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Final Venture

Final Venture [PDF]

Michael Ridpath knows how to follow the money, something he did quite successfully in his previous financial thriller, The Market Maker. In Final Venture, his protagonist is Simon Ayot, a likable young Britishassociate at Revere, a venture capital company whose senior managing partner, Frank Cook, is also Simon's father-in-law. Simon has just pulled off a major coup for the firm, so when Frank abruptly denies a life-or-death round of further investment in NetCo, Simon's most promising high-tech client, he's completely surprised. Could it be that Frank believes the rumors floating around that Simon's been having more than business meetings with a woman in the firm? Vowing to dispel the rumors and change Frank's mind about dumping NetCo, Simon goes to the Marshes, Frank's country house, only to find him murdered. The police don't believe Simon's alibi, and soon even Lisa, his wife, is suspicious.

Meanwhile, the firm is still reeling from Frank's death. Its biggest investment in BioOne, a biomedical research firm, is in trouble, and Simon's attempts to get to the bottom of it reveal a corrupt link between Revere, BioOne, and the pharmaceutical company where Lisa is employed, which suddenly becomes a takeover target. Ridpath does a good job of explaining the arcane details of venture capital financing, but makes little of his setting (Boston) and even less of character motivation. In the absence of enough evidence to arrest Simon, it's difficult to believe that Lisa would suddenly turn on her brand-new husband, and her lack of insight concerning her own father's private life seems strange in light of their supposed closeness. The writing is sometimes clumsy, but readers interested in the intricacies of high finance in the venture capital market will find this a good primer on thesubject. —Jane Adams

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