The New York Times
Company Manby Joseph Finder, Scott Brick
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… See more details below
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.
The New York Times
"A thriller like this rides on its characters, and Finder creates full-blooded ones here. As in Paranoia, his understanding of byzantine corporate politics is spot on, and the novel's pacing is strong, with steady suspense." - Publishers Weekly
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By Joseph Finder
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2005 Joseph Finder
All right reserved.
Chapter OneNick backed his Chevy Suburban out of his space too fast, not bothering to check whether anyone was behind him, and careened through the parking lot that encircled the headquarters building. Even at the height of the workday, it stood half-empty as it had for the last two years, since the layoffs. Gallows humor abounded among the employees these days, Nick knew. The upside of losing half the workforce was, you could always find a parking space.
His nerves felt stretched taught. Acres of empty black asphalt, surrounded by a great black field of charred buffalo grass, the remains of a prescribed fire. Buffalo grass never needed mowing, but every few years it had to be burned to the ground. The air smelled like a Weber grill.
Black against black against the black of the road, a desolate landscape. He wondered whether driving by the vast swath of scorched earth everyday, staring at the charred field through the office windows, left a dark carbon smudge on your psyche.
You need to go home. Now.
When you have kids, they're the first thing you think of. Even a guy like Nick, hardly a worrywart, you get a call from the cops and your imagination takes flight in a bad direction.
But both kids were all right, the cops had assured Marjorie. Julia was on her way back from school, and Lucas - well, Lucas had been in classes today and was doing whatever the hell he did after school these days, which was another issue entirely.
That wasn't it.
Yes, it was another break-in, they'd said, but this time he really needed to come by. What the hell could that mean?
Over the past year or so, Nick had gotten used to the periodic calls from the alarm company or the police. The burglar alarm would go off in the middle of the day. There'd been a break-in. The alarm company would verify that the alarm was genuine by calling home or Nick's office and requesting a code. If no authorized user said it was a false alarm, the company would immediately dispatch the Fenwick police. A couple of cops would then drive by the house, check it out.
Inevitably it happened when no one was there - the crew working on the kitchen were taking one of their frequent days off; the kids were at school; the housekeeper, Marta, was out shopping or maybe picking up Julia.
Nothing was ever stolen. The intruder would force a window or one of the French doors, get inside, and leave a little message.
Literally, a message: words spray-painted in Day-Glo orange, all capital letters formed with the precision of an architect or mechanical engineer: NO HIDING PLACE.
Three words, one on top of another.
Was there any doubt it was a deranged laid-off employee? The graffiti defaced the walls of the living room, the dining room they never used, the freshly plastered walls of the kitchen. In the beginning it had scared the shit out of him.
The real message, of course, was that they weren't safe. They could be gotten to.
The first graffiti had appeared on the heavy, ornate ash wood front door, which Laura had deliberated over for weeks with the architect, a door that had cost a ridiculous three thousand dollars, a fucking door for God's sake. Nick had made his feelings known but hadn't objected, because it was obviously important to her, for some reason. He'd been perfectly content with the flimsy paneled front door that came with the house they'd just bought. He didn't want to change anything about the house except maybe to shrink it to half its size. There was a saying that was popular at Stratton, which old man Devries was fond of repeating: the whale that spouts gets the harpoon. Sometimes he thought about having one of those bronze-looking estate wall plaques made for him by Frontgate, the kind you see on stone entrance pillars in front of McMansions, saying in raised copper letters, SPOUTING WHALE HOUSE.
But to Laura, the front door was symbolic: it was where you welcomed friends and family, and it was where you kept out those who weren't welcome. So it had to be both beautiful and substantial. "It's the front door, Nick," she'd insisted. "The first thing people see. That's the one place you don't cheap out."
Maybe, on some level, she thought a three-inch-thick front door would make them safer. Buying this insanely big house in the Fenwicke Estates: that was her idea too. She wanted the safety of the gated community. It took only a couple of anonymous threatening phone calls, as soon as the layoffs were announced.
"If you're a target, we're all targets," she said. There was a lot of anger out there, directed at him. He wasn't going to argue with her. He had a family to protect.
Now, with her gone, it felt as if he'd absorbed her neurosis, as if it had penetrated his bones. He felt, sometimes, that his family, what remained of it, was as fragile as an egg.
He also knew that the security of their gated community was little more than an illusion. It was a show, an elaborate charade, the fancy gatehouse and the guards, the private security, the high black iron fence with the spearhead finials.
The Suburban screeched to a stop before the ornately scrolled cast-iron gate beside the brick gatehouse built to resemble a miniature castle. A brass plaque on one of the piers said FENWICKE ESTATES.
That little 'e' at the end of Fenwick - he'd always found it pretentious to the point of being irritating. Plus, he was so over the irony here, this posh enclosed neighborhood equipped with the priciest security you could get - the tall wrought-iron perimeter fence with the fiber-optic sensing cable concealed inside the top rail, the pan-tilt-zoom CCTV surveillance cameras, the motion-sensor intruder alarms - where you couldn't stop the loonies from scrambling in through the dense surrounding woods and climbing over the fence.
"Another break-in, Mr. Conover," said Jorge, the day guard. Nice guy, couldn't be nicer. The security guards were all professional in demeanor, all wore sharp uniforms.
Nick nodded grimly, waited for the motor-driven gate to open, ridiculously slow. The high-pitched electronic warning beep was annoying. Everything beeped these days: trucks backing up, dishwashers and clothes dryers, microwaves. It really could drive you crazy.
"Police are there now, you know," said Jorge. "Three cruisers, sir."
"Any idea what it is?"
"No, sir, I don't, I'm sorry."
The damned gate took forever to open. It was ridiculous. In the evening sometimes there was a line of cars waiting to get in. Something had to be done about it. For Christ's sake, what if his house caught fire - would the fire department trucks have to sit here while his house turned to toast?
He raced the engine in annoyance. Jorge shrugged a sheepish apology.
The second the gate was open far enough for the car to get through, he gunned it -the Suburban's pickup never ceased to amaze him - and barreled over the tiger-teeth tire-shredders that enforced one-way traffic, across the wide circular court paved in antique brick in a geometric pattern by old-world Italian stonemasons shipped over from Sicily, past the SPEED LIMIT 20 sign at twice that at least.
The brick pavement turned into glass-smooth macadam road, no street sign. He raced past the old-growth elms and firs, the mailboxes the size of doghouses, none of the houses visible. You had to be invited over to see what your neighbor's house looked like. And there sure as hell weren't any block parties here in Fenwicke Estates.
When he saw police squad cars parked on the street and at the entrance to his driveway, he felt something small and cold and hard forming at the base of his stomach, a little icicle of fear.
A uniformed policeman halted him a few hundred feet from the house, halfway up the drive. Nick jumped out and slammed the car door in one smooth, swift motion.
The cop was short and squat, powerful-looking, seemed to be perspiring heavily despite the cool weather. His badge said MANZI. A walkie-talkie hitched to his belt squawked unceasingly.
"You Mr. Conover?" He stood directly in front of Nick's path, blocking his way. Nick felt a flash of annoyance. My house, my driveway, my burglar alarm: get the fuck out of my way.
"Yeah, that's me, what's going on?" Nick tried to keep the irritation, and the anxiety, out of his voice.
"Ask you some questions?" Dappled sunlight filtered through the tall birches that lined the asphalt lane, played on the cop's inscrutable face.
Nick shrugged. "Sure - what is it, the graffiti again?"
"What time did you leave the house this morning, sir?"
"Around seven-thirty, but the kids are normally out of there by eight, eight-fifteen at the latest."
"What about your wife?"
Nick gazed at the cop steadily. Most of the cops had to know who he was at least. He wondered if this guy was just trying to yank his chain. "I'm a single parent."
A pause. "Nice house."
"Thank you." Nick could sense the resentment, the envy rising off the man like swamp gas. "What happened?"
"House is okay, sir. It's brand-new, looks like. Not even finished yet, huh?"
"We're just having some work done," Nick said impatiently.
"I see. The workers, they're here every day?"
"I wish. Not yesterday or today."
"Your alarm company lists a work number for you at the Stratton Corporation," Officer Manzi said. He was looking down at an aluminum clipboard, his black eyes small and deeply inset like raisins in a butterscotch pudding. "You work there."
"What do you do at Stratton?" There was a beat before the policeman looked up and let his eyes meet Nick's: the guy knew damned well what he did there.
"I'm the CEO."
Manzi nodded as if everything now made sense. "I see. You've had a number of break-ins over the last several months, is that correct, Mr. Conover?"
"Five or six times now."
"What kind of security system you have here, sir?"
"Burglar alarm on the doors and some of the windows and French doors. Basic system. Nothing too elaborate."
"Home like this, that's not much of a system. No cameras, right?"
"Well, we live in this, you know, gated community."
"Yes, sir, I can see that. Lot of good it does, keeping out the wing nuts."
"Point taken." Nick almost smiled.
"Sounds like the burglar alarm isn't on very often, sir, that right?"
"Officer, why so many cars here today for a routine-"
"Mind if I ask the questions?" Officer Manzi said. The guy seemed to be enjoying his authority, pushing around the boss man from Stratton. Let him, Nick thought. Let him have his fun. But-
Nick heard a car approaching, turned and saw the blue Chrysler Town and Country, Marta behind the wheel. He felt that little chemical surge of pleasure he always got when he saw his daughter, the way he used to feel with Lucas too, until that got complicated. The minivan pulled up alongside Nick and the engine was switched off. A car door opened and slammed, and Julia shouted, "What are you doing home, Daddy?"
She ran toward him, wearing a light-blue hooded Stratton sweatshirt and jeans, black sneakers. She wore some slight variant of the outfit every day, a sweatshirt or an athletic jersey. When Nick went to the same elementary school, more than thirty years before, you weren't allowed to wear jeans, and sweatshirts weren't considered appropriate school attire. But he didn't have time in the mornings to argue with her, and he was inclined to go easy on his little girl, given what she had to be going through since the death of her mother.
She hugged him tight around his abdomen. He no longer hoisted her up, since at almost five feet and ninety-something pounds, it wasn't so easy. In the last year she'd gotten tall and leggy, almost gangly, though there was still a pocket of baby fat at her tummy. She was starting to develop physically, little breast buds emerging, which Nick couldn't deal with. It was a constant reminder of his inadequacy as a parent: who the hell was going to talk to her, get her through adolescence?
The hug went on for several seconds until Nick released her, another thing that had changed since Laura was gone. His daughter's hugs: she didn't want to let him go.
Now she looked up at him, her meltingly beautiful brown eyes lively. "How come there's all these police?"
"They want to talk to me, baby doll. No big deal. Where's your backpack?"
"In the car. Did that crazy guy get in the house again and write bad stuff?"
Nick nodded, stroked her glossy brown hair. "What are you doing home now? Don't you have piano?"
She gave him a look of amused contempt. "That's not till four."
"I thought it was three."
"Mrs. Guarini changed it like months ago, don't you remember?"
He shook his head. "Oh, right. I forgot. Well, listen, I have to talk to this policeman here. Marta, you guys stay here until the police say it's okay to go in the house, okay?"
Marta Burrell was from Barbados, a mocha-skinned woman of thirty-eight, tall and slender as a fashion model with an air of sultry indifference, or maybe arrogance, her default mode. Her jeans were a little too tight, and she customarily wore high heels, and she was vocal about her disapproval of Julia's daily uniform. She expressed disapproval of just about everything in the household. She was ferociously devoted to the kids, though, and was able to make both of them do things Nick couldn't. Marta had been a superb nanny when the kids were little, was an excellent cook, and an indifferent housekeeper.
"Sure, Nick," she said. She reached for Julia, but the girl scampered off.
"You were saying," Nick said to the cop.
Manzi looked up, fixed Nick with a blank look, bordering on impertinence, but there was a gleam in his eyes; he seemed to be restraining a smile. "Do you have any enemies, Mr. Conover?"
"Only about five thousand people in town."
The policeman's eyebrows shot up. "Excuse me."
"We laid off half our workforce recently, as I'm sure you know. More than five thousand employees."
"Ah, yes," the cop said. "You're not a popular man around here, are you?"
"You could say that."
It wasn't that long ago, Nick reflected, that everyone loved him. People he didn't know in high school started sucking up to him. Forbes magazine even did a profile. After all, Nick was the youthful blue-collar guy, the son of a guy who'd spent a life bending metal in the chair factory-business reporters ate that stuff up. Maybe Nick was never going to be beloved at the company like Old Man Devries, but for a while at least he'd been popular, admired, liked. A local hero in the small town of Fenwick, Michigan, sort of, a guy you'd point out at the Shop 'n Save and maybe, if you felt bold, walk up to and introduce yourself in the frozen-foods section.
But that was before - before the first layoffs were announced, two years ago, after Stratton's new owners had laid down the law at the quarterly board meeting in Fenwick. There was no choice. The Stratton Corporation was going down the crapper if they didn't cut costs, and fast.
Excerpted from Company Man by Joseph Finder Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Finder. Excerpted by permission.
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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.
This was a very good thriller had unexpected twists and turns and excellent character development. It was about a hundred pages too long though.
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.
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.
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.'
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.
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! *****
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.
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!!
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