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Power Play [Mass Market Paperback]

Joseph Finder
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 4 2008

An off-site corporate event gone disastrously wrong. The largest ransom in history. The price-tag: dead or alive. Now, in Joseph Finder's explosive thriller Power Play, it’s up to Jake Landry—a modest, steady guy with a dark, hidden past—to save them all…

It was the perfect retreat for a troubled company. No cell phones. No BlackBerrys. No cars. Just a deluxe lodge surrounded by thousands of miles of wilderness and a desolate seacoast.
Jake Landry is a junior executive at the Hammond Aerospace Corporation, a steady, modest, and taciturn guy with a  gift for keeping his head down—and a turbulent past he prays he’s put behind him. Ordered to fill in for his boss at the annual offsite, he’s out of his element.  He’s uncomfortable with the lavish accommodations and especially with the arrogant, swaggering men who run the company and the only person he knows there is the new special assistant to the CEO—who happens to be Jake’s ex.
Then a band of hunters, apparently lost in the woods, crash the opening-night festivities. Soon the execs of a billion-dollar company, cut off from the rest of the world, find themselves at the mercy of a group of men with guns...and a cunning plan to take Hammond Aerospace for all it’s worth.
But the hostage takers aren’t who they appear to be and neither is Jake Landry. The high flyers hadn’t wanted Jake to come along. Now he’s the only one who can save them.

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Product Details

Product Description







From the Back Cover

An off-site corporate event gone disastrously wrong.

The largest ransom in history. The price-tag: dead or alive.

Now it’s up to Jake Landry—a modest, steady guy with a dark, hidden past—to save them all…






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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Standard Fare May 16 2011
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The best part of this book are a couple of plot feints early on (which I wish the author had pursued). But soon it becomes a standard "one man against all odds" story. This one man, Jake Landry, has an improbably mix of personal attributes told through a series of flashbacks. Lucky for some of his colleagues that he is included in an executive offsite at a remote British Columbia fishing camp. Silliness ensues with Finder pulling out the standard corporate thriller genre facets: old flame, uncanny survival, finance-speak, amongst others. Still there is good pace and if one suspends belief, forgives numerous cliches, and does not mind uninteresting characters - enjoy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  138 reviews
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Die Hard at a Corporate Off-site Sept. 3 2007
By Kevin Joseph - Published on Amazon.com
With Power Play, Joseph Finder continues the line of corporate thrillers he kicked off with the magnificent Paranoia. This thriller, though, features as much violent action as it does corporate intrigue, leaving me with the feeling that Finder was writing a thinly-veiled script for a movie blockbuster. Indeed, the similarities to Die Hard are impossible to ignore.

Jake Landry, like the Bruce Willis Die Hard hero, is supposed to represent the blue collar everyman caught in the middle of a corporate hostage crisis. Unlike the top brass who attend Hammond Aerospace's fancy off-site at a secluded lodge, Jake's a mid-level manager who's invited for reasons other than his corporate pedigree. When the management team is taken hostage and ordered to embezzle $500 million from the corporate treasury in exchange for their lives, Jake finds himself the only guy in the company who is truly worthy of alpha male posturing.

The plot barrels ahead with Jake and his ex-girlfriend Ali (who happens to have been invited to the off-site as the new CEO's special assistant) engaged in a desperate attempt to outmanuever their brutal captors. Interspered with the action are brief flashbacks to Jake's formative years, in which we learn the origins of his skill with weapons and willingness to tangle with dangerous men. The author also exploits the tension between the new female CEO and the all-male cast of senior executives.

The last third of this book is as suspenseful as anything I've read recently, although the plot teeters in a number of places on the edge of impracticability (how combat-hardened can Jake really be, anyway) and many of the characters are thinly-developed corporate stereotypes. Nonetheless I continue to admire Finder's penchant for interesting plot premises and ability to find action and adventure amidst Sarbanes-Oxley and corporate boardrooms.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern-day Travis McGee Sept. 3 2007
By Dave Schwinghammer - Published on Amazon.com
I don't usually read thrillers, but the set-up for POWER PLAY was so intriguing I couldn't resist. A group of aerospace executives meet in a Canadian hunting lodge for a bonding session and are held hostage by what appears to be some redneck hunters who stumbled across the opportunity to make some money.

The main character is Jake Landry, self-styled "low man on the totem pole," who is invited at the last minute because he has expertise in Hammond Aerospace's new Sky Cruiser. Apparently he has been recommended by his ex-girlfriend Ali, who is now an executive assistant to the new Hammond CEO, Cheryl Tobin.

The author, Joseph Finder, has really done his homework. He gives us a good look at corporate politics as well as the inside of the corporate jet that takes us to the Canadian retreat. The other executives, especially Hank Bodine who was passed over for the top job, resent having to take orders from a woman. Cheryl is also investigating a corporate scandal. One of the top executives has been bribing Air Force officials in charge of government orders.

The plot moves along briskly with Jake Landry taking on a Travis McGee type role. He's smarter than the kingpins who look down on him, and he's dependable in a pinch. When it looks like the captors plan on leaving no witnesses behind, he secrets a steak knife in his shoe! We also get frequent looks at Landry's hard scrabble background, during which time he spent time in a juvenile offender facility. Finder keeps us wondering just exactly what he did to warrant incarceration.

If you're an inveterate mystery reader as I am, you should be able to figure out who's behind the ransom attempt. The solution was sort of anti-climactic. Except for the knife in the shoe device, POWER PLAY is also unique in that the twists and turns are mostly believable, something I haven't seen in a whole lot of modern thrillers. Also, if you're a beginning writer, you might want to check out Finder's acknowledgments. They're instructive in that they show how much research is involved in writing a book, any book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed adventure! Kept me reading all night long ... Sept. 16 2007
By Betty L. Dravis - Published on Amazon.com
As many people say, best-selling author Joseph Finder does for CEOs what John Grisham does for attorneys--makes them exciting, entertaining, and larger than life!

Finder's famous for focusing on various industries in his popular novels; in Power Play it's the aviation industry. The action in this novel takes place at an elite hunting lodge off the coast of British Columbia. When the management team of California's Hammond Aerospace meets there, an unlikely character--a junior executive named Jake Landry--is asked to fill in for his boss.

Jake may not be as sophisticated, wealthy, and privileged as the higher-ranking businessmen, but he's clever and proves much smarter where it really matters. His "smart-mouth attitude" doesn't help endear him to the others or alleviate the tension developing between the "egotistical" men and the new female CEO, Cheryl Tobin, who has been hired to "clean up" the company.

Toss in some armed hunters who take over the compound--pretending to be thieves but whom Jake suspects have much more devious ambitions--and you have an action-packed drama with more twists and turns than an Indy race track.

And why are the thieves armed with military weapons? What is their real goal? Will the businessmen help Jake overcome them or are they too cowardly? Is the CEO who was in line for Cheryl's job behind it all? Well, you'll just have to wait and see. I promise you a thrilling, white-knuckle read from start to finish.

Finder keeps us guessing about Jake's background, hinting at some juvenile offense, and he's excellent at characterization. All his characters have unique identities and come alive for me. He weaves an irresistible premise with enough high tech jargon in the plot to keep it believable.

This is my fourth book by this author and I couldn't put it down. Finder once said that the best piece of writing advice he ever received was: start the story at the last possible moment--in the middle of the action. Perhaps that's why he's so good at "hooking" his readers on the first page.

I recommend tossing this book into your Amazon cart; it's well worth the money. I thank his promotional team for sending me an ARC of this fantastic novel.

Reviewed by: Betty Dravis, 2007
1106 Grand Boulevard and The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley and Millennium Babe: The Prophecy
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done indeed as expected of Joseph Finder Sept. 17 2007
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Jake Landry is a fish out of water. Adept at running interference for his boss, Executive VP Michel Zorn, with aerospace engineers, quality control, production, and almost everything else--he just doesn't feel comfortable in the executive suite. But that's where he's headed.

It's time for Hammond Aerospace's annual senior executive retreat at King Chinook Lodge. A two-hour flight north by float plane from Vancouver on a remote Canadian lake, it's the perfect place for team building--or at least it was.

Things go wrong long before the team arrives. Hammond's long-time CEO, Peter Rawlings, dies of a heart attack while playing golf at Pebble Beach. Cheryl Tyson is brought in from the outside as CEO--a female in what the other senior executives firmly believe is a man's world. Then a major competitor's new plane goes down in flames at the Paris Air Show. Michael Zorn, Jake's boss, is on a whirlwind tour of Asia to wrap up billion dollar contracts as people switch to Hammond for the latest jumbo jet.

But the retreat must go on. Jake Landry, Michael's assistant, is tapped to take his place. He knows the most about the company's new plane and latest multibillion dollar gamble. He also knows why the competitor's plane crashed--and knows whether the same problem plagues the Hammond entry.

Landry is the anti-hero you want to root for, against all odds. The pain in his past has equipped him for the present. And his steel-trap mind, which never lets a problem loose, uncovers the real reason the entire executive team is taken hostage. Only Landry and his old girl friend, Ali, (now CEO Tyson's executive assistant) have the courage to step up against the military trained thugs. Who knew that guns, knives, and barroom brawling should have been on Jake's resume? Is it just a ransom scheme--or is something much more sinister.

Finder brilliantly paints a clear picture of corporate power plays, the flaws of technology, and bribery as a sales technique.

Armchair Interview says: This book captures what desperate measures desperate men will take.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An incredible premise, great action, poor characterization Sept. 4 2007
By Bill Garrison - Published on Amazon.com
Joseph Finder's latest corporate suspense thriller, POWER PLAY, is action packed but poor characterization keeps it from being the break out novel in had the potential to be. Jake Landry is a junior executive at Hammond Aerospace that gets invited to a corporate retreat in the remote forests of Canada. Jake is a last minute fill-in for his boss and quickly feels out of place among the corporate big wigs and high rollers. New CEO Cheryl Tobin enlists Jake's help. She is conducting an investigation into possible corruption among the executives. The group of around 15 arrives at the remote lodge, where phones and laptops are useless in the isolated terrain. Jake finds he does have one ally in Ali, his ex-girlfriend who is now the CEO's top assistant. Jake's internal investigation is disrupted when a bunch of mountain men hillbillies raid a dinner and take the group hostage. What looks like a robbery by a bunch of goons turns out to be much more, and Jake may be the only hope any of them have getting out alive.

I loved the premise of the novel, like DIE HARD in a mountain lodge. Finder continues to be one of the premier corporate suspense writers out there. His research into the aerospace industry is flawless and deep. The twists and turns are frequent and unexpected. The novel is sprinkled with flashbacks to Jake's past, where we learn how he became a man that can, by himself, take on a group of goons. The major flaw in the novel is the viewpoint. The novel is all told from Jake's point of view. This novel takes place over a few days and includes a large cast of characters that play important roles. We are meeting most of these characters for the first time, just as Jake is, and therefore only get surface impressions. Most of the executives of Hammond seem interchangeable and stereotypical. A few of these characters were worthy of deeper explanation, yet we only get a surface glance at their motivations and history.

Without getting to know the characters better, I found it hard to have too deep of a stake in what happened in the novel. I still enjoyed it and recommend it, but I believe this novel could have been incredible had Finder found a way to give the large cast of characters more depth.
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