on 27 October 2007
There's no doubt about it, Finder has established himself as the top author for business thrillers, and in this case he delivers once again. The author grabs our attention right from the start, when the narrator of the story is pointing a gun at another man, in an empty office building, late at night. Then we are taken back in time and Jason Steadman tells us about how he ended up in that situation. Of course, several questions pop into our mind, like: Who was the other man? Why did Jason need to use a gun against him? What was the chain of events that serve as a catalyst of that situation?
Jason works in sales and is not ambitious as it relates to his career, but when an accident puts him in contact with an ex-military tow-truck driver named Kurt, his life starts to change. Jason, in part pushed by his wife, decides to go after what he wants, and the games begin. From obnoxious bosses, to competitive and cut-throat peers, Jason has to navigate through the business world and fine-tune his killer instinct in order to succeed. A little bit of help, even though not completely ethical, may come in handy, but maybe the price he will have to pay for it is too high.
Joseph Finder has a natural ability for presenting everyday business situations and make them interesting. When he then adds an extra element of suspense and foul play, the story hooks the reader and does not let go. In the case of this novel, I found myself reading non-stop most of the time, but there are a couple of elements that led me to rate this book lower than the maximum possible. I found that several of the elements of the plot were predictable, and even though there are a couple of surprising turns, most of the story is straightforward. The other minor factor I did not enjoy was the character of Gordy, Jason's boss. I understand the need to portray Gordy as an obnoxious and unfair character, but I think that the author went a little overboard and ended up with a character that is somewhat unreal.
This is an engaging and fast-paced read and I think most people will have a great time with it. For those that are new to the author, I would recommend to read "Paranoia" first, since I found this is the best book by Finder so far.
on 18 August 2006
This is a very readable novel with its short, punchy chapters, and good humour, and it would not be difficult to get through it in a small number of sittings. The plot is very much as described on the book's cover but does, however, contain a few over-the-top elements. In the circumstances, I felt the story would have benefited from a little more depth. Apologies for bringing the overall rating down slightly (!), but I felt obliged to reflect this perceived imperfection in my scoring. I continue to rate Finder highly and look forward to reading more nonetheless.
So, cubby, you want to be a corporate VP because that'll enable you to keep the wife in the lifestyle to which she's accustomed and, moreover, it'll prove that she didn't marry a wimp?
Jason Steadman is a top sales rep selling plasma and LCD TVs and monitors for Entronics. But being top dog is easy when everybody wants what you're hawking. Jason is otherwise without ambition or "the killer instinct", and he's comfortable with that. Unfortunately, Jason's wife Kate grew up knowing a better life than the one he's providing, and she reproaches him for a lack of ambition.
One day, after steering his wheels into a ditch, Jason hitches a ride with the tow truck, the driver of which, ex-Special Forces tough Kurt Semko, spins a hard luck tale involving a raw deal and a dishonorable discharge from the Army. Feeling sorry for the guy, Steadman gets him a job with Corporate Security. Kurt is grateful to Jason, and soon proves that he'll do anything to help his benefactor nail those big accounts and claw his way up the corporate ladder. Anything.
KILLER INSTINCT is a cautionary tale about the perils surrounding the release of the (evil) genie from its bottle, or the truth of the saying, "No good deed goes unpunished." In any case, the attraction of the storyline is that Steadman is a regular, white-collar shmoe. He could be you, in fact. (Are you itching to move into the corner office, cubby?)
KILLER INSTINCT is a riveting book; it would also make an excellent movie featuring, perhaps, Cole Hauser as Jason and Tom Sizemore as Kurt (both of which starred in PAPARAZZI in the good-guy and bad-guy roles, respectively).
The suspense of the plot is of the inexorably increasing sort, with a knuckle-biting conclusion which goes to show that nice guys don't have to finish last, especially if they are clever and have Web access.
on 8 February 2006
Through his amanuensis, the author kindly sent me an advance review copy of this work, and these are my impressions: Interspersed among developments in the cloak-and-dagger plot of Killer Instinct are small cameos, object lessons, and wry humor. With apologies to Edith Wharton and to the furniture company, I cite the first-person narrator's introductory comment about his nephew: 'Ethan is what you name a kid who you fully expect, even before he's born, to get beat up on the playground, his lunch money stolen, his glasses snapped in two, and his face pushed into the dirt.' And, after describing the boy's passing fascination with 'instruments of medieval torture,' the narrator comments, 'You had to wonder about his parents' marriage.' Vivid descriptions, keen psychological insights, fully limned characterizations, and a pervasive sense of the tenuousness of good fortune punctuate this memorable tale of an upwardly mobile couple who ascend the slippery pole from Belmont to Cambridge, from an Acura to a Mercedes, and from childlessness to impending parenthood.
on 30 July 2006
Sorry for the cliché but this time it is true: you just cannot put this book down. If you try you will gravitate back to it in a few minutes. It is absolutely riveting for many reasons: the plot is great, dialogs sharp, main character totally likeable, bad guy really ... well ... bad, etc. The plot is somewhat similar to "Paranoia" (underdog going up the corporate ladder in a high tech firm, neglects the bum friend who comes in handy at the end ...) but not annoyingly so. Anyway, it is a very good thriller, certainly one of the best I have read in the last years.
on 7 February 2006
Through his amanuensis, the auhor kindly sent me an advance review copy of this work, and these are my impressions: Interspersed among developments in the cloak-and-dagger plot of Killer Instinct are small cameos, object lessons, and wry humor. With apologies to Edith Wharton and to the furniture company, I cite the first-person narrator's introductory comment about his nephew: 'Ethan is what you name a kid who you fully expect, even before he's born, to get beat up on the playground, his lunch money stolen, his glasses snapped in two, and his face pushed into the dirt.' And, after describing the boy's passing fascination with 'instruments of medieval torture,' the narrator comments, 'You had to wonder about his parents' marriage.' Vivid descriptions, keen psychological insights, fully limned characterizations, and a pervasive sense of the tenuousness of good fortune punctuate this memorable tale of an upwardly mobile couple who ascend the slippery pole from Belmont to Cambridge, from an Acura to a Mercedes, and from childlessness to impending parenthood.
on 26 February 2006
I'm pleased to be the recipient of an advance reader's copy of this exciting new novel by St. Martin's "Golden Boy," author Joseph Finder. Not only is the book a quality book, it comes with a CD interview between Finder and Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author of BLINK. Now this is what I call a bonus "to die for."
It's a cliché to say "this is one of the most exciting books I've read in a long while." Even though it's true, that trite statement does not do this book justice. This stupendous work is much more than that.
KILLER INSTINCT has everything: love, adventure, murder, mystery, intrigue. Joseph Finder skillfully paints an accurate portrait of the contemporary corporate workplace, while deftly weaving a touching background story about the main character, Jason Steadman, and his wife. Her support of him as he struggles with normal and abnormal workplace problems--and his support of her in her efforts to conceive a child--gives the book another dimension ... a dimension that tugs at your heart-strings.
Finder introduces the reader to the high-powered business world and the inner- and inter-corporate struggles of ambitious employees aiming for the top rung on the ladder. What some of them do in the name of "power" is reprehensible, but realistic. Our hero is the ultimate "Mr. Good Guy"--brilliant, charismatic, moral, and likable--but he doesn't have the killer instinct to get him to the top. Or so everyone thinks.
Then along comes Kurt Semko--a Harley-riding, former Special Forces guy just back from Iraq--who worms his way into the corporation through Steadman and immediately goes to work on his own ulterior plans. Semko is one villain who really has the KILLER INSTINCT--enough for both him and Steadman--and sets out to prove it.
The thing that intrigues me most about this book is the penetrating way this best-selling author portrays the struggle and mind games between Steadman and Semko. He fleshes them out until they are not only believable, but are also real. I feel like I know them personally. Finder certainly seems to understand the inner workings of the human mind, both the good and evil of human nature; the depth of his psychological profiles are astonishing. His profound portrayal of the subtle way the "evil" character plays on the good-natured main character is an intellectual piece of writing. It blows me away.
Author Joseph Finder has once again proven why he's "top of the heap" at St. Martin's Press and with readers around the world. If you haven't discovered him before now, you're in for some unique, exciting reading experiences. You must read his other fantastic books, like COMPANY MAN and PARANOIA, to name a few.
Joseph Finder is the "find" of the year. And to repeat a truism someone else beat me to: JOSEPH FINDER DOES FOR THE CEO WHAT JOHN GRISHAM DID FOR ATTORNEYS. - Betty Dravis, 2006
on 30 July 2008
This is only the second book by Joseph Finder that I have read but it certainly won't be the last. His books are totally engrossing and keep the reader turning the pages at a rapid rate!
'KILLER INSTICNT' grabbed me from the very beginning when Jason Steadman meets tow truck driver & ex-special forces Kurt Semko and they immediately hit it off.
Jason soon gets Kurt a job at his company as corporate security. And before Jason knows it things begin to look up for him, his beautiful wife is with child and he is swiftly moving up the corporate ladder. However, it seems that his new friend has been helping him climb the ladder in some less than ethical ways. When Jason tries to put a stop to Kurt he soon realizes that it is better to have Kurt Semko as a friend than as an enemy.
Yet another gripping novel Joseph Finder, I cannot wait to get my hands on his next!
on 20 February 2015
For the first 7 or 8 chapters it appeared to be an incredibly 'slow burner' and whilst not unpleasant to read it just didn't seem to be getting anywhere. Then suddenly it 'clicked' and became totally engaging without let-up until the end. It was imaginatively chilling as it progressed and the detail given to technological aids quite remarkable. I didn't understand how it worked most of the time but became convinced that it was possible!
The characters were so clearly defined that I felt that I was acquainted with every one of them. Seemingly not such an easy feat for many writers and I applaud Mr Finder for his skill. He manages to maintain the perfect blend of humour, mistrust, fear and loathing throughout the book and the result is dynamic.
This is the first Joseph Finder book that I have read and would definitely recommend it.
This is a lightweight page-turner but a good one.
Rising sales executive in an electronics company meets an ex-special forces guy and helps him join the firm. Trouble is, that from initially being very helpful it becomes apparent that the guy is unhinged, cunning and very dangerous.
Finder does well with his characterisation and certainly nails the big corporation/sales/contracts side very well. As things spiral out of control for our hero Jason he realises that he may have taken on someone willing to do anything to get what they want and then when people start to die, he, his friends and his family are at risk too.
Of course it is implausible at times, but this is not deep literature it's a pager turning thriller that does the job very nicely.