Thursday, January 20, 2011

Company Man

Book Review : Company Man
Author : Joseph Finder
My Rating : 4 out of 5 stars

This was the first book I read by Joseph Finder, who has written many best-sellers. And I was impressed.

The main character - Nick Conover - is CEO of Stratton, a huge manufacturer of office furniture, based in a small town in Michigan. He has recently fired thousands of employees and almost everyone in the town dislikes him. His house keeps getting broken into and he is receiving threats. To add to the stress, he has to raise his 2 kids (a young daughter, and a teenage son) all by himself, as his wife died in a car accident a year ago.

As the story opens, his family dog gets brutally murdered by the intruder, and during the next intrusion, Nick shoots the intruder and kills him. Instead of going to the police about it, he decides to hide it. Much more is written on the inside cover, but I will leave it there. And I would say, forget the inside cover, just read the book.

The books starts out slowly. Finder takes his time developing the characters, creating their lives in your mind. That's the real strength of the book. The interactions feel real. Their world feels real. Finder has done good research into how such a corporation would function on a day to day basis. It reminded me of Arthur Hailey.

Those strengths made me overlook the weaknesses. Our main guy Nick is not all that bright. Wonder how he became a CEO ! It takes him forever to see through the office politics. His judgment is quite poor. Maybe that's author's intention. The mystery itself and its inevitable conclusion is not that hard to guess. Still I found myself getting glued to the last part of the book, reading late into the night to finish it off.

I also have a problem about how long it took Finder to get into the rhythm. It was well past 300 pages when the book became truly gripping for me. Else I would have given this 5 stars.

I am very happy to have read this book and highly recommend it to mystery lovers

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