Sharks in the Bay area

David Carnoy's new book juxtaposes chilling noir in today's cutting edge technology industry.

Golden Gate Bridge 390 (photo credit: iStockphoto)
Golden Gate Bridge 390
(photo credit: iStockphoto)
High -tech is a high risk, competitive business, but most entrepreneurs fancying a fling at the software roulette wheel don’t factor in the possibility of being offed messily in one’s own garage with a low-tech tomahawk.
Still, as CNET tech writer David Carnoy appreciates, even today there is nothing like a bloody corpse to get a good thriller-cum whodunnit off the ground. And “The Big Exit” is stuffed full of traditional goodies: the whiz-kid’s former friend with a grudge, the grieving widow with marital issues, the world-weary police detective pitting his experience against a sea of troubles, and a woman lawyer recovering from a failed relationship. All this is set against the background of a start-up industry exposed as a pool full of sharks on Facebook.
Enter lawyer Marty Lowenstein, the self styled “DNA Guy,” a flamboyant crusader against injustice with an instinct for publicity, who frets that his youngest son’s choice of a Mizuno baseball mitt is “a sign he’ll be another Jewish guy marrying Asian.” His critical breakthrough helps nail the culprit.
“The Big Exit,” Carnoy’s second book, is an expertly constructed work, whose strong points are narrative drive and grip, a cunningly constructed plot, and coruscating profanity-laced dialogues that brilliantly and almost single-handedly carry the story to its unexpected conclusion. The reader never gets a sense of place, though. The author grew up in the Bay area of San Francisco where the story is set, and his surprising failure to do much more than recite local highway routes robs his tale of needed atmosphere.
If he gets that right in future works, he will be in the first rank of thriller writers. As it is, this is a very worthwhile and superior offering.