PARANOIA by Joseph Finder


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Despite a killer first printing and advance sales to Hollywood and seven other foreign countries, Finder’s turn from Soviet spying to the corporate variety doesn’t reach the heights of High Crimes (1998).

Adam Cassidy doesn’t take his midlevel job at Wyatt Communications seriously enough to worry about what will happen if a harmless but expensive prank leads to his dismissal. But when he’s caught and confronted with the consequences, he sees that getting fired is the least of his problems. He’s looking at 20 years in jail unless he allows CEO Nicholas Wyatt and his hired guns—menacing security director Arnold Meacham and insinuating executive coach Judith Bolton—to groom him as a corporate spy. His manners refined and his résumé stuffed with impressive new lies, Adam interviews for a job with Wyatt’s competitor Trion Systems, where his combination of ignorance, luck, and brass—in Finder’s cleverest stroke—rockets him past his original boss, Dragon Lady Nora Sommers, her smilingly treacherous protégé Chad Pierson, and even Machiavellian Chief Financial Officer Paul (“Cutthroat”) Camilletti to the ultimate corridor of power: an office outside that of homespun founder/CEO Jock Goddard. Adam is resentful of the thugs pulling his strings back at Wyatt and beguiled by Goddard’s instant acceptance of him as a surrogate son—an interest his own troubled relationship with his dying father makes him happy to reciprocate. So he’s soon taking time off from spying on Goddard and Alana Jennings, the predecessor who’s moved over to the Disruptive Technologies Unit, to bond with the first and bed the second, all the while looking nervously over his shoulder.

The cardboard characters—especially Alana, whose relationship with Adam inspires not paranoia but mild impatience—seem to be waiting for the movie stars to fill them in and give them life in this upscale consumer fantasy (the Porsche! the haberdashery!) of industrial espionage.

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-31914-2
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2003


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