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Power Play Hardcover – August 21, 2007

160 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If Jake Landry, a tough guy with an understanding of airplane engineering and an innate grasp of corporate politics, is too good to be true, he's still fun to watch in this sleek thriller from bestseller Finder (Killer Instinct). A junior executive at California's Hammond Aerospace, Landry possesses a remarkably flexible intelligence, which lands him on a high-end corporate weekend at a lodge called Rivers Inlet, where the new CEO, Cheryl Tobin, discreetly asks Landry to help her identify corrupt executives. Almost immediately, the lodge is assailed by five men who at first appear to be hunters turned vicious at the sight of the weekend participants' enormous wealth. As they interrogate the executives, however, it becomes clear that they know quite a bit about Hammond and its workings. Landry's job, then, is to figure out their purpose as well as rescue the entire crew. Tight, fluid writing more than compensates for the occasional plot implausibility. 200,000 first printing; author tour. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Fans agree that Joseph Finder (Company Man, 2005; Killer Instinct, ***1/2 Sept/Oct 2006) has perfected the corporate thriller, favoring the rocket engine of plot over the quiet architecture of character. His eighth novel, Power Play, races along by omitting the texture and depth that might slow the pace; only the protagonist, Jake Landry, is fleshed out. Critics acknowledge this flaw but forgive the author as they're dragged along by the fast-paced action. The New York Times suggests that Finder's novels "could appeal to a broader audience than the one for which they aim." Members of that broader audience might notice the flat characters and occasional clichŽs, but the suspense and tension will keep them turning the pages.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (August 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312347480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312347482
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #836,344 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

44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Joseph VINE VOICE on September 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schwinghammer VINE VOICE on September 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By betty l. dravis VINE VOICE on September 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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.
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