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Posted January 27, 2013
On the whole we are all good people. We try to be even-handed in our dealings with others and expect the same in return. We give our best to our employers and trust they do the same to us. But what if they don’t; don’t as a norm? Thousands of ordinary low-level workers in the USA are signed into non-compete contracts so tight they are virtually without rights those in other countries take for granted: few pay rises, axed with little severance, and unable to take on a job in a similar field for 18 months or more under threat of being sued. With no other experience and often over-qualified for other jobs through their own diligence, they are virtually unemployable – with a mortgage, household and children to put through college.
Don Gunn is one such man. He’s read the writing on the wall at the advertising agency where he’s worked for years and is desperately applying for other jobs before he’s severed and his non-compete clause kicks in. But the economic downturn is biting, and he’s not exactly 25. Still grieving over the death of his wife, his self-worth is skidding away from him. So when a good-looking younger woman flirts with him it gives him a shot in the arm, and when she pursues him he reckons he’s nothing to lose but his self-imposed celibacy. How wrong can a man be?
A Hell of a Woman is an examination of the iniquities inherent in the ‘Land of the Free’ with Gunn’s personal life mirroring his employment life until, a man under extreme pressure from all sides, he cracks. How he cracks makes a spectacular finale.
However, this is a book, a novel, that makes the reader step back and assess just how near to real life this is. Justice for those of us who pay our taxes and cause no trouble should be a single step away. Often it can feel like a million miles. It leaves an uncomfortable, and haunting aftertaste because Ron Hummer, like as not, is writing from experience.
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