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Craig's Book Club
Book Recommendations

Spotlight on: Company Man by Joseph Finder


To arrange to have products considered for review, send an email to craigsbookclub@yahoo.com.


Company Man by Joseph Finder Joseph Finder, Company Man

Nick Conover, CEO of Stratton Industries, respected manufacturer of American-made office furniture, is not a popular man in town. Stratton was the main source of employment in Fenwick until price undercuts from competitors in China necessitated laying off half the work force. (The Boston company that owns Stratton is breathing down Nick's neck to move the factory overseas.) Nearly everyone in town was affected -- either laid off or knowing someone who was -- so when someone starts breaking into Nick's home and painting NO HIDING PLACE on the wall, the suspects are legion.

Events are turned up a few notches when the family dog is killed; then, one night, in a fit of family protection, Nick shoots a prowler on the grounds. But, instead of calling the police, he phones Stratton's director of security, ex-cop Eddie Rinaldi, who quickly arrives, cleans the body of evidence, and throws it in a city dumpster. (This plot hole is Company Man's main flaw, but the book could not exist without it.)

Of course, a body in a dumpster cannot forever go unnoticed. Detective Audrey Rhimes discovers a connection and the chase is on to arrest Nick for murder -- all they need is proof. In addition to work and legal stressors, Nick's family is in turmoil since the death of his wife. His teenage son, Lucas, is especially troubled (and makes me question my own ability to parent a teen). This, combined with a questionable romantic dalliance gives Nick some very full days.

Company Man is a solid suspenser from Joseph Finder, the author of High Crimes (the source of the Morgan Freeman / Ashley Judd film) and the surprise bestseller Paranoia. Finder has been doing this for some time and he knows how to put a story together (even if it is a little on the long side, clocking in at over 500 pages). Finder's writing style mixes intelligence with simplicity of language that does not talk down to the reader. He keeps this monster moving with short chapters and characters that are unpredictable real people, even though they sometimes begin as personality quirks (like the clingy female who has Aimee Mann and Alanis Morissette CDs on repeat), only developing later on. The best-drawn are Nick, who is not a collection of nobel intentions like many protagonists, and Audrey, a black woman struggling to make it on the police force and who may have unintentional influences on her objectivity. Nevertheless, Company Man keeps the surprises coming at a steady pace, allowing for an immersive experience, something else that is rarely found in a mainstream crime thriller.


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