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Company Man Hardcover – March 31, 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 162 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though Finder has written several novels—including one made into the film High Crimes—he hit bestseller lists in a big way only with last year's terrific Paranoia, so this follow-up can be considered a test of his consistency, critically and commercially. While it doesn't dazzle as Paranoia did, this is a solid, engrossing thriller that takes a few risks. Finder's primary risk is a protagonist who, while basically decent, is no paragon. Nick Conover, the youngish CEO of the Stratton Corporation, in Fenwick, Mich., has fired half of the high-end office furniture company's 10,000 employees at the bidding of new ownership in Boston. As a result, much of Fenwick hates Nick, including the person who has been breaking into his mansion and scribbling "No Hiding Place" on the walls, and who then kills the Conover family dog—presumably Andrew Stadler, a fired employee and erstwhile mental patient. When Stadler accosts Nick one night, Nick, panicking, shoots him dead, and then, under the influence of his shady corporate security director, covers up the crime. The two cops assigned to the murder prove dogged, sending Nick into a generally beleaguered state that's slightly alleviated by his new romance with, of all people, the daughter of the murdered man, but exacerbated considerably by his discovery that his Boston masters intend to sell Stratton to Chinese government interests. A thriller like this rides on its characters, and Finder creates full-blooded ones here. As in Paranoia, his understanding of byzantine corporate politics is spot on, and the novel's pacing is strong, with steady suspense. Credibility wavers as Finder heaps Job-like trials upon Nick and then ends the book on an optimistic note, but there are few thriller fans who won't stay up to finish this assured tale.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Finder sets his sixth novel in a small town in Michigan, a place where nothing appears to be going well for anyone. The Stratton Corporation, which makes premium office furniture, has laid off half its workforce, and thousands of ex-employees are furious with the company's C.E.O., Nick Conover; one of them seems to be stalking him. The story alternates between Conover's perspective and that of an intensely religious policewoman. Finder skillfully places his story of corporate intrigue (who is trying to sell the company, and why?) in counterpoint to the unravelling of a family's secrets (why is Nick's son Lucas so disturbed?), and the plot, which also features rogue cops and at least one homicide, accelerates to a headlong finish. Along the way, we receive expert instruction in the technology of home-security devices, the perils of offshoring, and the attractions of Hawaii.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312319169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312319168
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,025,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Nick Conover has more than his share of troubles. As the CEO of Stratton Corporation, a major manufacturer of office furniture and cubicles, he was forced by his parent company to lay off five thousand workers. Now he is an outcast in his own hometown, since almost every resident was affected in some way by the layoffs. A disgruntled former employee has been breaking into his home and leaving threatening messages. The members of the board of his corporation appear to be acting behind his back and trying to force him out. He is a recent widower with a kitchen in the midst of a major remodeling and a teenage son who is having problems at home and in school. Sound bad? Well that's just the beginning. When he confronts the intruder who has been threatening him, things go very wrong, and soon he finds himself the target of a police investigation. As his problems mount, so does the tension. Nick has nowhere to hide.

Finder has continued in the tradition of his last novel "Paranoia" with another fast-paced and suspenseful story. This time, however, it's a combination of corporate thriller and murder mystery. Instead of examining the world of high tech, it explores a manufacturer of more down-to-earth products like desk chairs. There are interesting details about the design and manufacture of office equipment, and it's obvious that Finder did his homework on the topic.

Anyone who works in the corporate world or is close to someone who does will find that the ripple effects of Stratton's mammoth layoffs ring all too true. This makes Nick's "company man" portrayal a bit out of the ordinary, since he is a high level executive with a conscience about the corporate buyouts, force reductions, and labor outsourcing that have become an integral part of today's business practices.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a fan of Joseph Finder, but don't purchase this book if you've already read COMPANY MAN.

NO HIDING PLACE is simply COMPANY MAN with a different title. It's not unusual for British publishers of an American author to use a different title than the one used in the US.

If you haven't read this book, I heartily recommend it. I loved this thriller, and I think it's probably Finder's best recent effort. It has the strongest character development and the most realistic plot of all his corporate thrillers.

If you like Harlan Coben, you should give Finder a try. I think Finder writes in a similar style, and is probably a little bit more original with his plotlines.
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Format: Hardcover
COMPANY MAN by Joseph Finder
March 26, 2005

COMPANY MAN is the story of a CEO (Nick Conover) of a large office furniture manufacturer who finds himself involved in a murder, while at the same time is dealing with the death of his wife and the impact it has on his children.

Nick works for Stratton, a company that makes high-end office furniture, and they have been in business for a few generations. Unfortunately, things have been rocky since Nick took over, and has had to lay off hundreds of employees. It's a typical scenario in the business world, but Stratton is the main employer for this small town of Fenwick, Michigan, where almost everyone knows someone that was employed there or had been laid off. Nick goes from being popular guy to "the slasher".

As the story begins, the reader finds out that Nick's home has been broken into more than once, and although nothing is ever stolen, someone has been writing graffiti on his walls. The police do not see this as a threat, even after they find the family dog in the pool, butchered. Soon after, his friend Eddie, who also happens to be Nick's director of security at Stratton, helps him install a security system as well as try to find out who could possibly be the person doing this to Nick and the family. Eddie suspects an ex-employee by the name of Andrew Stadler who was supposedly schizophrenic and had been part of the layoffs, except he quit before they could actually lay him off.

One night Nick kills Andrew in self-defense. Andrew had shown up in the yard (the brand new security system alerted Nick) and from there, his nightmares begin. Eddie comes to the rescue once again, but he wants to cover up the murder.
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Format: Hardcover
Joseph Finder has combined his skill of writing detail about corporate dealings, boardroom meetings and business with a fast-paced, easy-read thriller.

This book has several tangents that are interesting and work as threads that eventually weave together to present a great Finder tapestry. He delves into the cutthroat underworld of high corporate business and deceiptfulness of the protagonist's friends at work. Finder also gets into family, the loss of a loved one and how it affects others, psychology, abandonment, good versus evil (in both Nick Conover and the detective).

By now, you've read the plot line. I won't go into that. Instead, I am more pleased with Finder's writing. The book is large.. some 500+ pages, but it reads like butter once you get into it. Some reviewer here said Finder was the "Grisham of the boardroom." Don't do that to Mr. Finder. Grisham writes in passive voice and trite plots. Company Man is a three-dimensional story that is enjoyable to read and it makes you think. It moved me enough to finish the book and then immediately come here to crow about it.
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