St. Martin's Press, May 16, 2006
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Jason Steadman is a mid-level salesman for Entronics, a Japanese owned corporation that sells high tech plasma monitors and LCD flatscreens. Steadman's slightly overweight, he's got a mortgage, a beautiful wife Kate who's getting in-vitro fertilization treatments, and life is comfortable for him. Kate thinks it's time for Jason to move up the corporate ladder and ask for a promotion. His boss Gordy thinks Jason doesn't have what it takes to be division manager.
Driving home from work Jason runs his Acura into a ditch while distracted with his cell phone. He calls the local towing company and meets a man who will change his life---Kurt Semko. Semko, the tow truck guy, is a former Special Forces soldier. Steadman and Semko form an unlikely friendship when Jason invites Kurt to join the company softball team. The team needs a pitcher and one thing leads to another until Jason ends up recommending Kurt for a position in the corporate security offices of Entronics. Kurt appreciates Jason helping him get the job. His relationship tenet is, "no better friend, no worse enemy". By the time Jason discovers exactly what lengths Kurt will go to for his friends, he's already in too deep. Jason must access his own killer instinct or everything and everyone he cares about will be in jeopardy.
KILLER INSTINCT is a first class thriller. It's a solid action suspense tale, well written with a pace that accelerates to lightning fast speed. Mr. Finder has created an authentic corporate backdrop to launch the drama of a ordinary friendship that turns deadly. Jason Steadman's metamorphosis from a mid-level, undistinguished salesman to a corporate go-getter is interesting to see---his final emergence into a man in touch with his inner warrior is terrifying and believable. It will keep you riveted with chilling surprises till the last page is turned.
Mr. Finder has written two other corporate based novels, COMPANY MAN (2005) and PARANOIA (2004). Twentieth Century Fox made his legal military thriller HIGH CRIMES (1999) into a movie featuring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. It is easy to imagine KILLER INSTINCT being produced as a major film. It will definitely be on my list of favorite books of 2006.
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