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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Our Book Club in the News!

It was exciting to see book clubs featured in a recent issue of our regional newspaper, the Cape Ann Beacon... and to get coverage for our local library and our Mystery Book Club. So with this post, the cat is out of the bag! You will learn the identity/location of the library book club I referred to in various initial posts as well as my real identity! Makes me think of a Superman plot where Lois finds out about Clark Kent.

OK- here we are... well not quite. We had about 4 more members arrive after the photographer left. This picture was taken from the stacks/upper level. Looks almost like the setting for a mystery, don't you think? We have a grand little library building.

In the next picture, you can see Mike, our assistant librarian and moderator just to the left of the table lamp listening patiently to the guy to the right (me) make a point about Joe Finder's Paranoia. You can tell from the picture that we are a bit of a handful for our moderator-- it is not unusual to have more than one conversation going on at once. We are very animated throughout our meetings.

We meet at the Manchester Public Library, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. And you can read the news story about book clubs here.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Are high tech companies paranoid?

Oh yeah. My personal experience is that competition is fierce and security is strict. In several companies I visited, your escort goes into the rest room with you. This is not true of all companies in any way, but it is real enough.

So I found Joe Finder's Paranoia quite fascinating. In fact, it was one of my best reading experiences in a year.

Finder captured the corporate vocabulary and conversation really well, accurately reflecting the tone of the engineers and senior managers as well as the lower level employees.

Finder's previous novels made use of his occupational background with the CIA to create stories of international intrigue; this was his first book in a corporate setting (succeeding books are also set in a corporate world). Paranoia is a fascinating concoction of corporate espionage. It is way over the top, especially the ending which caught me totally off-guard. Still Finder makes the unbelievable plot totally plausible because the characters and corporate setting are so realistic. As was discussed in our library book club, he is just as successful as Gary Braver is in Flashback. Braver's thriller also "sucks you in" because the science references and nursing home settings are so totally believable. The plot therefore becomes plausible. Just so, Finder's corporate descriptions and high tech references allow you to move into that world with your credibility radar turned low.

Is real-world corporate espionage even a little bit like the book? See what Finder says.

There is also a theme in this book, along the lines of Who can you trust? Who are your real friends? It was not in your face, but it was there and I liked that. I must say that I really related to the relationship of the main character to his obnoxiously cranky and ill father. Well done, and absolutely part of the plot and theme.

I have not read Power Play, Finder's newest book, but I have read Killer Instinct and Company Man. I liked Paranoia the best. And although Killer Instinct won the Thriller Award, three of us (in our library Mystery Book Club) liked Paranoia better.

Also, Finder has an awesome author website with lots of great information.

2009 POLL #2--Do Mystery Stories and Political Bias Mix? What is closest to your view?