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    Review of KILLER INSTINCT by Joseph Finder (see his website)

    St. Martin's Press, May, 2006

    Jason Steadman might be getting a bit of a pot belly from too many late-night customer dinners and drinks, but he's still a top salesman for Entronics--Japanese-owned maker of plasma-screen displays. When the sales VP quits, Jason's wife pressures him into applying for the job. Although the man he'd be reporting to prefers other salesmen for the job, Jason's luck seemed to change the minute he met an ex-special forces tow-truck driver and talked him into joining the Entronics softball team and finally corporate security. Gradually, though, Jason starts to wonder whether everything that's happening to him--and to everyone else in his company, really is luck. Could it be that someone is creating their own luck? If so, is Jason in too deep?

    Author Joseph Finder (see more reviews of novels by Finder) is an expert at taking everyman heroes (a PDA product manager in Paranoia, an office furniture executive in Company Man) and really brings this art to focus with a monitor salesman in KILLER INSTINCT. From his assortment of motivational tapes and posters to his tendency to overspend his income to his use of sales tricks and techniques, Jason could be one of thousands of high-tech salesmen throughout the world. Putting an everyman on the spot, showing him take the first easy, almost invisible, steps toward a horrible resolution definitely creates reader buy-in.

    The ex-special forces character, Kurt Semko, makes a wonderful antagonist. His charm and cheerful sociopathy make him likable to both readers and everyone he meets--which makes the gradual realization that he is dangerous and may turn on the people who were his friends all the more frightening. His training and the array of high-tech equipment his new job in corporate security give him make him an opponent who simply can't be underestimated.

    KILLER INSTINCT grabbed me by the throat. For two nights while I was in the midst of this story, I had problems going to sleep worrying about how Jason could possibly escape. I'm happy to recommend this one.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 2/02/06

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    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).

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