Debut novelist Ardo offers a unique, concise novella about a young widower who finds redemption through politically motivated corporate espionage.
Jon Hersey, a superstar business consultant, struggles with depression after losing his wife, Alissa, to cancer. Some months after her death, Hersey resumes business travel in his capacity as a business analyst for Biz Planners, LLC. En route to Dallas, he encounters a friendly businessman named Daryl Alexander in the airport. On his return flight, Hersey finds himself bumped up to first class and coincidentally seated near Alexander. During the flight, Alexander reveals that Hersey has been under prolonged surveillance by Zeta Consulting Group, a nonprofit organization in which Alexander is one of several employees. Zeta is interested in hiring Hersey because of his former training as a Navy SEAL and his impressive business savvy. They want him to work as a corporate/political spy, helping to uncover and thwart schemes by American corporate contractors that undermine the political agenda of the U.S. government. After getting past his initial shock, Hersey decides to give Zeta a shot, partially due to his enthusiasm for thwarting terrorism but also due to discontentedness with his current existence. The story unfolds mostly in a close third-person narrative, though it periodically shifts into other characters’ perspectives, which tends to disrupt the otherwise well-crafted tale. Also included are touching flashbacks of Hersey with his late wife that give color to Hersey’s loss and elucidate his decision to pursue an unconventional, high-risk career path. Although the story requires a substantial suspension of disbelief regarding the nature of spy recruitment in corporate America, as well as the effectiveness of certain investigative tactics, Ardo provides complex, chilling portrayals of corporations abetting terrorism. His ability to create likable characters will have readers rooting for Hersey from the start.
A thrilling, adventurous novel that will appeal especially to readers interested in business recon.