The Big Thrill Discusses QUOZ: A FINANCIAL THRILLER with Mel Mattison
It’s 2027. The AI revolution has merged with quantum computing to take control of global financial markets. Operated by the mysterious Bank for International Settlements based in Basel, Switzerland, the quantum supercomputer known as ICARUS has promised the world a more stable economy, devoid of bank failures and volatile share prices. And it has delivered…until now.
Rory O’Connor is the financial genius who helped create ICARUS, but after the tragic death of his best friend, he’s checked out of high finance and into a luxury Caribbean condo, trading cryptocurrencies on the shores of San Juan.
When the stock market starts manifesting erratic behavior, what begins as a favor drags Rory into a dangerous labyrinth of deceit and international intrigue. Leaders at some of the world’s most powerful central banks are planning to take down the US dollar as global reserve currency, replacing it with a gold- and silver-backed digital currency of their own.
Now, Rory must travel to Switzerland, overcome his demons, and save the world from financial chaos. Everything is on the line. If he fails, humanity descends into an economic Armageddon controlled by madmen and psychopathic bankers.
Mel Mattison recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest financial thriller, QUOZ.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
Over the years, I’ve seen the rise of algorithms and computers on their path to dominate financial markets. For some time, I’ve ruminated on what that path looks like when taken to its logical conclusion: a stock market totally controlled by machines. With AI’s rise, I felt I had to finally put these ideas on paper in my favorite literary format—the thriller.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
I knew I wanted Rory O’Connor to be flawed, to have an arc, but not be cliché. I wanted him to be human, not some superman who kills a dozen assailants with both arms tied behind his back. For inspiration, I looked to my favorite thriller hero: Nelson DeMille’s John Corey.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
Even as I write this, it’s Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor. With no words to cloud my head, I listened to this sonata for hundreds of hours while writing, reading, and revising QUOZ. That said, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum provided real inspiration. Many don’t realize all the financial and monetary overtones in Baum’s famous book. The Silver Shoes (the film changed them to Ruby Slippers) and the Yellow Brick Road served as an allegory for the Free Silver movement of the late 19th century. My book contains a type of Quantum Oz, hence the title.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I made a concerted effort to include almost non-fiction-type chapter segments which inform the reader about what, I believe, can actually be a fascinating subject if presented correctly—monetary policy and history. At the same time, I did my best to make them additive to the action and plot without putting the reader to sleep. I think I balanced it well and hope that my readers find these segments both informative and interesting.
Mel Mattison is a writer and financial services veteran. Leveraging over twenty years’ experience in the realm of high finance, he brings real-world authenticity to his fictional narratives. Mel holds an MBA from Duke University and studied creative writing at Loyola University Chicago. Visit him at www.MelMattison.com.
To learn more about the author, please visit his website.
QUOZ: A FINANCIAL THRILLER with MEL MATTISON