ISBN #: 978-1470012557
Page Count: 290
Copyright: April 15, 2012
(Taken from back cover)
Seeking refuge from a corporate scandal, Wally Gibbs trades his corner office in Chicago for a tweed jacket with elbow patches in a quaint college town. He soon realizes he wasn't meant to teach marketing; he was meant to reinvent it. And the timing is right. To Wally's perverse delight, the economy has brought consumers everywhere to their knees. With thrift back in vogue and extreme couponing shows all the rage, he sees the desire to save mutating into a willingness to reveal more. In Wally's own words, "people are do desperate to lop thirty cents off a cantaloupe, they'd give a urine sample at the checkout." During a routine colonoscopy, he envisions a new hyper-efficient marketing vehicle, which he labels "Project Argus."
As Wally ensnares his unsuspecting students in the beta test, Project Argus catches the attention of eight-fingered frustrated campus policeman Nick Pappas. Sensing a connection to an unsolved student death, Nick becomes obsessed with exposing the scheme, even "deputizing" student cartoonist Zak Dawson to do the digging he can't. The pair follows Wally to a tiny Greek island, where he acquires a rare exotic gem that he smuggles back home and turns over to a local jeweler. Within a few days, the hottest-selling graduation ring in the school's history is quietly collecting data - and claiming lives.
Can Nick and Zak gather enough evidence to shut down Project Argus before too many students end up paying the price for living their lives on camera?
Ring of Fire is a quirky, sardonic suspense full of wry social satire, combining Carl Hiaasen-esque characters, a contemporary twisted plot and a setting that's equal parts academia and Aegean Sea.
Wally Gibbs, a marketing professor by default, is having a colonoscopy when he dreams up a covert way to monitor the spending habits of America. After a mysterious death on campus, Nick Pappas, campus cop, starts to investigate Wally, with a little help from one of Wally's students, Zak Dawson. From the local jeweler to the isle of Greece, Pappas and Dawson stalk Wally Gibbs, looking for the connection to the death and the sudden popularity of the school's class ring. Unfortunately, more people are dying, and time is running out.
A crime novel with a humorous angle, Ring of Fire is not your everyday thriller. As disgusting and unethical as Wally Gibbs is, in contrast, we have Nick Pappas as the down-on-your-luck hero, and Zak Dawson as the geeky but lovable student hoping to score a date. An original storyline, combined with the "Big Brother" concept makes this a unique and interesting read that is, perhaps, not that hard to imagine. I rooted for underdog Pappas and fell in love with Gibb's dwarf-collecting wife. This is some good stuff here. After reading this and Battle Axe I believe we have a winning new writer that I look forward to reviewing again.
*A physical copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.