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Set in Boston's Financial District and Back Bay,
Taking Stock pits Erica Fletcher against an
ego-maniacal boss and a scheming mastermind who steals
millions from the customers of Boston's premier
Erica Fletcher has been pushing herself to exhaustion
to ward off demons from her childhood. She’s wildly
successful at work, financially secure and incredibly
fit, but at 34 her romantic life has yet to begin.
Erica chooses exactly the wrong time for a journey of
self-discovery. Romance blossoms with a charming
coworker who has been pursuing her for years, but she
soon discovers she’s been framed for a massive theft.
Erica must fight for her life and struggle to hold on
to the new woman she has become.
A single monitor glowed among the racks of black
cabinets abuzz with the stirring of three hundred tiny
electric fans. The server farm was hard at work
crunching the day’s results down into thousands of
reports for the investment managers to digest the next
morning. The people who attended these machines and the
wealth they represented had long gone home. The
constant drone of the two-ton compressor and the fans
blowing cold air beneath the floor drowned out any
sound beyond the glass walls and left him completely
isolated in this narrow walkway between cabinets. His
early fears had been replaced by a polished routine, a
well-rehearsed alibi, and a knowledge that very few
people stirred in the office this late at night.
The machine finished its work with spectacular results,
but this was not the time for celebration. Calmly his
fingers tapped on the keys and the machine went to work
erasing every trace of his work here tonight. Seconds
later, the CD ejected and he slipped it into his bag.
He arranged the computer desktop the way he had found
it, locked the glass cabinet door and slipped to the
end of the row. There against the wall he watched for
movements in the myriad reflections. He waited and
listened nearly a minute before slipping down the ramp
and out the door.
The cubicles beyond were silent, office lights switched
He eased down the hall ten feet to the security room
door, slid the key into the lock and slipped in. Gladly
out of sight again. He’d be done in another few
minutes. Very few people had access to this room, and
those who did rarely stepped inside. Another series of
cabinets lined two walls. These were filled with wires
rather than computers. The single PC monitored the
comings and goings at every entrance the company
controlled. A few doors, like the one to this room,
operated with keys, but most required a plastic access
card. When someone opened an electronic lock their
identity was captured here. He scrolled down the list
looking for the problem he’d found several times
Here it was again.
She couldn’t enter nineteen and then get up here to
twenty-two ten minutes later. None of the exits
downstairs had been opened in that time. A few clicks
and the evidence of her visit to nineteen vanished. It
would be impossible to know who passed out the doors
when she eventually left; impossible for anyone to
piece together what he’d done.
He turned to the VCR and ejected the tape. The one he
replaced it with looked old enough to have been around
a few months. It had, although everything on it had
been erased, just as the one in his hands would be
before he returned it to the stack.
The monitor on the wall showed an empty computer room
then several dim hallways around the building. She was
there somewhere and it would be just his luck for her
to get her face recorded coming in rather than out.
Damn workaholic. If he was lucky, he’d get out before
she left nineteen. The last thing he needed was to bump
into her as he left the room. If the bitchy do-gooder
got suspicious, getting in and out would be a nightmare
and the whole thing would come to a halt. He couldn’t
The computer didn’t record his exit from the security
closet. The only evidence he’d been there was in his
black leather bag and that would be short lived. He
strode briskly for the lobby, far too intent for the
hour. Alerted to his presence in the hall, the motion
sensor unlocked the door with an audible click. The
tiny electric device hummed as the latch was held open
for him. The security computer logged an exit that
could only belong to Erica Fletcher.
Down the elevator and into the Boston spring air he
"A chillingly accurate Thriller. Taking Stock is all
too real, and downright uncomfortably exciting."
Evans for Curled Up With a Good Book
“Taking Stock will interest anyone who enjoys a good
"A fast-paced thriller for the technological age..."
Midwest Book review.
"C.J. West shows greed and envy can lead to lies,
self destruction and murder. An intense read."
"C.J. develops his characters brilliantly and makes
them easily identifiable with and believable, unlike so
many characters who seem to need a cape and cowl to do
what they do in suspense novels."
"As a person with a short attention span and no
patience for a sluggish story, I appreciate the action
and suspense that keeps Taking Stock in motion. An
appealing love story, strong characters, and
picturesque settings make this an enjoyable read. And
Mr. West's characteristic short chapters make it an
easy read for those with busy lifestyles."
Buy The Book
Taking Stock is available as a trade paperback or
an e-book compatible with any e-reader. Personalized trade paperbacks
are now available for purchase via the BUY button at the bottom of this page.
ISBN 10: 0-9767788-1-5
ISBN 13: 978-0-9767788-1-3
Published: 22 West Books, 2007
& Noble Nook
Order your personalized trade paperback
signed and shipped by CJ.
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Marking Time Series
The End of Marking Time
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