Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Joseph Finder: Power Play

A few weeks ago I read Power Play by Joseph Finder. Jake Landry is invited as a last minute substitute to a corporate retreat at a lodge in the Canadian wilderness. He’s not sure why he has been invited to rub shoulders with all the corporate top executives. He’s got strong technical skills that may be useful to some of the decisions to be made. But the corporate politics could be bad for his career.

Things get dicey – and we have a reason for a book – when a band of hunters crashes the opening dinner and holds the executives for ransom. Cut off in the middle of nowhere, the executives seem to have no way out – no hope.

But Jake has a shady past as a juvenile. None of the executives know about it, but he may have the skills they need to survive a tough situation. The plot moves along nicely, as a good suspense thriller should.

I’ve read several books by Joseph Finder, and they’ve all been pretty good. But often I find that his lead character is someone I just don’t like. (Company Man leaps to mind as an example.) It’s hard to care too much about the protagonist’s troubles when you just don’t like the guy. This book was much more enjoyable because we finally have a likeable character. I like Jake; he’s an interesting guy. He has overcome a lot in his past and he has gotten very good at his job. Now he’s in trouble, and we want to see him come through it.

I like the fact that Finder ties his books to a corporate world. A lot more of us have worked for big companies than for the CIA. So it’s easier to relate to Finder’s stories. Although I’m pleased to say that I never faced the kind of incidents Finder describes in my career.

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