Thom Geier
January 27, 2012 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Fear Index

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Robert Harris
publisher
Knopf
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

We fear what we do not understand. No wonder, then, that Robert Harris — whose last novel became the Roman Polanski thriller The Ghost Writer — has turned his Crichtonish gaze to the world of hedge funds in The Fear Index. Alex Hoffmann, an artificial-intelligence researcher-turned-hedge-fund billionaire, is attacked on the eve of a big investor meeting. Soon the algorithm driving his fund begins making outrageously risky bets. The mysteries begin to pile up — and to implicate Alex himself. Harris’ brisk, movie-ready yarn may make you reconsider your mattress as a retirement-fund option. B+

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