Luke is heading for the mid-life doldrums when, out of the blue, he lands the job of his dreams, as CFO of a small but fast-growing company with plans for a stock market flotation. He works like a man possessed and the company completes a highly successful IPO on the Nasdaq stock market (in New York) and then grows rapidly through acquisition. Luke is obsessed with the work and the money he is making, particularly the value of his share options. He is ignoring his family and lets his engagement hit the rocks. Slowly he is becoming a monster who believes he can do no wrong. Even CEO Rick seems to be holding him back now.
But then a massive, mistimed acquisition coincides with radical technology change and a looming recession. The market starts to lose faith in the company and the value of Luke’s options is slipping through his fingers as the share price plummets. But he has debts now to fuel the extravagant lifestyle he has come to enjoy. He must take radical steps to try and hold things together. Steps that start with ruthless, then unethical, then illegal. Will he succeed or will he learn that, in the end, it is better to fail?
It’s August 1964 and hot. Beatlemania is in full swing with A Hard Day’s Night leaping up the charts. The Old Trafford test was another sun-baked, tedious Ashes draw with both teams amassing over six hundred runs. Thirteen years of ‘Tory misrule’ are coming to an end.
Kit is recovering from chicken pox and dreading the posh new school that Dad made him go for. His parents’ marriage is in meltdown. But he and his brother have their own world, always. Kit wants to be a drummer and David has a Beatle haircut and is saving for a Rickenbacker.
When Dad comes home with a brand-new MG1100, instead of the usual Cornwall, they are suddenly rushing off on a totally unplanned, whistle-stop tour of seven European countries.
Alex’s short stories are quite different from his crime writing. They are uniquely personal, sometimes quirky and written straight from the heart. Seventeen of them are available in a collection titled “The Late Shift Specialist”.
Three other stories, relating to his days in finance, are not included in the collection and will be available exclusively to Alex's newsletter subscribers:
Luke and Rick present their company to a major investor in Minneapolis. But nothing is quite what they expected.
Luke and Rick meet with a boutique investment banking firm from New York and its quirky founder and are persuaded to float their company on the US market, contrary to Luke’s instincts.
Luke meets Peter Markham to see if he would sell the office building that he rents to Luke’s company. Over lunch, Luke learns of the extraordinary changes that Peter made in his life and how he came to buy the building in the first place. Luke starts to see life differently.
*The characters of Luke and Rick also feature in the black comedy he is working on.