allows for the limitation of cash flow projections to a several-year period.”
But you don’t have to have an MBA in finance to enjoy this book. In his first novel, author Waite gives us a play on words, is a story that deals with the four owners of a red-hot technology firm, MobiCelus – and what happens to them as they take the company public.
As Waite quickly explains to his readers, in the tech world, you’re either hot – or you’re dead in the water. MobiCelus was hot – so hot that the young mobile computing firm was about to be bought out, leaving its four co-founders millionaires before they turned thirty.
Before the champagne corks can be popped, one of the four is dead of an apparent suicide. But Dylan Johnson, 23 year old president and CEO of MobiCelus can’t bring himself to believe Tony Caruso, his friend and partner would have actually committed suicide.
Especially given his suspicions over the phone message Tony left on his cell: “Listen, stop by my place on your way home and I’ll show you what I’ve found… don’t tell anybody-okay? Heads are gonna roll when this gets out.”
Of course, when he gets to Tony’s place, he finds him dead.
But who did it and why? Dylan believes someone must have learned of Tony’s message to him, and killed Tony to keep secret whatever he had discovered.
So Dylan feels he must figure out what Tony knew. Before his own life is taken. And thus he begins chasing a digital trail though deceit and betrayal, determined to ferret out the truth…. no matter where it leads, or what the price.
A warning: This book moves fast. Initially I had to make myself a “cheat sheet” for all the players, so I could keep everyone straight. So give full attention as all the players are introduced, so you can keep everyone straight. Do that and you’ll find that the lightning-pace and intelligence displayed by the author will capture your imagination – and keep you guessing all the way to the stunning finish. (Don’t get anxious and sneak a look at the end. Just read the book and enjoy!)
Author Waite says “Terminal Value is inspired by my experience in business. While the story is completely fictional, I could never have written it had I not personally experienced some of the events that occur in the novel (of course excluding, among other things, murder!).
“Terminal Value is a thriller intended to provide an insider’s look into the excitement of a technology start-up, the anticipated riches of an initial public offering, the gut-wrenching murder of a friend, and the dark side of corporate America.”
I say that if Waite is right, the tech world needs a lesson in honesty and ethics. But unless and until that lesson is absorbed, let’s just say that if you like books by John Grisham Michael Crichton, and you’ll enjoy this book and hope that Waite keeps writing!