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“Thrilling.” —Thom Racina, national bestselling author of Deadly Games and Never Forget
From Publishers Weekly
Performance seminars have long been the bane of the corporate world, yet few authors have explored them in fiction to the candid degree that Brooks (Darkness Bound) does here. The first third of this addictive thriller introduces Brad Teeters, Mark Johnson and Pamela Wiley, three dedicated yet bitter senior employees at Wright & Wong, a successful Seattle-based ad agency. When the trio propose to buy out the firm, Wong agrees, stipulating that all three employees must first attend The Seminar, a week-long retreat for executives at a secluded site in northern California. In detailed prose, Brooks captures the first 60 hours of The Seminar, during which facilitators simulate airplane crashes and hostage takeovers in an effort to teach inner strength and trust. But when one of The Seminar's mind games goes awry, Teeters, Johnson and Wiley become unwittingly ensnared in an evil scheme masterminded by Wong and Beth, Teeters's sexy, manipulative wife. Beth, who up to this point has been a secondary character, becomes the focal point of an intricate conclusion involving betrayed friendships, apparent suicides and kinky sex games. A master of terror and suspense, Brooks crafts his characters with care, lending them opaque dimensions that make them appear both sympathetic and loathsome.
""An absolute must read, Deadly Faux is guaranteed entertainment. In Wolfgang Schmitt, Larry Brooks has created a wise-cracking protagonist who is witty, resourceful, intelligent, and, most surprisingly, vulnerable. Brooks plunges Wolf into a seemingly unwinnable caldron involving Las Vegas casinos, the mob, and femme fatales, then turns the heat up high. I finished Deadly Faux in one sitting, couldn’t put it down, and can’t wait to read the next book. Step aside Nelson DeMille and Stuart Woods—Schmitt happens!"" —Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author of The Jury Master, for Deadly Faux
“Crime novelist Raymond Chandler was widely acknowledged in his day as the Poet Laureate of The Dark Side (he looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food cake). He died in 1959 and ever since there have been many pretenders to his throne. Among the best are James M. Cain, Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker, James Lee Burke—all masters of the craft, all wordsmiths of the first order, but none of them had Chandler’s gifts. After half a century of being on the lookout for a crime fiction writer with a voice that rivals Chandler’s, one has finally appeared, quietly chugging his way up the bestseller lists with Darkness Bound, Whisper of the Seventh Thunder, Serpent’s Dance, and Bait and Switch. His name is Larry Brooks. The guy has a slick tone and a crackling, cynical wit with lots of vivid descriptions (of both interior and exterior landscapes), and the sparkling figures of speech dance off the page and explode in your inner ear. Though as modern as an iPad 5S, he is truly and remarkably Chandleresque. He’s dazzling. Check out his new one, Deadly Faux—it’s sexy, complex, intelligent; a truly delightful novel with more plot twists than a plate of linguine swimming in olive oil.” —James N. Frey, author of How to Write a Damn Good Novel, for Deadly Faux
It was the echo of gunfire that kept him running. His body had long ago abandoned hope, pushing on faith alone through a fog of pain and fatigue. Logic screamed that this was pointless, while another voice whispered it was all a lie. Both were old friends that had served him well, and like Jesus on his fortieth desert night, he was tempted.
But neither voice was real. The gunshot had been real. The echo of it was real.
And so he ran. For his very life, and for those left behind. He knew that precious little time remained, and what was left was as critical as it was dwindling. Everything he had ever learned or believed or dreamed was at stake. He was out of options, down to a final chance that, win or lose, would be his statement to the universe.
It was his time. He had come full circle.
It is not paranoia when they are really out to get you. When they are right on your ass, downwind of the scent of your blood, closing fast.
Whoever the hell they are.
He ran all through the night’s relentless downpour. Low branches whipped his forehead and cheeks until they bled. He could feel his heart pounding in every extremity of his body, his vision clouded by sweat and rain. Both elbows were bloodied from a fall when his foot caught an exposed root, sending him skating wildly across a patch of decaying leaves. Leaping over a rotting log, he felt his right ankle turn impossibly inward, and the ensuing bolt of pain seized his leg like a pair of gigantic hands twisting with the enthusiasm of a gleeful sadist. But he had no time for this or any other distraction, not on this night, when, one way or the other, his past would finally and conclusively catch up with him.
From that past he summoned his God and pleaded for mercy. No deals this time, no hollow promises in exchange for salvation. Just simple mercy. For it, he had only his humility to offer. Things would be different if he survived. He would be different. And he could never go back.
Posted January 25, 2002
PRESSURE POINTS is not a paperback I would normally purchase. I was not familiar with the author and there are no reviewers' blurbs for it on the front/back covers (inside or out), which is often a harbinger of bad writing to come. Although I took a flyer when I decided to give this book a try, I was far, far from disappointed. PRESSURE POINTS is engrossing from start to finish. It begins with a bang and never lets up. The plot is labyrinthine, with hairpin twists and turns coming one after another. The dialogue is snappy and hip, peppered with Brooks'waggish takes on the self-help movement, the field of advertising, the infotech industry, and even pyramid schemes. The novel's protagonists are sympathetic and its antagonists truly scary (although you won't know for sure which are which until you've read the last pages!) I read this book in one sitting--I truthfully could not put it down! Either Brooks' background as a copywriter has served him well or he has one heck of an editor, because his writing is flawless. This man knows how to build a sentence as well as he knows how to build a plot. And here's a real plus: I counted fewer than five grammatical/spelling errors in the entire book, and those I did find were quibbling. The type of care Brooks takes with the English language is so rare in this day and age as to be nearly non-existent. Thank you, Larry Brooks--I can't wait to read your next novel!
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Posted December 5, 2001
This book was very exciting. I actually gasped outloud at one point in the book. The book was very suspenseful and the ending very surprising. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 17, 2001
Larry Brooks came upon the scene last year with his debut novel, DARKNESS BOUND, an erotic, suspenseful thriller that left me fearful of ladies dressed in black leather! His newest novel, PRESSURE POINTS, does the same thing for self-help seminars that his last one did for sensuously clad females. Now, let me pre-warn the reader that this isn¿t a fast paced book, though it does move rather quickly. PRESSURE POINTS is a slow-burning fuse that delves into strong character development and moves forward as layer after layer of intense suspense is added, until it finally reaches an exploding climax. Also, I would ask the reader to think of the Michael Douglas movie, The Game, when reading this because nothing is as it seems. Neither the reader, nor the main characters in the book, will know what¿s real or simply a masterful illusion. The one thing the reader may be assured of, however, is that a lot of people are going to die before the ending is reached! The story deals predominantly with Brad Teeters, Pamela Wiley and Mark Johnson. All three are high-ranking employees of the Wright & Wong advertising and marketing agency in Seattle, Washington. Brad is the ¿people¿ person who¿s capable of selling any potential client on the agency¿s ability to meet their needs. Pamela is the creative source behind the agency¿s success, and Mark is the genius from the business end of it. Each of these people have their strong points and weak points, and each of them has now reached a point in their life where they want more than the agency is willing to give. When they approach Ken Wong¿the sole surviving founder of the agency¿and inform him of their intent to instigate a hostile takeover of the firm, he reluctantly agrees to their demands, but only on one condition. Ken tells the trio that he¿ll willingly turn over the agency to them; but first, they must attend and complete a self-help seminar in northern California. The rationale behind this maneuver is that Ken Wong hopes the seminar (one he, himself, recently attended) will help them to see the error of their ways and that they¿re not ready to successfully run the agency. All three team members, hungry for what they consider to be their justly rewards, finally agree to spend a week at the seminar, not knowing that their lives will, in fact, change rather drastically. What¿s not known is that they have been marked for death and that the real challenge will be to simply stay alive! PRESSURE POINTS reminded me a great deal of the novels that were published back in the fifties, sixties, and early seventies when strong character development and avid suspense were the most important ingredients of any well-written thriller¿when the whole point was to keep the reader guessing right up till the very last page. Mr. Brooks¿ newest novel succeeds tremendously on this level. Strange as it may seem, however, the one character I was most drawn to was Brad Teeters¿ wife, Beth. She reminded me somewhat of the ¿Dark Lady¿ from DARKNESS BOUND in her ability to manipulate the people around her in order to achieve her goals. Not only is she smart, beautiful, and sensuous, Beth Teeters is also as dangerous as a Black Widow spider. She¿ll do whatever it takes to protect her and her husband¿s interests, even it means having a clandestine affair with Ken Wong, or seducing others in order to put her own game plan into motion. This is definitely a woman you don¿t want to cross! All in all, PRESSURE POINTS is an excellent follow-up to Larry Brooks¿ first novel. It¿s a page-turner of the best sort and will keep you guessing in a futile effort to figure out what¿s going to happen next.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
In Seattle¿s very creative and highly sought after Wright and Wong advertising agency, three high level executives are unhappy. Finance Officer/Controller Mark Johnson, Corporate Creative Director Pamela Wiley, and Vice President of Client Services Brad Teeters realize they made CEO Wong a multimillionaire, but they remain stuck in a middle class lifestyle and income. <P> The trio unites to issue an ultimatum to Wong, who has not even shown up at the office in months. Unless he sells them the company, they will quit and start a new company. At least half the present clients of Wright and Wong would come with them. Wong agrees with the stipulation that the threesome comes with him on a retreat first. They soon find themselves struggling to survive, as none of them know what is an exercise and what is a death trap. <P>Larry Brooks has written an exciting thriller as the reader, like the group, never knows what is deadly and what is an exercise. In PRESSURE POINT, ignoring reality could mean death with no one trusting anyone adding to the individual¿s stress. This fascinating novel is similar to The Deadly Game, but Mr. Brooks keeps it fresh because reality is so blurred. <P>Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 6, 2001
Pressure Points takes the reader on an intense psychological journey via would-be CEO Brad Teeter's required attendance at a mind-blowing seminar. You're forced to question your own response to each and every excercise Brad endures. It's hip, fast, scary, riveting, thought-provoking and full of surprises. I finished this book in two days as I had to know who was behind the diabolical scheming. Larry Brooks latest novel is a book to be talked about. Trust me, buy this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.