Power Play [NOOK Book]


It was the perfect retreat for a troubled company. No cell phones. No BlackBerrys. No cars. Just a luxurious, remote lodge surrounded by thousands of miles of wilderness.

All the top officers of the Hammond Aerospace Corporation are there. And one last-minute substitute -- a junior executive named Jake Landry. He's a steady, modest, and taciturn guy with a gift for keeping ...

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Power Play

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It was the perfect retreat for a troubled company. No cell phones. No BlackBerrys. No cars. Just a luxurious, remote lodge surrounded by thousands of miles of wilderness.

All the top officers of the Hammond Aerospace Corporation are there. And one last-minute substitute -- a junior executive named Jake Landry. He's a steady, modest, and taciturn guy with a gift for keeping his head down and a turbulent past he's trying to put behind him.

Jake's uncomfortable with all the power players he's been thrown in with, with all the swaggering and the posturing. The only person there he knows is the female CEO's assistant--his ex-girlfriend, Ali.

When a band of backwoods hunters crash the opening-night dinner, the executives suddenly find themselves held hostage by armed men who will do anything, to anyone, to get their hands on the largest ransom in history. Now, terrified and desperate and cut off from the rest of the world, the captives are at the mercy of hard men with guns who may not be what they seem.

The corporate big shots hadn't wanted Jake there. But now he's the only one who can save them.

Power Play is a non-stop, pulse-pounding, high-stakes thriller that will hold the reader riveted until the very last page.

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Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
Mr. Finder's strong suit is technical expertise, and he fills this book with seductive bits of inside information…Power Play starts cleverly and later devolves into more conventional suspense tactics. But its premise is enough to send chills through corporate boardrooms, and through civilian readers too.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Finder's newest mixture of business technology and pulp fiction focuses on Jake Landry, the sole Hammond Aerospace junior exec attending a company retreat at a swank hunting lodge. He is alternately shunned or insulted by the obnoxious upper-level corporate types until the lodge is invaded by a band of homicidal hunters, and Landry is forced to fall back on lessons he learned on the wrong side of the tracks. Boutsikaris's low-key, amused delivery of Landry's narration is a vocal tightrope walk that successfully suggests enough intelligence to make his aero-tech talk credible and enough edgy cynicism to suggest a checkered past. His timing also gets the most out of the fast-paced action sequences. But his most helpful contribution to the success of the audio is his ability to find unique voices for the executive cadre. Finder individualizes his villains well enough, but he skimps a bit with the Hammond hierarchy, making it hard for the reader to recall one spoiled and pampered blowhard from another. Boutsikaris uses a variety of timbres and tones to give each true distinction. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's hardcover (Reviews, June 18). (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Finder (Company Man) continues his exploration of the business world with this thriller, set in the aerospace industry. Although he's low on the corporate food chain, Jake Laundry receives an invitation to the annual company retreat far from civilization. With his boss abroad, Jake doesn't have much of a choice. The others at the rustic lodge include the new female CEO, who is despised by most of the company, and Jake's ex-girlfriend, who now works as the CEO's assistant. Before he has a chance to prove that he deserves to be at the lodge as well, their isolated location becomes a source of terror as a group of local hunters take them hostage. Now, instead of bonding with his fellow workers, Jake must help them stay alive. Juggling the dog-eat-dog ethics of corporate life with a tense, scary plot, Finder's nail biter of a read is recommended for all popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ4/15/07.]
—Jeff Ayers

From the Publisher
Praise for Killer Instinct:

"A superb story that dazzles with its heart-pounding suspense."—The Boston Globe

"Wickedly fun!"—Entertainment Weekly

"A first-rate thrill ride, punctuated with the kind of character development most authors shun…"—The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"A masterful blend of contemporary thriller and a character driven plot."—Houston Chronicle

"Guaranteed to be a winning listen."—AudioFile

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429917629
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/21/2007
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 44,087
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.31 (d)
  • File size: 410 KB

Meet the Author

Joseph Finder

JOSEPH FINDER is the author of several previous thrillers, most recently the New York Times bestsellers Paranoia, Company Man and Killer Instinct. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts

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 Paranoia was the basis for 2013 film with Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman. Killer Instinct is also in development as a major motion picture. 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 One

“We got trouble.”

I recognized Zoë’s voice, but I didn’t turn around from my computer. I was too absorbed in a news report on the website AviationNow.com. A competitor’s new plane had crashed a couple of days ago, at the Paris Air Show. I wasn’t there, but my boss was, and so were all the other honchos at my company, so I’d heard all about it. At least no one was killed.

And at least it wasn’t one of ours.

I picked up my big black coffee mug—the hammond skycruiser: the future of flight—and took a sip. The coffee was cold and bitter.

“You hear me, Landry? This is serious.”

I swiveled slowly around in my chair. Zoë Robichaux was my boss’s admin. She had dyed copper hair and a ghostly pallor. She was in her mid-twenties and lived in El Segundo not too far from me, but she did a lot of club-hopping in L.A. at night. If the dress code at Hammond allowed, I suspected she’d have worn studded black leather every day, black fingernail polish, probably gotten everything pierced. Even parts of the body you don’t want to think about getting pierced. Then again, maybe she already did. I didn’t want to know.

“Does this mean you didn’t get me a bagel?” I said.

“I was on my way down there when Mike called. From Mumbai.”

“What’s he doing in India? He told me he’d be back in the office today for a couple of hours before he leaves for the offsite.”

“Yeah, well, Eurospatiale’s losing orders all over the place since their plane crashed.”

“So Mike’s lined up meetings at Air India instead of coming back here,” I said. “Nice of him to tell me.”

Mike Zorn was an executive vice president and the program manager in charge of building our brand-new wide-bodied passenger jet, the H-880, which we called the SkyCruiser. Four VPs and hundreds of people reported to him—engineers and designers and stress analysts and marketing and finance people. But Mike was always selling the hell out of the 880, which meant he was out of the office far more than he was in.

So he’d hired a chief assistant—me—to make sure everything ran smoothly. Crack the whip if necessary. His jack-of-all-trades and U.N. translator, since I have enough of an engineering background to talk to the engineers in their own geeky language, talk finance with the money people, talk to the shop floor guys in the assembly plant who distrust the lardasses who sit in the office and keep revising and revising the damned drawings.

Zoë looked uneasy. “Sorry, he wanted me to tell you, but I kind of forgot. Anyway, the point is, he wants you to get over to Fab.”


“Like an hour ago.”

The fabrication plant was the enormous factory where we were building part of the SkyCruiser. “Why?” I said. “What’s going on?”

“I didn’t quite get it, but the head QA guy found something wrong with the vertical tail? And he just like shut down the whole production line? Like, pulled the switch?”

I groaned. “That’s got to be Marty Kluza. Marty the one-man party.” The lead Quality Assurance inspector at the assembly plant was a famous pain in the ass. But he’d been at Hammond for fifteen years, and he was awfully good at his job, and if he wouldn’t let a part leave the factory, there was usually a good reason for it.

“I don’t know. Anyway, like everyone at headquarters is totally freaking, and Mike wants you to deal with it. Now.”


“You still want that bagel?” Zoë said.

Chapter Two

I raced over in my Jeep. The fabrication plant was only a five-minute walk from the office building, but it was so immense—a quarter of a mile long—you could spend twenty minutes walking around to the right entrance.

Whenever I walked across the factory floor—I came here maybe every couple of weeks—I was awestruck by the sheer scale. It was an enormous hangar big enough to contain ten football fields. The vaulted ceiling was a hundred feet high. There were miles of catwalks and crane rails.

The whole place was like the set of some futuristic sci-fi movie where robots run the world. There were more machines than people. The robotic Automated Guided Vehicle forklift zoomed around silently, carrying huge pallets of equipment and parts in its jaws. The autoclave, basically a pressure cooker, was thirty feet in diameter and a hundred feet long, as big as some traffic tunnels. The automated tape layers were as tall as two men, with spidery legs like the extraterrestrial creature in Alien, extruding yards of shiny black tape.

Visitors were always surprised by how quiet it was here. That’s because we rarely used metal anymore—no more clanging and riveting. The SkyCruiser, you see, was 80 percent plastic. Well, not plastic, really. We used composites—layers of carbon-fiber tape soaked in epoxy glue, then baked at high temperature and pressure. Like Boeing and Airbus and Eurospatiale, we used as much composite as we could get away with because it’s a lot lighter than metal, and the lighter a plane is, the less fuel it’s going to use. Everyone likes to save money on fuel.

Unfortunately, the whole process of making planes out of this stuff is sort of a black art. We basically experiment, see what works and what doesn’t.

This doesn’t sound too reassuring, I know. If you’re a nervous flyer, this is already probably more than you want to know.

Also like Boeing and Airbus and the others, we don’t really build our own planes anymore. We mostly assemble them, screw and glue them together from parts built all over the world.

But here in Fab, we made exactly one part of the SkyCruiser: an incredibly important part called the vertical stabilizer—what you’d call the tail. It was five stories high.

One of them was suspended from a gantry crane and surrounded by scaffolding. And underneath it I found Martin Kluza, moving a handheld device slowly along the black skin. He looked up with an expression of annoyance.

“What’s this, I get the kid? Where’s Mike?”

“Out of town, so you get me. Your lucky day.”

“Oh, great.” He liked to give me a hard time.

Kluza was heavyset, around fifty, with a pink face and a small white goatee on his double chin. He had safety glasses on, like me, but instead of a yellow safety helmet, he was wearing an L.A. Dodgers cap. No one dared tell him what to do, not even the director of the plant.

“Hey, didn’t you once tell me I was the smartest guy in the SkyCruiser Program?”

“Correction: excluding myself,” Marty said.

“I stand corrected. So I hear we’ve got a problem.”

“I believe the word is ‘catastrophe.’ Check this out.” He led me over to a video display terminal on a rolling cart, tapped quickly at the keys. A green blob danced across the screen, then a jagged red line slashed through it.

“See that red line?” he said. “That’s the bond line between the skin and the spars, okay? About a quarter of an inch in.”

“Cool,” I said. “This is better than Xbox 360. Looks like you got a disbond, huh?”

“That’s not a disbond,” he said. “It’s a kissing bond.”

“Kissing bond,” I said. “Gotta love that phrase.” That referred to when two pieces of composite were right next to each other, no space between, but weren’t stuck together. In my line of work, we say they’re in “intimate contact” but haven’t “bonded.” Is that a metaphor or what?

“The C-scan didn’t pick up any disbonds or delaminations, but for some crazy reason I decided to put one of them through a shake-table vibe test to check out the flutter and the flex/rigid dynamics, and that’s when I discovered a discrepancy in the frequency signature.”

“If you’re trying to snow me with all this technical gobbledygook, it’s not going to work.”

He looked at me sternly for a few seconds, then realized I was giving him shit right back. “Fortunately, this new laser-shot peening diagnostic found the glitch. We’re going to have to scrap every single one.”

“You can’t do that, Marty.”

“You want these vertical stabilizers flying apart at thirty-five thousand feet with three hundred people aboard? I don’t think so.”

“There’s no fix?”

“If I could figure out where the defect is, yeah. But I can’t.”

“Maybe they were overbaked? Or underbaked?”



“Landry, you could eat off the floor here.”

“Remember when some numbskull used that Loctite silicone spray inside the clean room and ruined a whole day’s production?”

“That guy hasn’t worked here in two years, Landry.”

“Maybe you got a bad lot of Hexocyte.” That was the epoxy adhesive film they used to bond the composite skin to the understructure.

“The supplier’s got a perfect record on that.”

“So maybe someone left the backing paper on.”

“On every single piece of adhesive? No one’s that brain-dead. Not even in this place.”

“Will you scan this bar code? I want to check the inventory log.”

I handed him a tag I’d taken from a roll of Hexocyte adhesive film. He brought it over to another console, scanned it. The screen filled up with a series of dates and temperatures.

I walked over to the screen and studied it for a minute or so.

“Marty,” I said. “I’ll be back in a few. I’m going to take a walk down to Shipping and Receiving.”

“You’re wasting your time,” he said.

Copyright © 2007 by Joseph Finder. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 48 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 22, 2009

    Compelling all the way through

    Joseph Finder really knows how to create suspense. Just when you think the problem will be resolved, up pops another obstacle. I tagged it for topical conversation because the issue of wealthy, greedy corporate individuals/executives is current and believable. Yes, Mr. On-the-way-up, watch your back.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2008

    Fast Moving Action

    This is a fine effort by Finder. In fact, this may be in my top ten of 2007. What was more exciting than Jake Landry's past, more so even than the girl he was with, even more than the shocking murder that I never saw coming is that no character was safe in this thrill-a-minute mystery. Any one of them could have ended up dead at any moment, and some did. It really keeps you aware of each person's position, and their possible relationship with the kidnappers. Just going through this rewiew makes me want to read it again. A must read for lovers of action.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Somewhat Disappointing

    The intriguing plot provides food for thought in a world that seems fixated on security concerns and terroristic attacks. The idea of holding an entire corporate board hostage in a remote hunting lodge was for this reader unique. However, only some of the corporate financial security measures described and entertwined were interesting and surprising.
    The writer's style left me cold--mini-pschology pans regarding too many of the unneccessary characters resulted in a somewhat choppy read. In many respects one might arrive at the conclusion the book was written in numerous small pieces, then assembled by a computer. This was my first Finder book. The every-other-chapter throw back references to the main character's rough child and teen life, threatening to unleash a super monster killer hidden in the main character's psyche, did not work for me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Couldn't put it down

    Power Play is a very well written book. I simply kept reading and reading. I finished this book in only a couple of hours. The plot was well written. This was my first Joseph Finder book. The book wa also action packed, and suspenseful. After this book i just have to read another Joseph Fimder book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    Voice performer Dennis Boutsikaris gives a compelling, contained reading of Joseph Finder's latest action charged novel. His voice is distinct, cool, and then cold when he becomes the villains. As protagonist Jake Landry there is vulnerability and acceptance in this narrator's tone - as if he's seen the worst life has to offer and he's still here. Boutsikaris has twice won an Obie Award, plus an Audie Award for his audiobook narrations. He's been seen on and off Broadway as well as in some 20 made for television movies. He's a capable, centered actor who brings depth to each of his performances. As read by Boutsikaris Power Play is edge of your seat listening! Hammond Aerospace Corporation employs a jillion people. Pretty low on their totem is Jake Landry, a junior executive. He's a laid back kind of guy without professional aspirations, and still hurting from his break-up with Ali. Both complex and affecting, Jake is a bit of a mystery which unfolds in flashback form. Thus, Finder has created not only a pulse stopping suspense scenario but a fascinating character study as well. Jake is more than surprised when he's asked to be part of the company's retreat, a three-day session of bonding and games (more accurately life threatening exercises) with the top dogs. The gathering will take place at a remote lodge, luxurious but accessible only by water. No cell phones, Blackberrys or other forms of communication allowed. All of that was puzzling enough, but when he arrives to board the company jet, Ali is there, too, now assistant to CEO Cheryl Tobin. Once aboard Jake is summoned to the executive lounge where Cheryl tells him exactly why he's been invited along. The reason for his presence pales when that evening a sumptuous dinner is interrupted by an intruder with tobacco stained teeth and 'greedy black eyes staring.' They think he's a hunter, probably drunk. That's too easy - there are three men in all, each evil, cruel and bloodthirsty. They're holding the group for ransom, the largest ransom ever, but isn't all of Hammond's leadership worth it? How did these killers know aboutthe meeting, how did they get here? There are many questions but the most important one is how are any of them going to get out of this alive? Joe Finder has been called a 'master of the modern thriller' and 'nothing less than a marvel.' Rightly so. His Killer Instinct was recently named Best Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers Association. Hope he has a large mantle because Power Play is one more award winning tale. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2015

    Executives having a corporate retreat in a Canadian hunting lodg

    Executives having a corporate retreat in a Canadian hunting lodge - that's the begining of what looks like a corporate thriller. But then the executives are taken hostage by a group of armed men who appear to be redneck hunters looking for a big pay day. Nothing is as it seems.
    Some have called Joseph Finder the John Grisham of the corporate thriller.  I disagree. Joseph Finder is well-versed on the corporate world. His protagonist, Jake Landry, may start out looking like a suit but he becomes the kick-ass hero of the story.
    This was a fast paced, greatly entertaining story.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2014


    Liked his other books better. I found it slow and drawn out in places, so skimmed some of it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012


    This is my first Joseph Finder book and I will definitely either listen to or read another. However, one thing I did not like about it was the numerous characters. I found it confusing when the author would reference a character by his first name and then later reference him by his last name, you had to stop and think who he was and what position he held in the company or what action he played earlier in a chapter. I eventually went back and relistened to several chapters just to get a better sense. Other than that, the book kept my interest and I would recommend it.

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  • Posted January 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing Story

    I was delayed at an airport during a layover flight and I bought this book. I don't usually read thrillers, but the plot of Power Play perked my interest. I was intrigued with the story of a group of aerospace executives meeting in a Canadian hunting lodge for a bonding session and are held hostage by what appears to be some redneck hunters who stumbled across the opportunity to make some money. The book turned out to be a real page turner and I enjoyed it very much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    Very good!

    Loved it. Easy, fast read. You get lost in the book!

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  • Posted October 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Just Another Great Thriller by Finder!

    One thing is for sure. Only Joseph Finder can write a thriller like this. Power Play by Joseph Finder has all those qualities that characterizes his other books.
    I really enjoyed the background history on Jake Landry as Finder switches in between chapters through flashbacks from his past.
    As usual, Finder has really done a great research on the subject, I don't know how much of it, is fiction, but credible indeed.
    The plot is great, the twist and turns are well thought, and the ending doesn't disappoint.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    Enjoyable reading

    The book was enjoyable but did take quite a long time to set up. Would recommend to read

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  • Posted July 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome read

    I was captured and held captive until the final page. This was a very fast moving exciting read and I just couldn't leave this book alone. I didn't get back to my regular routine until I had finished reading it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    I read this to my mother in the hospital. It was riveting and she and I were both hanging on every word. We have just started another by Finder and are looking for more.

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  • Posted March 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    My first Joseph Finder read!

    I really enjoyed this book and look forward to catching up on his past novels. The story and characters are well-developed, the setting and content are original, and the writing is fast-paced and witty.
    Like a good movie you have to see again, I'm starting the book over so that I can catch all the nuances.
    Fun read. If you enjoy this genre, you'll like this one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2008

    High-Octane Thriller

    Some 'suspense thrillers' don't live up to the name - they drag in places or get bogged down in tedious subplots. This one delivers. Within a couple of chapters the reader is completely hooked on the story of high-level executives at a remote luxury retreat falling into the hands of a band of killers looking to make a big score. Jake Landry is a middle-management type who's been invited at the last minute, and it doesn't take him long to realize there's more afoot here than robbery or ransom. And no one suspects that with his traumatic past, Jason himself is a lethal weapon....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2008

    a great read

    Jake Landry is a junior executive for an aerospace company. Jake is the kind of guy who prides himself on flying beneath the radar doing his job while keeping his head down and not drawing any undue attention to himself. At an unexpected meeting with one of the company bigwigs, Jake is 'ordered' to attend a weekend retreat at the company¿s offsite. The location is completely out of the way complete with no cell phone reception or internet access. Once there, Jake is immediately uncomfortable with not only the rich surroundings, but by the company he¿s keeping as well. The first night there, the company gathering is crashed by a group of lost hunters. Long story short, the executives are soon held hostage by a group of men with guns, who want to take the company for all its worth. Jake, used to keeping a low profile, suddenly seems to be the only one who can save them all. This book is a complete page turner. It¿s one of those that you can¿t really put down, because you want to know what¿s going to happen on the next page. The story moves along quickly, and is both entertaining and engaging. This is the first of Finder¿s books that I¿ve read, and I¿m now a fan and plan to read more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2008

    Good Exciting Read

    I really enjoyed this book! It is one of those books that you find yourself up way too late at night reading because you wonder what the next page will bring. There is some violence in the book so be warned, but nothing too gruesome.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2008


    Solid suspense novel. Not Finder's best book, but still was good and had a very interesting premise, enough to frighten employees of big corporations....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2007

    Enjoyable Read

    Looking for some fast-paced easy reading? I believe this book would serve you well. Interesting characters, moves quickly, involves the corporate world as Finder does enjoy exploring. A classic? Of course not. Enjoyable? Yes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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