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Killer Instinct Audio CD – Bargain Price, July 21, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Finder's newest business thriller (after Company Man), Jason Steadman, a middle-management salesman for an international electronics firm, befriends mysteriously well-connected tow-truck driver Kurt Semko and suddenly finds himself on the fast track to the executive suite, thanks mainly to the misfortunes of others. When a suspicious Steadman confronts Semko, his benefactor turns into a deadly foe who threatens to kill him, his wife and newborn baby. Finder's informed view of the dark side of the corporate world is deliciously devious and he is shrewd and witty enough to provide his likable hero with a particularly credible weapon against the seemingly omnipotent opponent: his salesmanship. Steadman, the narrator of this terrifying tale, is blessed with the gift of gab, and Scott Brick, one of the busier audio book performers, smoothly adjusts his delivery to the novel's carefully crafted patter and pacing. This includes quick shifts of tenor and tone to give voice to the self-confident sociopath Semko, Steadman's level-headed but needy wife, and his disgruntled and pink-slip–prone co-workers. Finder has created first-class material, but here it's Brick's impressive pitch that makes the sale. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's hardcover. (Reviews, Mar. 13). (May.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Both Paranoia (2003) and Company Man (2005) captured the power plays implicit in the business world and put Joseph Finder at the top of the corporate thriller game. Killer Instinct doesn't disappoint. Finder, who convincingly portrays how salesmen close the deal in a cutthroat environment, focuses on character development: Steadman's wife, for example, is no Lady Macbeth but an empathetic character. Although the plot never suffers, a few reviewers called it more predictable and less intricately conceived than those of Finder's other books. Despite this criticism, Killer Instinct shows that "political thrillers and spy novels are tame compared to what goes on in the cubicles and offices" (South Florida Sun-Sentinel).

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Abridged edition (July 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427208093
  • ASIN: B007HWJX1G
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,052,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joseph Finder's plan was to become a spy. Or maybe a professor of Russian history. Instead he became a bestselling thriller writer, and winner of the Strand Critics Award for Best Novel for BURIED SECRETS (2011), winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel for KILLER INSTINCT (2006) and winner of the Barry and Gumshoe Awards for Best Thriller for COMPANY MAN (2005).

Born in Chicago, Joe spent his early childhood living around the world, including Afghanistan and the Philippines. In fact, Joe's first language -- even before English -- was Farsi, which he spoke as a child in Kabul. After a stint in Bellingham, WA, his family finally settled outside of Albany, NY.

After taking a high school seminar on the literature and history of Russia, Joe was hooked. He went on to major in Russian studies at Yale, where he also sang with the school's legendary a cappella group, the Whiffenpoofs (and likes to boast that he sang next to Ella Fitzgerald, an honorary Whiffenpoof). Joe graduated summa cum laude from Yale College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, then completed a master's degree at the Harvard Russian Research Center, and later taught on the Harvard faculty. He was recruited to the Central Intelligence Agency but eventually decided he preferred writing fiction.

His first book, published in 1983 when Joe was only 24, was RED CARPET: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE KREMLIN AND AMERICA'S MOST POWERFUL BUSINESSMEN, the first book to reveal that the controversial multi-millionaire Dr. Armand Hammer, the CEO of Occidental Petroleum, had worked for Soviet intelligence in the 1920s and 1930s. (This book is no longer in print.)

But RED CARPET was only part of the story that Joe wanted to tell. So he wrote his first novel - the only way he could legally tell the whole Armand Hammer saga. Published in 1991, THE MOSCOW CLUB described events whose factual truth would only be revealed many years later. THE MOSCOW CLUB was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the ten best spy thrillers of all time and was published in thirty foreign countries.

What followed were three more critically-acclaimed thrillers - EXTRAORDINARY POWERS, THE ZERO HOUR (sold to Twentieth-Century Fox for a record sum) and HIGH CRIMES, which became a 2002 Fox film starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman. Joe was invited on the movie set and even cast for a nonspeaking role as a JAG prosecutor.

Published in 2004, PARANOIA represented a major turning point in Joe's career, landing on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists, among others. It was his first book to use the ruthless drive, corruption and conspiracy of the corporate world as riveting plotline. PARANOIA was called "[with] twists aplenty..." by Entertainment Weekly. A major motion picture based on PARANOIA is in production now and scheduled for release on August 16, 2013.

Joe's next three novels - COMPANY MAN, KILLER INSTINCT and POWER PLAY - were all bestsellers in which things were decidedly not business as usual. He was quickly hailed as "the CEO of suspense."

In VANISHED, published August 2009 by St. Martin's Press and an immediate bestseller, Joe introduced his new continuing character, "private spy" Nick Heller. Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator - exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden. He's a guy you don't want to mess with. He's also the man you call when you need a problem fixed. The second novel in the series, BURIED SECRETS, was published June 2011.

In addition to his fiction, Joe does occasional work for Hollywood, is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and Council on Foreign Relations, and has written on espionage and international affairs for a number of publications, including, Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Republic. He roots for the Boston Red Sox and lives in Boston with his wife, daughter, and a needy golden retriever, Mia, a dropout from seeing-eye-dog school.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mr James N Simpson on June 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Killer Instinct, although not as fast paced a thriller as Paranoia or Company Man and to be honest not in the same masterpiece quality league as those novels nevertheless is still a great read.

In Killer Instinct, Jason Steadman lives a highly stressful corporate life in the fast paced area of sales in one of the world's major TV and other electronic appliance suppliers. Job security is a big issue, his boss treats him like a doormat as well as steals his ideas and there are rumours going around that the Tokyo owners will soon decide if they are to be shipped to Dallas, which his pregnant wife refuses to contemplate or closed down all together when merged with other acquisitions. Stressed out and driving while talking on his mobile phone he looses control and his badly damaged car needs to be towed. Having nothing in common with Kurk the tow truck driver on the long ride to the garage, who is a dishonourably discharged Iraq/Afghanistan serving special forces soldier, he comments on a baseball game call and soon discovers they share a passion for the game. Jason's company softball team is terrible so he invites the driver to come along and as they become better friends Jason helps the poor guy out and gets him a job in security in the company. Kurk tells him he never forgets a favour and soon every hurdle the Jason whinges about seems to miraculously turn around in his favour. Soon Jason's rivals suspect Jason is responsible and when he confronts Kurk he realises he can only have Kurk as either a loyal brutally helpful friend or a deadly enemy.

A must read and if you haven't already done so also check out Paranoia and Company Man as well.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Finder tends to write about ordinary folks in the workplace confronted with extraordinary situations. The result is a riveting story filled with intensity and suspense, abounding with colorful characters and a maze of corkscrew plot twists. Granted, the scene where a character finds a 6 ft. diamondback rattlesnake in his spouses bed is reminiscent of The Godfather (finding a severed horses head in your bed) but this can be forgiven because on the whole the tale is well written and enormously satisfying. This book is nearly impossible to put down. Finder's first book, Paranoia, was a spectacular, his second, The Company Man, somewhat of a disappointment....but with Killer Instinct he's back in top form. This book is a definite winner.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Once again, Joseph Finder has found intrigue and suspense in the most unlikely of settings: midlevel business. Jason Steadman is a sales associate, neither at the top or at the bottom of his department, a guy who loves to play softball on the company team and who is generally happy with the status quo -- until that is, his wife Kate hints that he should be more ambitious. Jason, though, is down on his luck. His rival Trevor, who tops him in both sales and softball skills, is sure to get the promotion that has just opened up. When Jason drives his Audi into a ditch because he was trying to do too much at once, he meets tow-truck driver, former minor league pitcher, ex-Special Forces Kurt. They take a liking to each other on the drive to the auto body shop, so it seems only natural when Jason offers to get Kurt a better job, one in security, at his company, Entronics. Kurt never forgets a favor, but when Jason's rivals for the promotion start dropping away for mysterious reasons, Jason starts getting nervous. Is Kurt sabotaging other people's work and lives to Jason can go straight to the top? Or is all that happens mere coincidence? What is more important: ethics or pleasing his beautiful wife? When the stakes turn deadly, Jason must decide how he can both keep his new job and get rid of Kurt. The only problem is, no one gets rid of Kurt.

Finder is a master at creating suspense in small, incremental moments that build toward the end. Killer Instinct is not the kind of novel that prompts the reader to read quickly just to see what happens but instead is enjoyable on every page.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By N. Larrabee on June 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Jason Steadman is in his fourth year as a salesman for Entronics, a major electronics company. He was once salesman of the month but now is starting to feel burnt-out. He meets Kurt Semko, a former Navy Seal, when he accidentally drove his car off the road trying to do too many things at once. Jason invites him to drop by his company's slow-pitch game when he hears Kurt was once drafted by the majors. Jason also pushes to get Kurt hired at Entronics. His wife is pushing him to push for a long overdue promotion. Two others are up for the same promotion. Bad things or just coincidences start to happen to everyone else but Jason. As Jason succeeds on the job and gets noticed by his bosses; he tries to stop Kurt from helping him. Great characters and plot keep you riveted to the end.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Love Historical Fiction on June 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was somewhat surprised of the reviews written by a few detractors of this novel. I found the story to be very suspenseful, a real page turner.

Jason Steadman is a saleperson for a high tech company that is continually attempting to increase its niche in the electronics arena. Gordy, his scum bag boss, is constantly stealing Jason's ideas while thinking of ways to promote one of his highly aggressive peers. You see, Jason does not have the killer instinct. Jason's wife, who grew up somewhat of a spoiled rich kid, loves her husband but continully strives to illustrate to Jason just how much more he is capable of accomplishing in his career.

Along comes Kurt Sempko, a dishonorably charged Special Forces agent who works part time for a towing company. They meet when Jason flips his car while talking to his wife while driving home. Jason befriends Kurt and finds him a job as head of security for his firm.

Kurt utilizes his expertice in electronic gadgetry and espionage, that he learned while in the Special Forces, to help Jason climb the corportate ladder. Jason is fully aware of the underhanded means by which Kurt accomplishes his tasks and looks the other way at first. However, when people begin to get hurt, or worse, well, that's another story.

But, you see, breaking off a friendship with Kurt may not be the healthiest thing to do.

Read on, you'll be glad you did. 4.5 stars
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