FAIRLAWN, Ohio-For those who have been around the tire industry for 20 years or more, the story may sound a bit familiar: Corporate raider goes after beloved tire maker. Company does everything in its power to fend off attack. Community rallies behind tire maker to help it fight the financier.
If the plot line sounds similar to the 1986 battle between Goodyear and Sir James Goldsmith, that´s no accident. Former Goodyear employee Bob Adamov used many of the elements of that takeover fight in his self-published novel, "Pierce the Veil."
In the book, Adamov tells the tale of Fallsview Tire & Rubber Co., based in the Akron suburb of Cuyahoga Falls, which is the target of a takeover attempt by ruthless Max Ratek, the "notorious Michelangelo of Wall Street." The mystery also centers on the efforts to unravel the tale by Emerson Moore, a "Washington Post" investigative reporter based in Put-in-Bay, Ohio, a Lake Erie island community.
Adamov drew a lot on his tenure with Goodyear in writing the novel, which is the second of three books he´s penned featuring the Emerson Moore character. During the Goldsmith takeover attempt, for example, he worked in human resources for Goodyear and remembered much talk about "piercing the corporate ownership veil," before Goldsmith was identified as the raider.
Goodyear also had a "Swat team," and one of his duties was to study takeover battles, said Adamov, who left Goodyear in 1993 as manager of investor relations after 21 years with the firm. He was dispatched to several shareholder meetings involving raids of the time, writing white papers on his findings.
At one of those meetings, he penetrated security and got behind the stage to see a trick played on raider Carl Icahn, who stood six-foot-four. The company the raider was after deliberately locked the microphone at the meeting in a low position to frustrate Icahn-a trick that made its way into "Pierce the Veil."
Adamov, who said he will always have "Goodyear blue in my veins," also came up with material for the book at other stops in his career, namely Corrpro Cos. Inc. and Caliber System Inc. At Corrpro, the company was the darling of Wall Street before "pulling an Enron" in June 1995, he said, sending its stock to $5 a share from $18 in five days.
"That was front-line experience in crisis management," Adamov said. "On June 5, 1995, I took 165 phone calls from angry investors. The toughest one was at 10 at night-from my mother."
When he moved to Caliber in 1996, on his first day on the job he had to write a press release announcing earnings would be one cent a share instead of 30 cents. That sent the stock tumbling to $16 from $36 in six weeks, making the firm attractive for dissidents to buy up (it later was bought by Federal Express). He used that press release word for word in his book.
"A lot of the story is from Caliber and from Goodyear," said Adamov, now vice president of human resources for Fairlawn-based NutriScience Technologies Inc., a maker of animal nutrition products.
Always wanted to write
Adamov always wanted to write, dating back to his childhood when he and his brother put out a little neighborhood newspaper. He typed it and his brother did the artwork. Because of this, it was important to Adamov that his brother did the artwork on his first novel.
It took a bit of a mid-life crisis to get Adamov to work on his side career as a novelist. "Turning 50 didn´t bother me," he said. "Turning 51 hit me like a ton of bricks."
Using Clive Cussler as his writing inspiration and Put-in-Bay as one of the main settings, he published "Rainbow´s End" in October 2002 through Packard Island Publishing, a company he formed to handle his books, as the first entry in the Emerson Moore series. He followed that with "Pierce the Veil" in May 2004 and the latest work, "When Rainbows Walk," in June.
Adamov has been pleased with sales, as "Rainbow´s End" has sold more than 8,000 copies and is in its third printing, "Pierce the Veil" has topped 2,000, and the new book sold about 1,000 in its first month. He said he has 10 books planned for the series; he´s writing the fourth one now and has outlines for the fifth and sixth.
Besides some top-shelf reviews, he also has received some attention from Hollywood. Dominic Sena, director of the Nicolas Cage film "Gone in 60 Seconds," asked him to write a sample script, saying that Producer Jerry Bruckheimer´s people view Moore as a hero in the vein of Tom Clancy´s Jack Ryan.
The movie-making process is slow, Adamov noted, although Pena´s associates do call and keep in touch.
Besides peppering his books with local knowledge, Adamov also donates a portion of revenue to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. One of the main characters in "Pierce the Veil" had MS, a disease Adamov´s wife has fought since 1993.
As for other author wannabes who may consider self-publishing, he gave this advice: "Whatever amount of time you spend writing, you have to spend double that marketing. It´s an investment in yourself."