Company Man [NOOK Book]


Nick Conover is the CEO of a major corporation, a local boy made good, and once the most admired man in a company town. But that was before the layoffs. When a faceless stalker menaces his family, Nick, a single father of two since the recent death of his wife, finds that the gated community they live in is no protection at all. He decides to take action, a tragedy ensues? and immediately his life spirals out of control...

At work, Nick begins...

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Company Man

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Nick Conover is the CEO of a major corporation, a local boy made good, and once the most admired man in a company town. But that was before the layoffs. When a faceless stalker menaces his family, Nick, a single father of two since the recent death of his wife, finds that the gated community they live in is no protection at all. He decides to take action, a tragedy ensues– and immediately his life spirals out of control...

At work, Nick begins to uncover a conspiracy against him, involving some of his closest colleagues. He doesn’t know who he can trust—including the brilliant, troubled new woman in his life. Meanwhile, his actions are being probed by a homicide detective named Audrey Rhimes, a relentless investigator with a strong sense of morality — and her own, very personal reason for pursuing Nick Conover.

With everything he cares about in the balance, Nick discovers strengths he never knew he had. His enemies don’t realize how hard he’ll fight to save his company. And nobody knows how far he’ll go to protect his family.

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Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
Mr. Finder's Company Man confirms what his Paranoia made clear: he has unusually keen instincts for back-stabbing in the business world. And somehow or other, exotica about the workings of a company that manufactures office furniture become unnaturally interesting here.
— The New York Times
Library Journal
Like Finder's previous novel (Paranoia), this thriller is set in a major American corporation. Nick Conover is the popular local boy who made good by becoming CEO of his Michigan hometown's office furniture manufacturing company. That was before the business was bought by a Boston financial holding firm. Soon Nick lays off half of the workers and becomes the most hated man in town. His family is then threatened by a stalker, who appears to be a troubled ex-employee. Nick kills this person outside his home and tries to cover it up with the aid of his head of security. Now he faces a police investigation led by a church-going detective. Further complicating Nick's life is conflict with his teenage son and an affair with a troubled young woman. The plot here is quite good, with several excellent twists and turns and interesting leading characters. Scott Brick presents the story in an engaging fashion; recommended for all audio collections.-Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ. Lib., Parkersburg Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A Michigan furniture company CEO's desperate bid to avoid losing control of his firm takes a back seat (or does it?) to murder most foul. Ever since he laid off 5,000 employees-half of Stratton Corporation's workforce-in response to a mandate from Stratton's new owner, Fairfield Equity, everyone in Fenwick has hated "the Slasher," Nicholas Conover. But nobody hates him more than the nutcase who's been breaking into his gated community, scrawling threatening graffiti inside his house, and most recently eviscerating the family dog. His nerves already frayed by his wife Laura's accidental death and his defiant teenage son, Nick gets his old hockey friend Eddie Rinaldi, now Stratton's security chief, to install a state-of-the-art burglar alarm in the house Laura picked out not long before she died. The alarm works all too well. It's been in place only a few days when it summons Nick to a confrontation with an intruder he shoots dead. In one of the few unbelievable moments in this adroitly plotted tale, Nick's old buddy Eddie persuades him to hide the corpse, and from that moment on, Nick watches in anguish as Det. Audrey Rhimes closes in on the truth inch by inch. Or he would watch if he weren't frantically trying to balance the day-by-day demands of his hurting kids with the need to do something about his suspicion that Fairfield Equity is isolating him, doing an end run around his America-first policies, and getting ready to sell him down the river-presumably to the unanimous cheers of his friends and neighbors. These headaches may not sound like enough plot for 500 pages, but Finder expertly doles out the suspense and comes up with a climactic twist altogether more plausible and satisfyingthan the last-minute revelation in Paranoia (2004). A highly efficient thriller combining state-of-the-art corporate malfeasance with the old-fashioned kind. You can almost hear the movie cameras grinding away. Author tour
From the Publisher
Praise for Paranoia:

"There's a new John Grisham in town!"—People magazine (Critic's Choice) on Paranoia

"This thriller is engaging from the opening lines and doesn't let up until the surprising end. Scott Brick narrates flawlessly, using one voice that manages not only to portray Adam's satiric sense of humor but also to capture each of the many other characters' personalities...Brick maintains tension and builds nonstop suspense. This great performance is a perfect fit for the writing. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award." —AudioFile

"Jet-propelled...weaves a tangled and ingeniously enveloping web...[with] a killer twist for the end."—The New York Times

"A built-for-speed thrill ride..." —Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429904254
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/7/2006
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 49,465
  • File size: 724 KB

Meet the Author

Joseph Finder

Joseph Finder is the author of several New York Times bestselling thrillers, including Buried Secrets, High Crimes, Paranoia and the first Nick Heller novel, Vanished. Killer Instinct won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Thriller, and Company Man won the Barry and Gumshoe Awards for Best Thriller. High Crimes was the basis of the Morgan Freeman/Ashley Judd movie, and both Paranoia and Killer Instinct are in development as major motion pictures.  Born in Chicago, Finder studied Russian at Yale and Harvard. He was recruited by the CIA, but decided he preferred writing fiction. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Association for Former Intelligence Officers, he lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 27, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Not As Good, as "Killer Instinct" and Not Even Close as " Paranoia", But still a Great Read.

    Not As Good, as "Killer Instinct" and Not Even Close as " Paranoia", But still a Great Read. This is the fourth book I read by Joseph Finder, and as usual his research in what subject or company type he chooses to write is magnificent. In Finder's " Company Man" Stratton Corporation's CEO Nick Conover is caught in a tangled web of conspiracy from within his own company. Stratton Corporation is a company struggling to survive in this economy after having laid off thousands of employees in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Not to mention the possibility of more people losing their jobs as the company plans in cutting costs. Finder succeeds again in creating characters, and developing their roles as the story unfolds. I wasn't sure with Conover's character, but at the end I think his character was what finder intended to be. Unlike previous books, the main character was a father, with a lot to lose. My belief is that Finder had to write his character taking into account his role, age, and morals. I also liked Audrey Rhimes, I thought there was more opportunity in developing her character, but it was great to read the struggles of her being a detective, and a great ending in her personal agenda of righting the wrongs in society. Company Man will not disappoint, I wonder how different this thriller would have been, if the author would have decided to make it a hundred pages shorter. As the previous books, all themes are justified, and Finders does wonders in writing about companies, and describing how they operate, and the role of his characters, and how they fit in the story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2007

    A reviewer

    Joseph Finder's Company Man is solidly rooted in traditions of story-telling and fiction, and, as T.S. Eliot postulated in Tradition And The Individual Talent that a novel should, it extends and adds substance to such traditions. One of those is the genre of theater of the absurd, or meaninglessness, popularized by Edward Albee. As in Albee's Zoo Story, many of the characters with whom we initially identify approvingly turn out to be tainted with conflicts of interest, dirty with ulterior motives the politically correct exception is an African-American female homicide detective with sincere religious convictions. She is the true heroine, not the appealing but quietly deranged daughter (an uncanny precursor of the mad Korean student at Virginia Tech) of a mistakenly slaughtered man who had been one of the victims of a massive downsizing by a company presided over by the protagonist. The delight lies in the arch comments, wry remarks, and amusing allusions that pepper the narrative. One example especially stands out, and is reminiscent of Walter Matthau's impersonation of a priest in the film 'Buddy Buddy': when asked to administer last rites to a dying man, the actor mumbles all the Latin phrases he can muster, including 'habeas corpus' and 'flagrante delicto.' Here is the humorous dialogue between a father and his precocious nine year-old son: 'Dad, it's not supposed to be good for you to eat barbecued meats. ... Do you know that barbecuing at high heat can create polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known to be mutagens?' 'Now that's where you're wrong, son. ... They used to think that aromatic hydrocarbons were bad. Now they know that they're the best thing for you. What do they teach you in school, anyway?' ... 'Don't say I didn't warn you if you get cancer later in life.' 'I'll be dead by then, son.' 'But Dad....' 'Okay, kid, here's your burger. ... Go fetch yourself a bun and some ketchup, okay? So instead of cancer, you'll get salmonella and e. coli bacteria. Mad cow too, if you're really lucky.' ... 'But I thought e. coli naturally colonizes the human intestine.' ... 'You don't stop, do you? Go play in traffic.'

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2006

    (2 1/2 Stars) 554 Painful Pages!!!

    I have to admit that Joseph Finder has been one of the most intriguing authors that I have ever come across with. He really had my undivided attention after I read his hit bestseller 'Paranoia.' When I first started reading about 'Company Man,' I was convinced that this would be the book that would surpass 'Paranoia.' Only by reading it I was later convinced that I was robbed of my $7.99. The book introduces the reader to Nick Conover, the CEO of a major corporation and a loyal hometown boy. But when he's forced to layoff half of his employees, in only a matter of time does Nick realize that his life has begun to spiral out of control. While he gets involved in a murder, Audrey Rhimes, a black female police detective, has the moral willpower to link Nick to the murder. 'Company Man' has its pros and cons. Pros: (1.) The story has an intriguing plot about two people that we emotionally root for, although only one of them can win. The Cons: (1.) 'Company Man' was long (554 pages) so long that I began forgetting about the events that took place. Although it began at a fast pace, it all of a sudden slowed down when the book reached its end. (2.)Theook contained a bunch of painstaking detail. In contrast to 'Paranoia' it seemed as if I was reading a different author. In addition, the dialogue exchanged between the characters was very cheesy. (3.) I personally feel that Finder did not poke with my emotions as well as he did in 'Paranoia.' Its rather disappointing to see Finder create a phenomenal idea and turn it into 554 pages of pure junk. Unless you're sitting at home with nothing to do, don't waste your time reading 'Company Man.' It's a real let-down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2007

    Good Story Slightly Too Long

    This was a very good thriller had unexpected twists and turns and excellent character development. It was about a hundred pages too long though.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2006

    A waste of time...

    I found the descriptions of the characters dull and uninteresting. The plot took predictable turns and I found myself despirately waiting for something exciting to happen. This book was a waste of time and I would not recommend it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2005

    Watch out John Grisham!

    Nicholas 'Nick' Conover is the CEO of the Stratton Corporation. It is the well known name for 'Made in the USA' office furniture. It is the largest employer in Portland. While the company ran smoothly, Nick was the most admired man in town. However, Nick became the most hated man when Boston forced him to lay off thousands. Everybody in town had at least one close relative that Nick had laid off. Everywhere he went, the locals made sure to remind him of their hatred. ........................... When a stalker begins breaking into his home and vandalizing, the local police take their time in showing up. The police do not even pretend to collect evidence or care. Nick is a single father with two kids. So when the stalker becomes violent, Nick has some top grade security devices installed. Needless-to-say, when the alarms go off, Nick protects his family. After all, the police would not show up until it was WAY too late. Though it was self-defense, Nick knows the cops would enjoy slapping a murder label on him and hauling him off to prison. Therefore, Nick calls Eddie Rinaldi, Stratton's corporate security director, and ex-cop, who had installed Nick's home security devices. Eddie makes it all disappear. ......................... At work, Nick realizes that he is not being informed about major company decisions. Nick and Eddie quietly investigate and begins to uncover a conspiracy against Nick that involves some of his closest colleagues. Nothing is making sense and everyone is lying to him. .......................... Enter Homicide Detective Audrey 'Aud' Rhimes. She has been paired with the loathsome and slovenly Roy Bugbee to investigate a body found in a dumpster on the wrong side of town. Clues are few, but Audrey keeps coming back to Nick as her main suspect. Her gut instinct insists that Nick knows something and is holding back evidence. When she learns of the previous break-ins and the department's numerous negligences about them, Aud cannot blame Nick for his silence. But she is determined to uncover the truth. ............................ ***** This author is every bit as good as John Grisham. This is a thick novel with unexpected twists throughout most of it. Readers can easily empathize with Nick. I found myself believing that I would have done exactly as Nick did, every step of the way. This novel starts out exciting and ends up with a huge climax. I was unable to put the book down for long and made lame excuses so I could return to Nick's world. Highly recommended! *****

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2005

    Page Turner

    I thought this book was had an interesting premise. It also kept me turning the pages. I like how the plot came together although the characters were a little weak. Over all I recomend this story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2005


    Joseph Finder's books don't simply begin, they blast off powered by crackling dialogue, ingenious plotting, fully developed characters, and skyrocketing suspense. If you thought 'Paranoia' (2004) was good, wait until you read 'Company Man.' Not wasting a beat, Finder opens his sixth novel with Nick Conover, CEO of Stratton Corporation, hearing his secretary tell him that he has to go home - now. Why? 'It's the police there's a problem.' 'Problem' is a bit of an understatement as Conover arrives at his gated community mansion to find his 10-year-old daughter, Julia, screaming. Barney, the family pet, has been eviscerated, and his brown, furry body tossed into the backyard pool. This isn't the first invasion of their home - just the worst to date. Once a very popular man, Conover is now a pariah because he acceded to the wishes of the investment group that had bought Stratton and laid off half of the company's workers. This amounted to some 10,000 who were rendered jobless. In a community the size of Fenwick, Michigan, everyone was affected by the layoff, be it wife, brother, cousin or friend. Now referred to as 'the slasher, Conover is most often either greeted with cold stares or outright hostility by the townspeople. Someone, assumed to be a former employee, has been breaking into his house to leave graffiti on the walls. Add that to the fact that Conover's wife died just year ago in an automobile accident and, while Julia seems to be working through her grief, Lucas, his 16-year-old son has become a time bomb, dabbling in drugs, failing at school. In an effort to protect his home and children, Conover calls on Eddie Rinaldi, the company's chief of security, to install a state of the art security system. Eddie, a former high school classmate, leaves more than a security system - he also leaves a gun, suggesting that Conover might need it. A wife's death and the emotional toll that has taken on his children plus ostracism by former friends would be enough for any man to handle, but there's more on Conover's plate. Scott McNally, who heads Stratton's corporate finance, is preparing to undercut Conover with the help of a particularly unlikable me-first character, Todd Muldaur, who has the ear of the head of the investment group that owns Stratton. Finder more than skillfully weaves corporate undercutting with the question of the mysterious intruder at Conover's home. Top level machination and manipulation become fascinating in the hands of this author. What's a thriller without a dead body? There is one discovered in a dumpster. The case falls to one of the most affecting police officers to appear in print, Audrey Rhimes, Think a Lena Horner/Halle Berry look-alike equipped with sharp investigative instincts plus a deep religious belief. 'She was not just the only African-American member of the Fenwick Major case unit but the only woman - the real difficulty, it turned out.' Dare you to try to put 'Company Man' down once you read the opening pages. Joseph Finder is a rarity - just when you think he couldn't possibly get any better, he does. My bet is this is headed for the big screen, and the ticket lines will be long ones. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2005

    The Thrill-Master Does It Again!

    There are many different types of tension. In his latest thriller, COMPANY MAN, author Joseph Finder redefines the genre and takes tension to a wholly thrilling new level. Morally-conflicted Nick Conover¿a small fish in a big corporate pond¿finds out that his carefully constructed life is beginning to show dangerous cracks. Guilt over the brutal death of his wife in an auto accident haunts him. As CEO of Stratton Corporation, he is forced to lay off half the workforce¿most of the residents of the town he lives in, earning him the dubious nickname ¿Nick the Slasher¿¿shaming him. When someone repeatedly breaks in to his expensive, gated-community home to spray paint ¿Nowhere to hide¿ on the walls, he fears for his teenage son and his daughter¿s lives. Nick is certain, thanks to his Security Director, that the person terrorizing his family is a mentally ill former employee of Stratton. It¿s when Nick shoots and kills the deranged man that his life takes on a nightmarish hue and everything he thought he knew is wrong. Who can he trust? Who are his friends? Finder takes the premise he introduced us to in ¿PARANOIA¿ and notches up the thrills until turning the page becomes a nearly unbearable delight! Delving deep into the backstabbing and subterfuge inherent in corporate America, and giving us a character in Nick with whom we aren¿t sure we like at first, but who we come to root for by the final chapters, is the sign of a highly skilled writer. And Finder has proven that he is the master at it time and again. There are no other writers who can do what Finder can do¿make me stay up all night reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2012

    Looking for award winning mysteries for my mystery book group, I

    Looking for award winning mysteries for my mystery book group, I found this 2006 multiple award winner, COMPANY MAN by Joseph Finder.  What an exciting rewarding find!!  This multi-layered mystery is full of engaging characters who come masterfully to life in Finder's descriptive writing.

    Though this was a 2006 mystery, the story line is very 'today'.  Nick Conover is the CEO of a large office furniture company based in Michigan.  The downturn in the economy has resulted in Conover laying off 5000 employees.  In their small town, this results in just about every family in town bringing effected in one way or another.  Conover has become 'The Slasher' to a town who once loved him.

    Threats against Conover and his family result in an early morning 'attack' by a mentally disturbed, former employee, who Conover then shoots and kills.  His 'shady' security officer, moves the body to a drug infested area of town.  And the story takes off from there.

    Then that mystery is combined with the lives of members of the police force, especially by the only black woman who is fighting her own battles with gaining respect, and has problems at home with her 'laid off' husband. She is a terrific character who's Christian faith drives her actions against many odds.

    Then there is the internal workings of the furniture company which seems to be coming unraveled under Nick's nose.  Between the companies misdealings, and Nick's driving guilt over murdering a man,  he meets, Cassie, the murdered man's daughter.  Their growing love interest further complicates matters!

    Finder expertly combines all the story lines with his beautifully well rounded characters, and devises an 'out of the headlines' mystery that kept me engrossed right through to the surprise ending!!  I definitely agree with those who awarded the book an Award Winning Mystery!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2005

    Great Novel!

    I am not going to recap the plot because you can find that in other reviews on this site. What I want to say is that this book is an exceptional ride that keeps you riveted from page 1 through page 516. Great characterzations, intensity, and just a plain joy to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2005

    Evil vs. Humanity

    Joseph Finder makes you follow his characters through to the end and admit surprise at that time. He illustrates all the truly bad characteristics possible in the business world and then tweaks them for his own use. The hero, Nick Conover, is a guy you root for, but somehow know he is off his game, until he begins to accept his life and his responsibilities. Showing the reader how great loss can make you less than you really are, Finder keeps you waiting for the shoe to drop...then bingo it does. One thing of note about this writer is that he always sees another way to go for the bad that has transpired and the evil things that occurred. He is not clearly and strictly black and white, he shows you a pleasantly acceptable shade of gray.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2005

    The Best Thriller of 2005

    I read the advance of this book in one sitting. The characters were well-drawn and the plot went like gangbusters for the full 500 pages. This is a great book for the beach, to kill time in the airport, or just to check if your heart is still working. This has to be the best thriller of the year...bravo, Mr. Finder!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A gripping thriller

    In Fenwick, Michigan, Fairfield Equity has taken over Stratton Corporation. The new owners order Stratton CEO Nick Conover to lay off 5000 employees, which makes the local resident the most detested person in the area; his nickname the Slasher'. On top of his pressure at work, Nick struggles with the recent accidental death of his wife Laura and raising two children alone......................... However, someone is stalking Nick and his children, entering his home, and recently upped the ante by brutally killing his family dog. His friend, Stratton security chief, Eddie Rinaldi, installs a burglar alarm that leads to Nick killing an intruder. Eddie convinces a reluctant Nick to hide the corpse. Meanwhile Detective Audrey Rhimes investigates the homicide and its links to Nick, who is already unglued with his neighbors¿ feelings, his wife¿s death, his distraught children, and now a murder. Worse he does not trust Fairfield to destroy him as culpable fodder for the masses.................. This is a terrific thriller that focuses on the gimmicks and misdeeds of the modern day corporation as much as it does on a police investigation. The story line is action-packed, but insures the audience understands how much Nick¿s world is collapsing. Although why Nick would hide the body when he was in the right seems stretched for a sensible albeit beleaguered guy, fans will want to find out what happens to this COMPANY MAN under siege from family, friends, cops, and employers................ Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2005

    Nowhere to hide.

    Nick Conover is a man whose life is about to take a nosedive in Company Man, Joseph Finder¿s latest and, perhaps, best novel. Nick has already endured the loss of his beloved wife, Laura, in a car accident. He is uneasy being a single parent to his sixteen-year-old son and his ten-year-old daughter. As the CEO of Stratton Industries, a manufacturer of high-end office furniture, he has overseen the layoffs of thousands of workers. Many people who live in his small Michigan town hate Conover for failing to save these people¿s jobs. Conover lives with his kids in a gated mansion, but the security surrounding his home fails to prevent a series of break-ins, one of which results in the evisceration of their dog, Barney. Nick is terrified that he will be unable to protect himself and his children from the vicious and potentially lethal enemy who is threatening them. Soon tragedy strikes, and Nick is up to his ears in personal and professional problems. His company in danger from backstabbing corporate executives, and his efforts to keep his family safe may land him in trouble with the police. One of the few bright spots in Nick¿s life is a new relationship that he has formed with a lovely woman named Cassie. She supports him emotionally and has a magical way of communicating with Nick¿s children. Finder develops his large cast of characters with skill and they are all well integrated into the complex story. The protagonist, Nick Conover, is a concerned and caring parent, but he has never resolved his guilt feelings about his late wife¿s death. He is unable to communicate with his son, Lucas, who is showing signs of becoming an emotional train wreck. Another notable character is Audrey Rimes, an African-American detective with the Major Case Team. She is a sharp and dogged investigator whose marriage has deteriorated since her husband lost his job at Stratton Industries. She has had to endure the pranks and slurs of racist and chauvinistic colleagues who insult her on the job. However, Audrey is a church-going woman whose faith has kept her strong over the years, and she will not give up her marriage or her professional ambitions without a fight. When Audrey suspects that Nick may be involved in the murder of an emotionally disturbed man who was laid off by Nick¿s company, she pursues him relentlessly. Company Man features realistic dialogue, an involving and fast-paced story with nitty-gritty details about police procedure, and an exciting, surprising, and nail-biting finale. In addition, Finder skillfully handles such themes as the tug-of-war between job and family responsibilities, and the importance of following the dictates of one¿s conscience. This book is more than just a paint-by-numbers thriller. It is an entertaining, carefully crafted, and thoroughly satisfying novel, and I recommend it highly.

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    Posted September 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted June 17, 2011

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    Posted October 8, 2012

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    Posted August 19, 2011

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    Posted November 29, 2011

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