Monday, May 23, 2011


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

When I read Joseph Finder's, "Company Man", I had no idea of what to expect, as it was the first time I was reading a book by the author. Having liked it, I was eager to read more of his work, and picked this one due to high praise in reviews.

The book is told as a first person account of Adam Cassidy. (I have a bias against this style, but it's not the book's fault.) Adam is kind of a loser, doing a mundane job for Wyatt Telecom. He commits a really stupid fraud and easily gets caught. The company CEO Nick Wyatt makes him an offer - either go to jail on fraud charges, or work as a spy with competitor Trion Systems. Naturally, Adam chooses the second option. Wyatt trains him in corporate espionage and Adam manages to secure a high visibility position in Trion with the sole purpose of stealing secrets. The combination of this training, the new job and a new girlfriend beyond his dreams, completely transforms Adam. Will he fulfill his job as a spy ? If he doesn't, will he be punished for his fraud ? Will he lose his girlfriend in the process ? How will he extract himself out of this mess ? This makes up for a nice high adrenaline set-up for a corporate thriller.

The book delivers on most of its promises. Except, I don't think the ending is that hard to guess. I grant a lot of freedom to thriller books when it comes to the believability of the plot. Things don't have to be completely logical. Life isn't, and often times stranger than fiction. But some readers will shake their heads and might call the plot a bit too "Hollywoodish". There is some truth in that complaint.

Regardless, Joseph Finder is a good story-teller. He manages to draw you within Adam's world. There is a right balance between characterization and page turning action. The main character - Adam - is not a hero, but Finder makes you root for him. The corporate world, definitely feels real - it is not restricted to only boardroom politics.

It's a fun book to read and relax on lazy weekend.

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