ONE FROM WITHOUT
A large credit reporting company sees the era of Big Data coming. Its CEO dreams of knowing so much about the people it tracks that it will be able to predict what they will do. With the data, he believes, the company will know people better than they know themselves. Meantime, his chief financial officer has come to the corporate world in order to hide in the numbers on his spreadsheets, trying to escape a dark, ambiguous experience from his past in the CIA. Suddenly a hacker breaks into the company’s consumer database and alters individual files. This threatens not only the company future but its very existence. As senior executives struggle with what to do next, they find out who they really are.
$17.00 | Paperback | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | 416 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60953-130-0 | Carton Quantity: 24
Rosten’s windowless office seemed to exist in a time zone all its own. He switched on the autopsy fluorescents. On the desk was a note in Fisherman’s hand telling him to check his safe. He hung his trench coat on the steel rack, turned on the warm desk lamp, extinguished the overheads, and took the coffee pot down to the gents to fill. When he returned, his hands were so unsteady he had trouble measuring out the grind.
He had hung a rendering of Sterling Library on the wall opposite the desk. It seemed askew, so he went to level it. When he did, it seemed tilted the opposite direction. After several attempts, he gave up. It wasn’t the watercolor; it was his eyes.
He opened the safe and found three sets of folders, held together by heavy rubber bands, lying unfiled in the top drawer. The first set contained the usual Slavic and Eastern European names. But the individuals in the second set were different: Farzin Ibrhimi, Hamal Nabiev, Botir Ghazanfar. The material inside their files read like translated verse.
Even when he was just starting to work for Fisherman, the lives of the Russians and Czechs and East Germans had been reasonably familiar. They rose through the ranks of the classless society, ranks not all that different from the ones in which Rosten found himself. Yes, the guideposts along the way were different (Look Left), but that was just a matter of convention.
In contrast, this man from Kyrgyzstan might as well have been a Canto in Chinese characters. None of the others were any less opaque. The men—they were all men—came from the southern Soviet Republics or Afghanistan. Many had Russified names, but from their histories it was clear that they were nothing like the usual Ivans.
The doorknob rattled before Rosten got to the third set.
“So the prodigal has returned,” said Fisherman, more chipper than morning. “You look spent. Perhaps you partied.”