A thrilling, adventurous novel that will appeal especially to readers interested in business recon.


Jon Hersey - Industrial Spy

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.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-1475951783

Page Count: 102

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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It's being called a novel, but it is more a hybrid: short-stories/essays/confessions about the Vietnam War—the subject that O'Brien reasonably comes back to with every book. Some of these stories/memoirs are very good in their starkness and factualness: the title piece, about what a foot soldier actually has on him (weights included) at any given time, lends a palpability that makes the emotional freight (fear, horror, guilt) correspond superbly. Maybe the most moving piece here is "On The Rainy River," about a draftee's ambivalence about going, and how he decided to go: "I would go to war—I would kill and maybe die—because I was embarrassed not to." But so much else is so structurally coy that real effects are muted and disadvantaged: O'Brien is writing a book more about earnestness than about war, and the peekaboos of this isn't really me but of course it truly is serve no true purpose. They make this an annoyingly arty book, hiding more than not behind Hemingwayesque time-signatures and puerile repetitions about war (and memory and everything else, for that matter) being hell and heaven both. A disappointment.

Pub Date: March 28, 1990

ISBN: 0618706410

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1990

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Visionary speculative stories that will change the way readers see themselves and the world around them: This book delivers...

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Exploring humankind's place in the universe and the nature of humanity, many of the stories in this stellar collection focus on how technological advances can impact humanity’s evolutionary journey.

Chiang's (Stories of Your Life and Others, 2002) second collection begins with an instant classic, “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” which won Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novelette in 2008. A time-travel fantasy set largely in ancient Baghdad, the story follows fabric merchant Fuwaad ibn Abbas after he meets an alchemist who has crafted what is essentially a time portal. After hearing life-changing stories about others who have used the portal, he decides to go back in time to try to right a terrible wrong—and realizes, too late, that nothing can erase the past. Other standout selections include “The Lifecycle of Software Objects,” a story about a software tester who, over the course of a decade, struggles to keep a sentient digital entity alive; “The Great Silence,” which brilliantly questions the theory that humankind is the only intelligent race in the universe; and “Dacey’s Patent Automatic Nanny,” which chronicles the consequences of machines raising human children. But arguably the most profound story is "Exhalation" (which won the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Short Story), a heart-rending message and warning from a scientist of a highly advanced, but now extinct, race of mechanical beings from another universe. Although the being theorizes that all life will die when the universes reach “equilibrium,” its parting advice will resonate with everyone: “Contemplate the marvel that is existence, and rejoice that you are able to do so.”

Visionary speculative stories that will change the way readers see themselves and the world around them: This book delivers in a big way.

Pub Date: May 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-94788-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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