three-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
10-May-June-2004
user_rating: 
0

A-ParanoiaAdam Cassidy, 26, is a smart, bored, low-level employee at Wyatt Telecom. When he decides to throw a retirement party for an assistant foreman using $78,000 of company funds and gets caught, the company gives him a choice. He can either go to jail for embezzlement or become a spy at Wyatt's main competitor, Trion, as it prepares to launch an industry-changing product. Soon Adam finds himself deep inside Trion Systems enjoying all the trimmings: a company car, luxury apartment, and a huge salary. Now he simply has to close the deal by double-crossing his new boss (and friendly father-figure). Wouldn't you know, it's not as easy as he hoped.
St. Martin's Press. 426 pages. $24.95.

USA Today 3.5 of 5 Stars
"This year's first contender for Page Turner of the Year. ... The lack of unlikely heroics makes the book all the more chilling and underscores Finder's message: 'This could happen to you.' The corporate thriller just got an upgrade." Edward Nawotka

Boston Globe 3 of 5 Stars
"What sets Paranoia apart from others of its genre is not only Finder's fun, chatty prose, but also his command of the setting. ... [T]he author knows his spy stuff, and has researched well the ins and outs of post-Enron corporate security." Clea Simon

Denver Post 3 of 5 Stars
"Paranoia is a lot of flash and dazzle, but Finder also has a good ear for dialogue. The corporate and technical lingo leaps off the page without being obtrusive and off-putting." Tom Walker

NY Times 3 of 5 Stars
"So Paranoia cannot be read as an exercise in style. But as a savvy genre piece with built-in momentum, it works just fine." Janet Maslin

Washington Post 1 of 5 Stars
"[Paranoia] strikes me as another example of the dumbed-down, manipulative junk that publishers think they can force-feed to the mass audience. ... The publisher claims that with this novel Finder has 're-imagined the contemporary thriller.' Personally I say it's dog food and to hell with it." Patrick Anderson

Critical Summary

Paranoia, packed with twists, turns, status details, and high-tech gobbledygook, moves with a John Grisham-like momentum. Finder's fifth novel has already been optioned for film, for good reason. Many reviewers were won over by the narrator's likeable voice, and empathized with his sweat-inducing ethical dilemmas. Yes, the novel is a bit cliched, the characters are cardboard, and much of the action takes place behind a computer desk. But overall, it's an entertaining page-turner. Unless you're the Washington Post, which points to Paranoia as a sign of the coming publishing apocalypse in which only second-rate, banal thrillers make it to bookstore shelves. Let's hope it hasn't gone that far yet.