Saturday, February 16, 2008
Random: I was talking to a guy who works at an international bank today (the financial institution will remain anonymous to protect the innocent) and he dropped a pretty amazing set of numbers on me.
During our conversation, he said that by adding up the amounts of all combined crimes like ATM ripoffs, bogus checks, actual armed robberies (with ski masks or without) and other sorts of nefariousness, this bank loses approximately $25-$30 million per year.
When totaling up all the money stolen by employees of the bank, it was a little higher. Try somewhere on the order of three billion dollars per year via inside jobs and scams on the system by people in the know.
He had one other little interesting tidbit... the person most often responsible for these employee thefts?
The managers of individual branches themselves.
In other news...
SIFT2: It's been a busy and unpleasantly eventful week, but (fingers crossed) the weekend will be the opposite. Culdcept Saga is still drawing me like a moth to butane, but if everything goes according to plan and the forces of the universe cooperate, I'll try to get some serious writing time in. I've got 2.75 chapters of SIFT's sequel in the can, but I'd like to at least double that by the time Monday rolls around. Note to self: stop slacking.
Books: Finished Terminal by Andrew Vachss yesterday. Vachss is a great writer, but I haven't been following his Burke series -- I discovered him through his standalone novel, Shella.
Although I'm aware that a reader jumping into a series late in the game has to give the writer some slack while playing catch-up, I found Terminal to be nearly incomprehensible. Very little is said about the characters, tons of things are referenced with no help to newer readers, a lot of the events are made up of what seem to me to be convenient contrivances, and there are several wild tangents that look like nothing more than an author's indulgence to me.
I'm sure I'd get more out of it if I had read the prior books, but the mark of a good series book (in my opinion, anyway) is the ability to hook a reader into what's going on whether it's book two or twelve and make them go hunt out the previous ones. I finished the last page of Terminal wondering what the hell was going on, and why the book went on for as long as it did when the main plotline could have been completed in five chapters.
After I wrapped that up, I started Son of Rosemary today -- sequel to Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby. I'm still in the opening chapters, but it's already pretty clear that Levin is a true master of the craft.
Good, good stuff.