The 80s are over, but a new breed of corporate criminal has emerged-smarter and infinitely more dangerous. A gruesome murder kick-starts this explosive saga of greed, corruption and mayhem. Set in the secretive world of multi-billion dollar mergers and ruthless plays for money and power, Merger takes readers behind the closed doors of Wall Street to witness the shocking dealings of corrupt CEOs and unethical bankers who violate the public trust for their personal gain---similar to the real-life incidents at Enron and WorldCom.
|Publisher:||Tom Doherty Associates|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)|
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By Sanjay Sanghoee
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2005 Sanjay Sanghoee
All rights reserved.
TriNet Communications was a monster. With holdings in cable, entertainment, technology, fiber optic networks, and long-distance telephone services, the fifteen-year-old company had become a juggernaut in the world of media and telecommunications. Wall Street liked monsters.
The conglomerate had started as a technology provider for cable companies. As the cable operators upgraded their systems through the '90s and prepared for the convergence of voice, data, and video over their pipes, TriNet's share price rocketed to reflect the growth potential of its business. Taking advantage of Wall Street's bullishness, the company had used its strong equity and the surplus cash on its books as currency to make a series of rapid-fire acquisitions, putting it in the uppermost echelons of media players in the United States.
Vikram Suri was the CEO of TriNet. Like the company that he helmed, Vikram, or Vik as his friends and the press called him, was the epitome of success. Tall and thin, with pleasant features and an intense gaze, he cut an ambiguous figure — elegant, magnetic, and calm; yet aggressive, unpredictable, and dangerous. Educated at Oxford and Harvard, Vik was an exception both within the world of CEOs, which was dominated by silver-haired white men, and within his own community. Few Indian men had attained public-figure status in the Western world, and fewer still were regarded as glamorous.
All the same behind the self-effacing charm and chic media image, Vik was as ambitious and ruthless as any of his old-world counterparts. He had a large appetite for risk, and an even larger one for acquisition. Having taken over the leadership of TriNet six years earlier, he had initiated the firm's aggressive merger spree.
Right now, Vik was seated at his desk, reading a report that he had received earlier in the day. The document consisted of thirty foolscap pages, with an unmarked black cover and simple spiral binding. There was no name or other information to identify either the author or the intended recipient of the report.
Though unassuming in its appearance, the document was a loaded gun.
After about an hour, he was frowning heavily. Making some notations on a pad lying on his desk, he tagged a page with a neon-colored sticker and shut the folder. He stared at his notes, picked up the phone, then changed his mind. Putting down the receiver, he tore up the paper with his writing, and tossed it into the trash.
Reaching into a humidor on his desk, he pulled out a Cohiba. Warming it slowly near the flame, but never touching it, he slowly puffed on the Cuban to light it. A bright orange flame erupted at the end of the cigar and an aroma of luxurious decadence quickly filled the room. Most corporate chieftains considered fine cigars to be one of the essential accessories of success, and Vik was no exception.
Staring vacantly out of his office window atop a skyscraper in downtown Manhattan, Vik let his mind wander. This was the way he did his best thinking. The report was more than he had expected, a lot more. Even as he felt the excitement building up inside him, his logical mind meditated carefully and unemotionally on the facts that he had just learned. He deconstructed the document methodically, and reorganized the intelligence into a clear but detailed map in his head. With this mental picture, he set about examining the possible courses of action that could be taken.
A few minutes later, he stuffed the report into a leather attaché case and left the office.
Downstairs, a black limousine waited expectantly in front of the building. A uniformed chauffeur snapped to attention as Vik stepped through the revolving doors, and rushed to open the car door for him. The CEO nodded his thanks and got in. As the limousine snaked its way through Manhattan traffic to its destination, Vik continued to think.
By the time he arrived at his apartment building, he knew what he was going to do.
At the same time that Vikram Suri was deciding what to do with the confidential report on his desk, a nineteen-year-old computer genius at UCLA was making a huge mistake.
Corey Meeks, affectionately known to his friends as "his meekness," was trying to disprove the moniker that had been the bane of his young existence. In short, he was showing off to his friends.
Holding court in the cafeteria, he was telling a congregation of geeks about his sexy new job. As the openmouthed four-eyed mutants stared at him in awe, Corey described in vivid detail how an anonymous corporation was paying him the big bucks to hack into computer systems and conduct electronic surveillance on their rivals. It was, as Corey expressed it, the corporate equivalent of a "black op" — with state-of-the-art computers and an unlimited expense account! Corey seemed justifiably proud of his latest gig and was clearly impressed with his own talent that had won him the position.
Ordinarily, this gathering of the meek and the ugly would have ended in a beer guzzling fest at a private apartment where all the guys would sit around talking about how they would "do" Pamela Anderson, and all the girls would be nonexistent....
However, today Corey had work to do, and so after regaling his audience for a while, he took his leave. As he did, one of the members of his fan club, a street-smart eighteen-year-old named Adam, whose geeky exterior was really an act that he used to good advantage, went down the hall to a pay phone and dialed a number. He talked rapidly and then hung up, staring back in the direction of his friends. As the sounds of crude guffawing emanated from the assembly, Adam groaned. What a bunch of losers! If only they weren't so useful at finals time....
When Corey arrived at his workplace, called "The Center," he received the surprise of his life.
A hand clapped firmly over his mouth and he was lifted physically off the ground by a powerful pair of arms. The two men then carried Corey to a computer table that had been cleared of all its equipment. Laying him on top of it, one of his assailants drew a knife; a large hunting knife of the kind that Corey had seen in countless slasher films. The man then proceeded to unzip Corey's pants. The nineteen-year-old hacker stared at him with a look of abject fear in his eyes, and groaned deeply. He tried to struggle but the man holding him down was too strong.
The first man then pulled down Corey's pants and placed the knife strategically near his private parts. The geek nearly fainted.
"I consider my profession an art, Corey," said the assailant, moving his knife around Corey's groin in a menacing circle. "And like any artist, I look for new and creative ways to practice my trade."
Corey could feel himself blacking out. His mind simply couldn't handle the reality of his situation. His captors, however, weren't here to cut up an unconscious man, and someone cracked a vial of smelling salts near his nose. Despite his ardent desire to faint, Corey had no choice but to stay in the moment. He groaned again.
The man with the knife now placed its tip suggestively on a very sensitive spot.
"All right, Mr. Meeks. Let's cut to the chase. We're here because you were talking a bit too loudly this afternoon, specifically about your 'new job.' Now what did I tell you the first time we met, eh? Let me remind you."
The man moved his knife back up to Corey's groin and made a tiny incision. Corey went insane, bucking violently and almost driving himself full tilt into the waiting knife. The man pulled away the knife hurriedly.
"Settle down, you idiot!" he said gruffly. "We're not here to kill you, but if you move, you'll kill yourself.... Game time's over. First rule of The Center, it doesn't exist, you got that?"
Corey nodded dumbly, not even hearing the words at this point. His mind was in a whole different place now, and it was all he could do to keep from tumbling over the edge into full-blown insanity.
"Keep your mouth shut, show up on time, and do your job," continued the assailant. "We're paying you well and expect you to follow our rules unquestioningly. You break the code and next time we rape your nerd ass, kapeesh?"
This time Corey didn't even respond. He was too far gone to worry about rape at this point. Compared to his present torture, it might almost have been pleasant.
The man with the knife now brought it back down to Corey's body. The tip of the metal felt icy cold, and the geek flinched in spite of his fear. The assailant just shook his head in disbelief.
"I tell you, and you still won't listen. Don't move! For a smart kid you're pretty stupid, you know that, Corey? Lucky for you, we're going to give you a souvenir that will remind you of our little chat...."
At this, Corey started to strain against the man holding him down, trying to shout, bite, and generally break his captor's grip.
"Cut him already, Chad! This kid's a lot stronger than he looks," yelled the man struggling with the frantic nineteen-year-old.
With a deft stroke of his blade, the man with the knife did just that. As blood spurted everywhere, Corey bit insanely into his captor's hand, drawing blood. The man cursed and pulled his hand off. Corey started to scream, wailing like a newborn baby.
"Dammit! Shut him up, will you?" said the man with the knife, dumping the extracted testicle into a garbage can and cleaning his hands with a cloth. "He'll wake up the neighbors a mile away with that whining."
At that, a brutal hand swept across Corey's face, and this time he did black out.
The doctor who stitched up Corey's remaining testicle chided the assailants.
"How many times have I told you guys not to cut too deep? One of these days you're going to kill someone who shouldn't be dead, and then you'll get it in the neck from the boss.... And don't expect me to save your sorry asses, either."
Chad Rollins, the one who had performed the partial castration, just shrugged. "It's not a science, Doc. Things happen. Will the kid be all right?"
"Of course. Lots of people survive on one testicle. He can go home in a couple of hours."
"Great, we need him back at work soon. This time we know he'll keep his mouth shut."
As the men left the doctor's office, Chad pulled out a disposable cell phone. His partner looked at him inquisitively.
"Gotta update the boss," explained Chad. "Goddamn Indians always want updates...."CHAPTER 2
Tom Carter always hated these nights out with "the boys." Of course, the boys were no longer just boys, and included the women in his firm as well, but the whole thing was pretty stupid. A bunch of socially inept investment bankers would go out drinking and dancing (badly) all night, and finally try to hook up with each other. It was almost a rite of passage for young female analysts, fresh out of college, to sleep with associates, and in some cases vice presidents and managing directors as well. It was a terrible idea, but people never seemed to learn.
The night club was loud and raucous when Tom walked in, and right away he knew that he wanted to leave. He almost turned around when he was stopped by a hand on his shoulder. It was Robert Darlington III, the senior partner at Morgenthal Winter (MW) — Tom's boss.
Robert was an old-world banker, who despite having inherited a fortune from his British-born parents had worked hard to establish his own name in the business. He was one of those rare scions who had surpassed even his own pedigree. At MW, he was regarded as shrewd but fair. Sixty-five years old, he was a mild-mannered man who rarely participated in these events. Tom was surprised to see him here.
"I thought you hated these things."
Robert smiled. "I do, but you have to go out with the troops once in a while or they think you're unapproachable. I certainly don't understand any of this," he said, indicating the night club environment, "but I figured a few minutes with the crew would be encouraging for them. I want to bridge the gap between the old guard and the young Turks."
"I know how you feel," said Tom, feeling much older than he was.
"How are things going at the office?" asked Robert, even though he knew exactly how they were going.
"I'm just wrapping up the Phoenix Mobile memo and we should be ready for committee in a couple of days," replied Tom.
"Good to hear that. Steve's been raving about your work and the partners think highly of you. You're on a fast track, son," said Robert, clapping Tom's shoulder for the second time. It was his trademark gesture.
Tom beamed. In any profession, being told that you were on a fast track was ear candy, but hearing it from the senior partner was a real treat.
Robert looked down at his watch and winced. "I've been here too long. My daughter Elaine will be furious. I'd promised to spend some time with her tonight, discussing her latest boyfriend...."
He rolled his eyes, as if to say "I hate all her boyfriends ..." Tom laughed.
After his boss's departure, Tom hung out with the rest of the crew, which included eight analysts, five associates, and three vice presidents. All of them were drunk out of their minds even before he arrived. The evening was pleasant, if pointless, but finally Tom decided to call it a night.
As he was about to get up, he felt a hand stroke him beneath the table. He turned slowly in the direction of the touch, and saw one of the female analysts, Melissa, staring at him with the strangest eyes he had ever seen on a woman, drunk or sober. Tom, who only had a couple of beers in his system, was alert enough to recognize the signs and gently tried to extricate the girl's hand from his leg.
Melissa, however, was well past the point of backing away from anything that night and moved her hand up to Tom's crotch. As the investment banker froze, the young analyst started rubbing him through his pants, hard. Realizing this was getting out of control, Tom rose abruptly and announced that he was leaving. He dared not look down, hoping that his embarrassment wasn't showing through his pants.
Before he could make it out of the club, however, he was slammed to the wall by a tiny but ferocious Melissa, who had decided she wanted a piece of the handsome vice president. They were in a dark corner now and she started rubbing him again and breathing hard. She reached down and unzipped his fly.
By now Tom had recovered some of his balance, and grasped Melissa firmly by her arms. He pushed her away and looked her straight in the eye.
"You're tired and very drunk, Melissa. Go home and get some sleep. I'll forget this ever happened, all right? Just go home," he said kindly but firmly.
Melissa looked at him in confusion. She was young and very attractive and had never been rejected by a man before, least of all an older man. What was this guy thinking, giving up an encounter with a hot twenty-two-year-old?!
Rocking a little on her feet, she looked at Tom suspiciously and then finally responded. "Are you gay?" Tom almost laughed. He stared at the cute little blonde for a few seconds, then just shook his head.
"No, I'm not. And you're a very attractive young woman. But you're also an analyst who works for me. This is wrong, and tomorrow morning you'll thank me for it. Now just say goodbye to everyone and then go home. ..."
Tom left the nonplussed Melissa standing there and walked out of the night club, shaking his head. He had no doubts that Melissa would go home with one of the associates that night, but at least he hadn't taken advantage of the young girl. It was sad, he reflected, that someone so smart and so beautiful allowed herself to get caught up in the twisted games of her male colleagues. But he also understood that these kids worked really hard and had no time for a social life.
Everyone had to get laid once in a while.
As Tom was looking for a cab, he realized that he was very turned on. Melissa's advances had aroused him much more than he had realized, and now he did need some action.... For a second, he looked back at the club and thought of the perky young blonde just waiting for him to take her. Tom blushed. He felt ashamed. He shook the thought from his head and turned back to the street.
He supposed he could go to some bar and try to pick up a woman, but at this point, he wasn't in the mood to work for it. It would take too long and he wasn't sure if he could last out the courting ritual.
With a sinking feeling, Tom realized that tonight, like so many other nights, would be spent practicing the maxim of "love thyself."
As he got ready for bed, Tom stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror.
He was six feet tall, with wide shoulders and a strong build. Some female advice and months of self-training had taught him to square those shoulders back and lift up his chest to take full advantage of his frame. Even though he didn't possess the picture-perfect looks of a fashion model, his face was nonetheless handsome. A firm jaw line, a blunt but well-proportioned nose, warm eyes, and lustrous brown hair gave him a distinctive look, one that was equal parts masculine and urbane.
Excerpted from Merger by Sanjay Sanghoee. Copyright © 2005 Sanjay Sanghoee. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
part 1 the setup,
part 2 the execution,
part 3 the investigation,
part 4 endgame,
about the author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
MERGER by Sanjay Sanghoee is a thriller set in 1980's America. It is written with depth and details. It has corporate crime,torture,murder,mystery,intrigue,greed,deceit,and the maneuvering of the underbelly of finance.If you have ever wondered about the finance world and their goings on this is a book for you to read.BE WARE it is a little terrifing from beginning to end,but a good read especially if you enjoy terror and a good thriller.This book was received for the purpose of review from the Bostick Communications and the author and details can be found at TOR,a Tom Doherty Associates Book and My Book Addiction and More.
I found this book to be an excellent read, even after the passage of several years since it was published. Greed is greed, and I think the truly-talented and immoral greedy folks can always stay one step ahead of the regulations and the enforcement agencies. Besides that, we don't need even more of big government's inefficient intervention in our lives. I would read another book by this author.
The story moves along at a quick pace, and is well researched. If you are interested in corporate crime, this book insightful into how the mind of a corporate criminal works. It is very timely in the way that it ties into how vulnerable our national security is.
The author succintly captures the greed fueled by over-ambition of corporate (and corrupt) CEO's that has become a bane for Wall Street. It is an answer to the question that wall street novices ask - 'but how did the CEO pull such a big deal that makes no sense economically?' Sanjay is a master storyteller. His portrayal of Vikram Suri echoes the real life stories of many corrupt CEO's who have come to light recently. The book cannot have come out at a better time.
The title captures the feel of the book very aptly. A joining of high finance and even higher crime. Not to mention a romantic triangle, ethical conundrums and corruption of the soul. A book that reads somewhere in between a cerebral thriller and a pulp novel, Merger is very satisfying indeed. The writer has a skill for taking complex financial issues and simplifying them for a non-Wall Street reader (like me¿), without losing the integrity of the subject matter. The emphasis is on gradual exposition of a fascinating criminal scheme rather than on suspense, but author Sanghoee still manages to spring plenty of surprises and twists. The characters are colorful (if not completely believable) and empathetic. For this avid reader of thrillers, Merger was a delight.
A good beach book with plenty of high-finance, sex and violence to keep the reader hooked. When the ruthless CEO of a media company embezzles money from his own multi-billion dollar merger, he runs afoul of a banker and journalist who swear to bring him down. Much more dramatic than even the Enron debacle but with a smaller cast of characters, 'Merger' pits good against evil in the way movies do - simplistically. But that's not to say that the characters are one-dimensional. All the central characters have their own complexity, including concerns about ethics, security, love and money. Of particular interest to followers of recent corporate scandals will be the motivations of bankers, corporate lawyers etc. to 'look the other way'. Conventional wisdom may dictate its just greed but the author gives us more than that, which makes the story more credible. There is enough financial detail to whet your appetite but not so much as to put you to sleep. Overall I liked it quite a lot.
Move over Andy Fastow. Vikram Suri is here! I have yet to read a novel since Day of the Jackal that¿s driven as much by the villain as by the heroes (in this case a banker and a New York Times reporter). Ruthless, brilliant and sexy, Vikram is a formidable enemy and MERGER illustrates why people like that usually get away with murder ¿ no ones wants to mess with them! In this case, Vikram gets away with exactly that, and a whole lot more, as he uses his master-scheme of insider trading, market manipulation and bribery and blackmail to build a fortune. His Napoleonic complex could have been more subtly communicated but this is the author¿s debut novel, so a little slack is in order. Overall a page turner and very credible. Can¿t wait to see this author¿s second novel.