Brennan’s corporate thriller sees rival CEOs facing threats from covert forces from their pasts.
Vern Webb, CEO of Midwest Industries in the city of Powhaten, is worried about his early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, perhaps related to his turbulent past. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, Arabs Jehan and Ahmed pay junkie Loretta to approach Webb through the son she had by him in 1980. Eleanora “Ellie” Torquemada Smith, 42, CEO of AgriBusiness, Inc., another Powhaten business, also focuses on Webb. An ambitious Mexican immigrant who kept her dead wealthy husband’s surname, Smith would love to be sole CEO of both companies. Such plans are put on hold when Smith is injured during a carjacking/shooting. Loretta, meanwhile, connects with Father Murphy, the son, now also based in Powhaten, that she put up for adoption. At that meeting, a skittish Ahmed shoots her (and an off-duty cop) dead. Webb starts to suspect that Jehan, a woman with whom he used to work, is likely trying to control the drug-money laundering operations he has been conducting via Midwest Industries for a man named Enero. He wonders whether Smith is involved, because she was a long-ago girlfriend of a drug kingpin who may be aligning with Jehan. Then Webb’s eldest son, a teen who has been in and out of rehab, is kidnapped, leading to events that force Webb to revive past wiles; the recovering Smith, whose FBI brother arrives on the scene, must also take a hard look at career goals. Chicago-based author Brennan, who has also written nonfiction books on terrorism and gun control, has created a rollicking corporate thriller with a challenging array of narrative threads. Reasons for the current action are rather hard to follow, and Webb’s criminal history is similarly confusing. Surprisingly, Webb and Smith barely interact in the text, turning their mostly parallel running stories into somewhat competing points of interest. However, there are also some touching scenes and character sketches within Brennan’s profusion of detail, most particularly when Webb realizes how much he loves his kidnapped son.
Entertaining but overloaded suspense novel.