Lisa (Harmonybites)'s Reviews > Paranoia

Paranoia by Joseph Finder
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Sep 28, 2011

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bookshelves: contemporary, crime, fiction, mystery, novels, suspense, ultimate-reading-list, popular-fiction
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
Read from September 25 to 28, 2011 , read count: 1

I feel mixed on this one, the sixth book I've read from the Suspense portion of The Ultimate Reading List. It read very quickly, easy reading with short chapters and while the style is far from literary, it compares well against the likes of Dan Brown, James Patterson or Harlan Coben. I know some reviews complained of the style, citing in particular the use of the juvenile and jerky phrase "bodacious ta-tas" to describe the love interest. All I can say is that the voice sure fits the first person narrator, Adam Cassidy. He is juvenile and a jerk. The kind of guy from whom I'd back away slowly if he tried hitting on me, and I'd hate working with me, over me or under me. The kind of guy who used to take pride in how much he could slack off work, he fraudulently uses company funds to throw a retirement party for a coworker without counting the cost, and then is shocked, shocked when the bill comes to over 78,000 dollars and he is told that adds up to embezzlement and possibly decades in prison. Except he makes a deal with the company head, Nick Wyatt. They'll drop the charges if Adam infiltrates Wyatt's main competitor in the high tech business, Trion Systems.

A couple of things kept me reading. First, sleaze Adam might be, he's not completely unsympathetic. He's taking care of his dying abusive father, a man who'll never be proud of him no matter what he does. And he does develop a twinge of conscience, some guilt for what he's doing to people who have given him his first real chance. At one point, when his slacker friend Seth boasts of how he avoids doing anything productive at work, Adam asks him just who Seth is cheating by doing that, and I thought he might be learning something. The other reason this kept my interest through over 400 pages was the look at corporate espionage. Finder worked as a Sovietologist in academia and is a member of The Association of Former Intelligence Officers. Each of the nine parts of the book has a piece of tradecraft as its title and is headed by a definition from The Dictionary of Espionage: Fix, Backstopping, Plumbing, Compromise, Blown, Dead Drop, Control, Black Bag Job, Active Measures. The action of each part is an illustration of each word. Finder also evidently did his research on high tech industries, although at times I wished he didn't feel the need to show off all the jargon. So that I mostly found this an interesting ride to the end earns this a three.

The book might have earned a four from me were it not for the ending. Other reviews said they hated that ending, but I think for reasons different than mine. I didn't mind the open ending, didn't even think it abrupt, but I hated the entire destination, sensibility behind the whole twist. And it's not as if that twist didn't play fair. In fact it made sense of what seemed gaping plot holes from the beginning. A lot falls into place afterwards. But I still hated it, in a I-doubt-I'll-ever-read-this-author-again way. It's too cynical and too slick, and in its way far too predictable. I hate how it confirms the worldview of the worst characters in the book. For its, yes, paranoid, view of the business world and ambition.
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09/26/2011 page 200
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