‘Company Man’ by Joseph Finder
Take all of the problems that the average guy will run across during his lifetime: work issues, relationship problems, trouble relating to his children. Then make all the problems occur at the same time, and add a criminal cover up that could send you to prison for a very long time.
Such are the problems faced by Nick Conover, CEO of Stratton furniture. Hated by most of the residents in his city for laying off over 5000 people in the past two years, haunted by the death of his wife for which he blames himself, and a sixteen year old son who is withdrawn and falling into the wrong crowd, Nick’s problems escalate even further after a string of break-ins which the police seem reluctant to try and solve.
What follows, without giving away the ending, is a great adventure through which Nick faces his problems in the same way many men would. With his family, especially his son, he shuts down. He throws his energy into his work, only to find he doesn’t get the respect he feels he deserves, either from his superiors or his underlings. When Nick becomes a suspect in a local murder he turns to a friend for help, but is unsure of just how far he can trust him.
I picked up Company Man, a hefty hardcover volume of about 516 pages late one night expecting to put in a solid hour of reading before falling to sleep. I ended up awake until 4am, until the last problem had been resolved and the back cover had closed.
On paper, Company Man seems like it should be a hit. Joseph Finder has written several books over the past years, such as the NY Times bestseller Paranoia, and the military law thriller High Crimes – which was made into a major motion picture starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. With his latest release Finder manages to encapsulate the essence of a very believable character. A man who mostly, just wants to provide for and protect his family, drawn into a complex web of events based partly on fate, partly on his own failings and fears, and partly because he holds a belief that as the CEO of a major American company, his products should be made in the USA.
While Nick’s problems may be spectacular, the emotions ring true, and the result is a very good book that I would recommend to anybody.