Tuesday, March 28

Killer Instinct by Joseph Finder

Review by Theodore Feit


  My first thought while reading this exciting novel harkened back to the Broadway show, "How to Succeed in Business…," and its theme song, "The Company Way."  But as I read, the development of the plot was like anything but the light-hearted tune.  Certainly, the protagonist, Jason Steadman, climbs the corporate ladder--but in a variety of unusual, if not unethical, ways until he lands on top, even if he is redeemed in a manner of speaking.

  A likeable and even capable salesman, Jason is a happy-go-lucky working stiff, employed by a Japanese electronics giant.  His wife and immediate superior have him pegged as lacking the drive—"Killer Instinct," if you will—to advance.  Then he meets by accident a former Special Forces soldier with a wide range of abilities—from gathering intelligence to sabotage to murder—which are "secretly" used to assist Jason in his job.  Suddenly available to him are customer secrets to seal deals, undermining co-workers and sabotaging their equipment, making them lose sales.

  As a result, Jason shines and is promoted and then promoted again.  Then he begins to suspect the underhanded assistance he has been receiving and tries to stop it.  His new-found friend—who by now has become head of security (he was hired on Jason's recommendation)—and he begin a struggle until Jason faces imminent danger.

  The author creates tremendous tension, with twists and turns that keep the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next.  The fine narration and portrayals of various types of company men is a Finder trademark.  I thoroughly enjoyed "Killer Instinct," and am sure you will too.

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