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Evil, Inc.
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Evil, Inc.

3.6 17
by Glenn Kaplan

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Ken Olson thought he had it all -- a loving wife, a beautiful baby, and a career on the fast track. But soon after his big promotion, his whole world is shattered by a monstrous crime. A crime committed by the CEO of his own company. A crime his company will cover up at any cost.

Stripped of everything but his passion to bring the CEO to justice, Olson uncovers


Ken Olson thought he had it all -- a loving wife, a beautiful baby, and a career on the fast track. But soon after his big promotion, his whole world is shattered by a monstrous crime. A crime committed by the CEO of his own company. A crime his company will cover up at any cost.

Stripped of everything but his passion to bring the CEO to justice, Olson uncovers the dark and dangerous world behind the corporate jets and executive mansions -- the private armies of mercenary killers who do the corporation's dirtiest work under the guise of "plausible deniability," the offshore banking havens with their clandestine black-hole accounts, and the relentless greed of the lucky few at the top.

Olson's struggle pits him against a host of deadly rivals -- the most brutal killer in the international private military underworld, the network anchorwoman with a beautiful face and not a hint of conscience, the aristocrat who pulls the strings of power and never dirties his hands, the hot young actress who makes sex a tool of deception, and, of course, his own chief executive, a bloodthirsty psychopath who has hijacked the corner office.

Set against the backdrop of today's business world, where mega-mergers slash thousands of jobs and yield million-dollar executive payouts, Evil, Inc. is a thrilling, ticking time bomb of a story -- a tale of one man's fight against the vicious, backstabbing politics of the corporation, where ruthless power mongers rule and human life counts for nothing against the bottom line.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Kaplan's reading of his own thriller offers listeners a mixed bag. He's not especially good at creating believable voices for his women characters and his children's voices are even worse. But Kaplan, who has spent two decades as a creative director at various ad agencies supporting many Fortune 500 companies, has obviously poured everything he learned into creating the hopeful voice and disposition of his protagonist, Ken Olson. Kaplan shines as Olson, who has just become divisional director of an Ohio-based plastics manufacturing company. He creates equally vivid and credible villains: a nasty trio including the company's CEO, vice president and a board member-all of whom want to see Olson fail and/or die. Kaplan's knowing thriller makes a good choice for a long business flight. Simultaneous release with the Forge hardcover (Reviews, June 4). (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A rising exec intent on clawing his way to the top finds that the claws of his competitors and apparent allies are sharper than his in this high-fatality, low-suspense thriller. Ken Olson, a "tall, thin 34-year-old executive with blond hair and pale blue eyes," is on the fast track. Despite repeated pleas from his loving wife, Sandy, to move to a smaller company than Ayvil Plastics, he's determined to impress the new hatchet man, Executive Vice President Tom Pennington, during their tete-a-tete on the way from the airport. It all works better than Ken could have dreamed. Pennington instantly accepts Ken's plan to cut costs instead of closing the plant and names Ken Division Director. But sharks are already circling Pennington himself. Ayvil CEO Arch Paulson, furious that he isn't shutting down Ayvil Plastics, is hatching plots to discredit him with all the fire-breathing gusto of a Shakespearean baddie, and soon a breathtaking act of industrial sabotage claims a thousand lives at the plant. Ken, a broken man, is turned into an avenger by a further backstabbing coup de grace. Joining forces with Sandra's brother, industrial-security expert Phil Lambert, he resolves to go after the men who ruined him. That's a tall order because (1) there are lots of them, (2) they're fabulously wealthy, powerful, manipulative and unscrupulous, (3) they're not necessarily the guys Ken thinks they are (though few readers will be so guileless). Kaplan (All for Money, 1993) keeps the pot boiling vigorously, provides low-key guidance to the Machiavellian plots and counterplots hatching in half a dozen executive suites, and confirms every dastardly stereotype his enormous target audience has about big business:"Mass firing? Mass murder? It's such a short step."On the downside, there's little mystery, less danger to the hero and a clunky prose style that makes Joseph Finder, who owns this territory, sound like Proust.
From the Publisher

“Glenn Kaplan's Evil, Inc. does what the best thrillers do--it's half a step ahead of tomorrow's headlines.” —James Patterson

“A shock-wave thriller, Evil, Inc. is a roaring, paranoid delight about the real killers in the boardroom.” —Janet Evanovich

“Kaplan takes kill-or-be-killed business ideologies to psychopathic new levels in this deftly plotted corporate thriller…It's Donald Trump meets Hannibal Lecter, with highly engaging results.” —Publishers Weekly on Evil, Inc.

Evil, Inc. is a terrific, irresistible read. Don't start it if you have something to do the next day.” —Steven Brill, author of After and founder of Court TV and The American Lawyer

“Suspenseful, sexy, and as swift-moving as a wire transfer sweeping a million bucks around the globe in an instant. Don't miss it.” —William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Constitution on Evil, Inc.

“A gripping tale of battle for corporate control fought not with tender offers or proxies, but with murder and sabotage. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.” —Martin Lipton, founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz on Evil, Inc.

“A fine thriller ripped out of today's Enron-like headlines. When I finished Evil, Inc., I had a sense that I'd really learned something about corporate America and the men and women who run the show.” —David Hagberg, USA Today bestselling author of Dance With the Dragon

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The crash sounded like a small bomb going off in the kitchen.

"Shit!" said Sandra Olson, watching the puddle of orange juice grow beneath the spout of the sippy cup.

"Sit! Sit! Sit!" little Sara cried with delight as she pounded the tray of her high chair.

Ken Olson looked up from his coffee and The Wall Street Journal as his wife and child engaged in that daily ritual of mortal combat called breakfast. "Sandy, are you trying to instill all your bad habits in our daughter before she turns three?"

Sandy knelt down with a paper towel to clean up the mess. With her other hand she picked up the sippy cup, licked the spout as if to remove the germs it acquired on the floor, and handed it back to Sara. "I think for now, we're okay. You can't tell what she's saying because her elocution sucks."

"Sucks! Sucks! Sucks!" the two-year-old sang out.

Sandy winced and silenced little Sara with a spoonful of cereal. "Ken," she said quietly, "I have a confession to make."

"I've got to be at the airport at eight," Ken said as he gulped down the last of his coffee. The tall, thin thirty-four-year-old executive with blond hair and pale blue eyes was focused on making his getaway. "Pennington wants me to pick him up at the company jet. Me. Just me. After months of sitting in crowded conference rooms trying to make an impression on this guy, I've finally got time alone with him. I've been working on this town meeting of his for two weeks, and today is the big—"

"Kennnn!" Sandy insisted as she pushed her dark shoulder-length hair off her forehead and flashed her big brown eyes. "You're not listening to me." Even barefoot in old sweats, wearing no makeup and half her baby's breakfast, she had the power to stop him dead in his tracks. She cocked her pretty oval face to one side and stood up straight, making her short buxom body as tall as she could, her hands resting defiantly on her full round hips. A pose that just dared him to ignore her. "I said I have a confession to make."

Ken froze in place. "Okay, Sandy," he pleaded, and raised his watch arm in the air, "please make it fast."

"I don't know why you're in such a hurry to go pick up the bastard who's coming to fire everybody's ass."

"Listen," he said, exasperated, "I know for a fact that he's interested in my turnaround plan. He made that clear at the last meeting of the Leadership Circle. And besides, I hardly think he'd be videotaping himself and all the employees at the town meeting if he were going to announce that everyone's getting laid off."

She gave him the big brown eyes again, full blast. "Ken, I've been job-hunting for you on the Internet." He started inching toward the door. "I sent your resume to a bunch of headhunters. Made a pretty impressive presentation of your career."

Ken stopped in mid-slink. "You did what?"

"I'm trying to get you a new job."

Ken fought a wave of anger. "Jesus, Sandy! You can't just send my resume around. You have no right. If word got out, do you know what that could do to my career? We get graded on commitment! How do you think I've gotten a promotion every year? And made it to the Leadership Circle and got Tom Pennington to notice me and read my reports? I'm really starting to make some headway. Don't you get it?"

"What about your commitment to our life?" Sandy demanded. "What about our freakin' life?"

"What's wrong with our life?" Ken gestured at the well-appointed kitchen of their three-thousand-square-foot mini-McMansion on the quarter-acre lot in the new subdivision of Beaver Creek Estates, in Beaver Creek, Ohio, just outside Dayton. "My parents never even dreamed of living in a house this nice. It's bigger than our last house, and it's got a new designer kitchen."

"What's wrong?" Sandy asked. "What's wrong? That company moves you to a new job every time you turn around. This is what? Our fifth house in six years? We've got boxes in the living room we haven't unpacked from the last move. I should have my teaching certificate already, but we've never stayed anywhere long enough. So instead, I'm, I'm, I'm assistant head of the goddamn company day care center. We're such nomads; even I have no choice but to work for that company, too. It's like growing up in the army with my father all over again." With her free hand, she gave an exaggerated salute.

"That's not fair," Ken said. "We are not your father and mother. For one thing, I don't drink. Two, you are not clinically depressed. And three, I don't think we're headed for a divorce. Or is there something I don't know about?"

Sandy took a deep breath. "I don't give a flying you-know-what about the countertops. And FYI, our glorious new designer dishwasher is on the fritz. Ken, I want us to have a real life somewhere, with real roots, and real friends, and a real community."

Sara started fussing. Sandy stuck a spoonful of cereal in her daughter's mouth.

"Sandy," Ken said quietly as he reached for the door, "everybody moves around a lot these days. That's just the way it is. The people in the company, they're our community."

"You call those corporate robots people?"

Ken replied quietly through clenched teeth, "Sandy, I don't have time for this right now."

"Ken," Sandy said through equally clenched teeth, "wake up. They're going to shut down your freakin' plant and close your division, and all we're gonna get is a crummy severance package and then it's going to be twice as hard to find a new job. So I started looking for you now."

"Sandy," he said, "I really have to go. This could be a very big day in my career."

"Listen, I hear company gossip, too. You think the other mothers who come to the day care center just sing Barney songs? I promise you, that company is going to screw us all."

Ken stood in the open doorway, one foot tapping nervously. "I really have to go now. Will I see you at the town meeting?"

"I don't think so. That's not exactly a great field trip for twenty kids under the age of four." Ken turned to leave. "Ken, wait a minute, I want to finish our discussion."

"Sandy, I have to go to the airport."

Sara started crying. Sandy picked up the child to quiet her, bouncing the baby girl on her hip. "Ken, I just want to protect us."

"What do you think I'm trying to do?" Ken said over his shoulder.

"I still love you!" she shouted at the closing door. "Even if sometimes you are an asshole."

"Ath-hole!" Sara blurted happily, spraying a mouthful of cereal onto her mother.

Copyright © 2007 by Glenn Kaplan. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

GLENN KAPLAN is the author of two previous books set in the world of big business: The Big Time, a nonfiction look at how success really works, and All For Money, a novel. He is a creative director in New York City, where he lives with his wife and son.

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Evil, Inc. 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
loririlling More than 1 year ago
I read the back of this book and thought why not. I read it in one evening. I could not put it down. Very compelling story line. Anyone who likes thrillers and mysteries and drama mixed in-- this is a good one. All the members of my family read it and liked it also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Who doesn't enjoy a story about the little guy battling the rich and powerful for justice? In this case, it's Ken Olsen, whose wife and child have been killed in a plant explosion orchestrated by a psycho CEO. And of course Ken gets blamed and disgraced for it. Time for payback! No problem with me if author Glenn Kaplan had an agenda - so did Charles Dickens, who was equally concerned about socioeconomic conditions in his time. Not that the author's breezy style quite compares with the elegance of Dickens, but hey, he's making a point about corporate bad guys, who according to the news we read, certainly seem to be around.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are those who say this book was boring and un-interesting. Believe me, this book is AWESOME. The book is fast paced 'more in the beginning and towards the end', chilling and up-to-date. The book is not for you to take seriously 'Pray to God Not' but gives you an entertaining 'and somewhat realistic' feel for how the corporate world works and operates, How the CEOs' get to where they are, and one man's determination to get Justice....or is it Revenge? If you work in a company like I do, this is one book that you will not be able to put down. The characters are very good and realistic 'even the foreign characters you probably won't even remember are a bit entertaining'. I'll admit some chapters kind of fast track the story a bit, but in no way does it take away the excitement. Can't think of a reason why anybody would not enjoy this. Most of those who gave it a disappointing review, probably did not like some of the characters and who came up on top 'Having an open mind is often good'. Kaplan did a very good job with this and made atleast a couple of my desk days worth getting up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not believe this was Kaplan's first foray into fiction. The prose was so sharp and the characters so vivid and compelling. The book never lets up. Definitely looking to more spectacular storytelling from this major creative force.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just finished Evil, Inc. and was blown away. Kaplan has taken a different angle from anything I've read before, and develops it to great effect. Very suspenseful, creepily believable, really fun. A perfect summer read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I slogged through 100 pages of this drivel before tossing the book aside, something I don't usually do. I am accustomed to reading well-written fiction and literature with fully-developed characters but allowed myself to try a summer 'thriller.' Big mistake.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book thinking it would be a great page-turner. It turned out to be nothing more than a thinly veiled contempt for capitalism. Kaplan believes corporations are evil monsters out to get 'the little guy'. If you share his contempt for capitalism and big-business, by all means, read this book. Otherwise, go with something else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello im brad and im 12 years old and i read the review about you ditching a person and that yiu never talked to him for 2 days. Are you going to do the same for me to? If you are then i dont want to be friends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being an avid listener to audio books, I usually find that the reader can bring magic to a book. A poor reader ruins the book. I find that with Evil Inc, the author should not have tried to read his own book. This would have probably been a book to read and perhaps it would have been better. The author/reader sounds like he is doing afternoon story time to preschool kids. I do not think I can continue, as the reader is very annoying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Try the classics Stout Queen Lathem MacLeod Marsh without potty mouth grafic violence and sex. Can you read this book aloud to a mixed age group? Mom
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am on the fence as whether or not to buy this. I have heard positive and negative reviews. Is this book appropriate for a 12 year old son/daughter? Thank you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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