"Damn, I love this Place." Stephen Carston stared at the distant horizon where the water meets the cloudless blue sky knowing he might never be able to enjoy this again.
"If only things hadn't..."
Life was great for Stephen Carston. Hell it was more than great--it was gluttonous. In my first novel, Final Audit, Carston was the fictional CFO for GlobalNet, a multi-national telecommunications corporation where there seemed to be no limit to the money executives at GlobalNet could make.
Their stock was skyrocketing, reaching new highs everyday and with each new high Stephen's net worth increased by millions. He was building a new three-story mansion of unequaled beauty in Boca Raton and was looking forward to the recognition and acclaim he would receive after its completion.
But that was a fictional financial world. Or was it?
Like my fictional character, vulgar extravagance was the norm for avaricious executives at Enron, WorldCom, and many other giant corporations. There was nothing these guys didn't want and very little they couldn't have--until it all imploded.
Sometimes 'real life' leads to compelling fiction. Greed and corruption were powerful forces behind, Final Audit.
Enron, after reporting capital value at $42 billion in its 2000 Annual Report, filed bankruptcy a year later. It was the largest bankruptcy in history. Greedy executives had hidden failed projects and failed divisions from investors while selling-off millions of dollars of their own corporate stock before the company crashed.
Soon, others followed. WorldCom unraveled and filed for bankruptcy protection. Adelphia executives were using corporate money as their personal piggy bank, and Tyco's CEO was throwing elaborate million dollar birthday parties with corporate funds.
You couldn't make this stuff up!
The environment was perfect for murder. Bring in two Houston detectives, Dave Duncan, and his new partner, Stephanie Fox, throw in a homicide in Houston, mix in equal parts of greed and corruption and you've got the beginning of an edgy and 'mystriguing' mystery. Though entertaining, the compelling message in Final Audit is that greed, corruption and immoral and unethical behavior should not go unpunished.
But the lessons of Final Audit,--of Enron and WorldCom--have already been lost as evidenced by the continuing predatory behavior of banks, investment firms, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, and a multitude of others.
I wrote about unchecked greed, about arrogance, about predatory capitalism, how it brought down the system and destroyed people's lives. I wrote about the growing anger and the desire of some to exact revenge. In the second book, Executive Resort, a sequel, new and equally complicit executives will meet their demise and Duncan and Fox will be drawn in to solve the new mystery.
Final Audit, the exciting financial mystery, is available at the mystriguepress web site.
The current milieu on Wall Street threatens the global economy again. This time, after the taxpayer bailouts, the anger is even greater than during the failures of Enron and WorldCom. It remains to be seen how that anger will manifest itself. Will people go to prison? Will someone seek revenge?
That's the beauty of 'real life' drama. It leads to chapter one in a new 'mystriguing' murder mystery!
Additional articles about the ongoing financial mess and its effect on Main Street are posted on The Cutting Edge Blog at It's Worth an Opinion.
Follow Jim Worth on Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorofmystery