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POWER PLAY Paperback – March 4, 2008
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“A superb story that dazzles with its heart-pounding suspense.” ―The Boston Globe on Killer Instinct
“Wickedly fun!” ―Entertainment Weekly on Killer Instinct
“A first-rate thrill ride, punctuated with the kind of character development most authors shun....” ―The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Killer Instinct
“A masterful blend of contemporary thriller and a character driven plot...” ―Houston Chronicle on Killer Instinct
About the Author
- ASIN : 1250094356
- Publisher : Griffin; Reprint edition (March 4, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 418 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781250094353
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250094353
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 1.05 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,837,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In the days before John Grisham found his sensitive side, he was cranking out crackerjack page-turners like "The Firm", "The Pelican Brief", and "A Time for Killing". But the void left by "A Painted House" and other yawners was quickly and aptly filled by Joseph Finder, one of the best yarn spinners in pop fiction today, hitting another homerun of nonstop action and corporate politics with "Power Play". This may remind you a lot of the first "Die Hard" - and indeed a young Bruce Willis could easily slip into the role of the irreverent Jake. But there is more to "Power Play" - and Finder - than a simple case of backwoods boys shooting up the rich guys for fun and profit, with hints of an undercurrent of corporate greed and corruption flowing beneath the surface of flannel shirts and prison tattoos.
Yeah, its predictable, and it won't be taking down any literary awards, but "Power Play" sure is a lot of fun. And as always, you can count on Finder for smart and sassy dialogue, stereotypical bad guys you'll love to hate, and smart, cliffhanging action that will keep you reading long past any plans you may have had. Keep `em coming, Mr. Finder!
Perhaps you yourself would ask that question if you'd just watched your heretofore mild-mannered significant other efficiently snap the neck of an assailant.
Jake Landry is the polite and self-effacing assistant to an Executive VP in Hammond Aerospace Corporation, a maker of "heavy" passenger planes. At the last minute, Jake is tabbed to attend a team-building retreat with the company's top level management in place of his boss, who's out of country on a crucial sales trip. Besides, Landry knows as much as anyone about Hammond's new H-880 jet, which may have design problems.
The retreat takes place at a remote fishing resort on the coast of British Columbia. The gathering has all the potential for bickering and back-stabbing as the otherwise all-male executive hierarchy gets to know its first female CEO, Cheryl Tobin, whose own executive assistant is Ali Hillman, Jake's ex-girlfriend. And if there wasn't tension enough to cut with a knife, the meeting is invaded during the first night's welcome dinner and taken over by five gun-wielding hard guys intent on getting 500 million dollars in ransom for the group, two of which members are soon executed as examples to the rest.
So, who's coming to the rescue? From the first couple of pages presented as a flash-forward, it's evidently going to be Jake for no reason that's readily apparent in the book's first chapters. Indeed, the meat of POWER PLAY is a slow revelation of Landry's past, via flashback to his teen years, which gives some clues as to his ability to do what he has to do to extricate the hostages from their terrifying ordeal.
At first, I thought Landry might be presented somewhat in the mold of the hero of Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels ( Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher Novels) et al), but the reader never learns as much about the former as the latter, and Jake, while obviously clever and intelligent, never quite achieves the powerful physicality and breadth of lethality that Reacher demonstrates. Indeed, the question that begins this review was never really answered to my satisfaction. I mean, how did Landry achieve the mindset to cut someone's throat, which is a vastly more personal and up-close way to kill somebody than just with a gun? Being in juvenile detention and the National Guard Reserve doesn't necessarily get you that.
If this was to be the first in a series by author Joseph Finder featuring Jake, then there would be the opportunity for further character exploration and discovery. But since that hasn't been Finder's writing m.o. to date, I suspect this to be a one-off adventure. As such then, for the reason given, I can only award four stars to an otherwise engrossing and edge-of-your-seat thriller. If I'm wrong about this being a stand-alone presentation, then I'll happily ratchet it up to five stars. Say it ain't so, Joe!
Top reviews from other countries
In the English literature exam I took as a result, the relevant passage was quoted. The question was then posed asking how the tension of this passage was reduced.
My answer was simple — the character survived to tell the story. That idea lives with me to this day and is the reason that I’m not a big fan of books written in the first person.
However, there is always the exception that proves the rule and this book was it.
Pace, surprise, setting all contribute to the successful thriller. Power Play scores on all three. Authentic detail can help, too, and on that count Power Play cannot be faulted. But six pages of Acknowledgments suggest the author is giving the reader more than he really needs to know. Then we come to characterisation, the ingredient that makes the reader care. Here, sadly, Power play is underpowered. The characters are cardboard stereotypes so that the eventual revelation of the culprit's identity has little impact.
Landry, the hero, is given enough background to make his actions just about believable but, like so many in this genre, he seems at times too close to Superman for suspension of disbelief. Reaching for the concealed knife in his shoe ... swinging a devastating right hook ... breaking bones with a head butt ... slashing a throat here, breaking a neck there ... kneeing a groin ... battling on despite feeling "a fireball of pain" from a gunshot wound to the thigh - Landry is right up there with Indiana Jones and his ilk. A priceless ally in the trenches but would you want him as a life-insurance risk?
If you like your thrillers swift and violent, this will do. Though probably better read on a beach than in an aeroplane. Or a remote lodge in wildest Canada.
I liked the fact that it's split into many chapters (80), as that helped with the pace, often with a good hook at the end of the chapter to get you to read on.
The settings all seem very realistic. For example, the lead's company is making the 'SkyCruiser'. This was just how I recall the Boeing factory at Seattle, and the DreamLiner setup.
On the downside, a lot of character names to remember, esp of the company execs. Maybe could have had a couple less without losing anything of the plot.
I'm not keen on flashbacks, as for me they can interrupt the action, and there are too many of them here. But by the later part of the book, you can more or less guess what the flashbacks are going to tell you (about his past life), so it becomes easy to skip through them and stay with the plot.
All in all, a very enjoyable read. It would make a great movie thriller too (without the flashbacks!).