Power Play: A Novel

Power Play: A Novel

by Joseph Finder

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It was the perfect retreat for a troubled company.  No cell phones.  No BlackBerrys.  No cars.  Just a luxurious, remote lodge surrounded by thousands of miles of wilderness.
     All the top officers of the Hammond Aerospace Corporation are there.  And one last-minute substitute — a junior executive named Jake Landry.  He's a steady, modest, and taciturn guy with a gift for keeping his head down and a turbulent past he's trying to put behind him.  
Jake's uncomfortable with all the power players he's been thrown in with, with all the swaggering and the posturing.  The only person there he knows is the female CEO's assistant—his ex-girlfriend, Ali.
     When a band of backwoods hunters crash the opening-night dinner, the executives suddenly find themselves held hostage by armed men who will do anything, to anyone, to get their hands on the largest ransom in history.  Now, terrified and desperate and cut off from the rest of the world, the captives are at the mercy of hard men with guns who may not be what they seem. 
     The corporate big shots hadn't wanted Jake there.  But now he's the only one who can save them. 
     Power Play is a non-stop, pulse-pounding, high-stakes thriller that will hold the reader riveted until the very last page.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250127785
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 12/05/2017
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 200,493
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Joseph Finder is the author of several New York Times bestselling thrillers, including Buried Secrets, High Crimes, Paranoia and the first Nick Heller novel, Vanished. Killer Instinct won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Thriller, and Company Man won the Barry and Gumshoe Awards for Best Thriller. High Crimes was the basis of the Morgan Freeman/Ashley Judd movie, and both Paranoia and Killer Instinct are in development as major motion pictures. Born in Chicago, Finder studied Russian at Yale and Harvard. He was recruited by the CIA, but decided he preferred writing fiction. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Association for Former Intelligence Officers, he lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt

Power Play

By Finder, Joseph

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2007 Finder, Joseph
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312347482

Chapter One “We got trouble.” I recognized Zoë’s voice, but I didn’t turn around from my computer. I was too absorbed in a news report on the website AviationNow.com. A competitor’s new plane had crashed a couple of days ago, at the Paris Air Show. I wasn’t there, but my boss was, and so were all the other honchos at my company, so I’d heard all about it. At least no one was killed. And at least it wasn’t one of ours. I picked up my big black coffee mug—the hammond skycruiser: the future of flight—and took a sip. The coffee was cold and bitter. “You hear me, Landry? This is serious.” I swiveled slowly around in my chair. Zoë Robichaux was my boss’s admin. She had dyed copper hair and a ghostly pallor. She was in her mid-twenties and lived in El Segundo not too far from me, but she did a lot of club-hopping in L.A. at night. If the dress code at Hammond allowed, I suspected she’d have worn studded black leather every day, black fingernail polish, probably gotten everything pierced. Even parts of the body you don’t want to think about getting pierced. Then again, maybe she already did. I didn’t want to know. “Does this mean you didn’t get me abagel?” I said. “I was on my way down there when Mike called.
From Mumbai.” “What’s he doing in India? He told me he’d be back in the office today for a couple of hours before he leaves for the offsite.” “Yeah, well, Eurospatiale’s losing orders all over the place since their plane crashed.” “So Mike’s lined up meetings at Air India instead of coming back here,” I said. “Nice of him to tell me.” Mike Zorn was an executive vice president and the program manager in charge of building our brand-new wide-bodied passenger jet, the H-880, which we called the SkyCruiser. Four VPs and hundreds of people reported to him—engineers and designers and stress analysts and marketing and finance people. But Mike was always selling the hell out of the 880, which meant he was out of the office far more than he was in. So he’d hired a chief assistant—me—to make sure everything ran smoothly. Crack the whip if necessary. His jack-of-all-trades and U.N. translator, since I have enough of an engineering background to talk to the engineers in their own geeky language, talk finance with the money people, talk to the shop floor guys in the assembly plant who distrust the lardasses who sit in the office and keep revising and revising the damned drawings. Zoë looked uneasy. “Sorry, he wanted me to tell you, but I kind of forgot. Anyway, the point is, he wants you to get over to Fab.” “When?” “Like an hour ago.” The fabrication plant was the enormous factory where we were building part of the SkyCruiser. “Why?” I said. “What’s going on?” “I didn’t quite get it, but the head QA guy found something wrong with the vertical tail? And he just like shut down the whole production line? Like, pulled the switch?” I groaned. “That’s got to be Marty Kluza. Marty the one-man party.” The lead Quality Assurance inspector at the assembly plant was a famous pain in the ass. But he’d been at Hammond for fifteen years, and he was awfully good at his job, and if he wouldn’t let a part leave the factory, there was usually a good reason for it. “I don’t know. Anyway, like everyone at headquarters is totally freaking, and Mike wants you to deal with it. Now.” “Shit.” “You still want that bagel?” Zoë said.   Chapter Two I raced over in my Jeep. The fabrication plant was only a five-minute walk from the office building, but it was so immense—a quarter of a mile long—you could spend twenty minutes walking around to the right entrance. Whenever I walked across the factory floor—I came here maybe every couple of weeks—I was awestruck by the sheer scale. It was an enormous hangar big enough to contain ten football fields.
The vaulted ceiling was a hundred feet high. There were miles of catwalks and crane rails. The whole place was like the set of some futuristic sci-fi movie where robots run the world. There were more machines than people. The robotic Automated Guided Vehicle forklift zoomed around silently, carrying huge pallets of equipment and parts in its jaws. The autoclave, basically a pressure cooker, was thirty feet in diameter and a hundred feet long, as big as some traffic tunnels. The automated tape layers were as tall as two men, with spidery legs like the extraterrestrial creature in Alien, extruding yards of shiny black tape. Visitors were always surprised by how quiet it was here. That’s because we rarely used metal anymore—no more clanging and riveting. The SkyCruiser, you see, was 80 percent plastic. Well, not plastic, really. We used composites—layers of carbon-fiber tape soaked in epoxy glue, then baked at high temperature and pressure. Like Boeing and Airbus and Eurospatiale, we used as much composite as we could get away with because it’s a lot lighter than metal, and the lighter a plane is, the less fuel it’s going to use. Everyone likes to save money on fuel. Unfortunately, the whole process of making planes out of this stuff is sort of a black art. We basically experiment, see what works and what doesn’t. This doesn’t sound too reassuring, I know. If you’re a nervous flyer, this is already probably more than you want to know. Also like Boeing and Airbus and the others, we don’t really build our own planes anymore. We mostly assemble them, screw and glue them together from parts built all over the world. But here in Fab, we made exactly one part of the SkyCruiser: an incredibly important part called the vertical stabilizer—what you’d call the tail. It was five stories high. One of them was suspended from a gantry crane and surrounded by scaffolding. And underneath it I found Martin Kluza, moving a handheld device slowly along the black skin. He looked up with an expression of annoyance.  “What’s this, I get the kid? Where’s Mike?” “Out of town, so you get me. Your lucky day.” “Oh, great.” He liked to give me a hard time. Kluza was heavyset, around fifty, with a pink face and a small white goatee on his double chin. He had safety glasses on, like me, but instead of a yellow safety helmet, he was wearing an L.A. Dodgers cap. No one dared tell him what to do, not even the director of the plant. “Hey, didn’t you once tell me I was the smartest guy in the SkyCruiser Program?” “Correction: excluding myself,” Marty said. “I stand corrected. So I hear we’ve got a problem.” “I believe the word is ‘catastrophe.’ Check this out.” He led me over to a video display terminal on a rolling cart, tapped quickly at the keys. A green blob danced across the screen, then a jagged red line slashed through it. “See that red line?” he said. “That’s the bond line between the skin and the spars, okay? About a quarter of an inch in.” “Cool,” I said. “This is better than Xbox 360.
Looks like you got a disbond, huh?” “That’s not a disbond,” he said. “It’s a kissing bond.” “Kissing bond,” I said. “Gotta love that phrase.” That referred to when two pieces of composite were right next to each other, no space between, but weren’t stuck together. In my line of work, we say they’re in “intimate contact” but haven’t “bonded.” Is that a metaphor or what? “The C-scan didn’t pick up any disbonds or delaminations, but for some crazy reason I decided to put one of them through a shake-table vibe test to check out the flutter and the flex/rigid dynamics, and that’s when I discovered a discrepancy in the frequency signature.” “If you’re trying to snow me with all this technical gobbledygook, it’s not going to work.” He looked at me sternly for a few seconds, then realized I was giving him shit right back. “Fortunately, this new laser-shot peening diagnostic found the glitch. We’re going to have to scrap every single one.” “You can’t do that, Marty.” “You want these vertical stabilizers flying apart at thirty-five thousand feet with three hundred people aboard? I don’t think so.” “There’s no fix?” “If I could figure out where the defect is, yeah. But I can’t.” “Maybe they were overbaked? Or underbaked?” “Landry.” “Contaminants?” “Landry, you could eat off the floor here.” “Remember when some numbskull used that Loctite silicone spray inside the clean room and ruined a whole day’s production?” “That guy hasn’t worked here in two years, Landry.” “Maybe you got a bad lot of Hexocyte.” That was the epoxy adhesive film they used to bond the composite skin to the understructure. “The supplier’s got a perfect record on that.” “So maybe someone left the backing paper on.” “On every single piece of adhesive? No one’s that brain-dead. Not even in this place.” “Will you scan this bar code?
I want to check the inventory log.” I handed him a tag I’d taken from a roll of Hexocyte adhesive film. He brought it over to another console, scanned it. The screen filled up with a series of dates and temperatures. I walked over to the screen and studied it for a minute or so. “Marty,” I said. “I’ll be back in a few. I’m going to take a walk down to Shipping and Receiving.” “You’re wasting your time,” he said. Copyright © 2007 by Joseph Finder. All rights reserved. 


Excerpted from Power Play by Finder, Joseph Copyright © 2007 by Finder, Joseph. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Power Play 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
FrancesEvlin More than 1 year ago
Joseph Finder really knows how to create suspense. Just when you think the problem will be resolved, up pops another obstacle. I tagged it for topical conversation because the issue of wealthy, greedy corporate individuals/executives is current and believable. Yes, Mr. On-the-way-up, watch your back.
Blackhorse More than 1 year ago
The intriguing plot provides food for thought in a world that seems fixated on security concerns and terroristic attacks. The idea of holding an entire corporate board hostage in a remote hunting lodge was for this reader unique. However, only some of the corporate financial security measures described and entertwined were interesting and surprising. The writer's style left me cold--mini-pschology pans regarding too many of the unneccessary characters resulted in a somewhat choppy read. In many respects one might arrive at the conclusion the book was written in numerous small pieces, then assembled by a computer. This was my first Finder book. The every-other-chapter throw back references to the main character's rough child and teen life, threatening to unleash a super monster killer hidden in the main character's psyche, did not work for me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fine effort by Finder. In fact, this may be in my top ten of 2007. What was more exciting than Jake Landry's past, more so even than the girl he was with, even more than the shocking murder that I never saw coming is that no character was safe in this thrill-a-minute mystery. Any one of them could have ended up dead at any moment, and some did. It really keeps you aware of each person's position, and their possible relationship with the kidnappers. Just going through this rewiew makes me want to read it again. A must read for lovers of action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Power Play is a very well written book. I simply kept reading and reading. I finished this book in only a couple of hours. The plot was well written. This was my first Joseph Finder book. The book wa also action packed, and suspenseful. After this book i just have to read another Joseph Fimder book.
bushard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Finder is a good story teller. Jake Landrey is the hero at an upscale resort in Canada; where his company is having a special deal for upper Management and Jake substitutes for his boss who is sick.
debs4jc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jake is an underling at his company, so he is surprised to suddenly be told he is going to their private retreat with all the executives in the Candadian wilderness. Jake figures out why he was invited when he spots his ex-girlfriend Ali with the CEO as her personal assistant. Jake is not into playing the corporate power game, but the skills that he learned from his secret past may be the only thing that keeps him alive when a group of armed men take over the retreat center and hold all of the executives hostage for money.I loved the fast paced action of this book and the way the author gradually revealed details about the past that explained the present events. The author was great about revealing just enough to keep me guessing the entire way through. I loved this suspense and highly recommend this to those who like page-turners filled with thrills and suspense.
Reacherfan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jake Landry has to go on a corporate "team building" weekend. This isn't just for anyone, just the big shots at the corporate level at a company, and Jake isn't one of them. He doesn't want to be there, and the Powers that Be at the company don't want him there because they don't think he's worthy. As they are having their first banquet, some hunters come in and ruin the party. The problem is that they're not really hunters but major bas guys who have more than hunting on their mind. What they want to do is to kidnap all of the executives and an unGodly ransom. Jake is the only one who sees this is more than a simple kidnapping, something much much bigger. It's up to Jake to stop these men. If Jake can't do it, then pretty much everyone will be killed. The problem is that Jake isn't a pencil pushing desk jockey, he knows a thing or two. I don't want to say to much more in fear of spoiling the plot. I really liked the character of Jake. As the story unfolds, you read about his past and what made him the way he is. Why he pretty much don't take garbage from anyone. His character has depth. I also liked the leader of the bad guys, he has a lot of character depth as well. This is just such a fun read, I highly suggest it!
Chris_P_Bacon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fast paced thriller that I really enjoyed reading.This was my first book by this author after hearing a review on the radio.I shall certainly be reading some more.Not literature but a great page turner.
KevinJoseph on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
yaakov on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Power Play is a quick read, but make sure you have a few hours as its hard to put down. The book deals with corporate intrigue and hostage taking in our present day post Enron world. It¿s set at a corporate retreat, where the guests have no email or telephone access. Sounds great until the execuitives are taken hostage by apparent local hunters.There is a high level of action, without too much complexity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JCD2 More than 1 year ago
Executives having a corporate retreat in a Canadian hunting lodge - that's the begining of what looks like a corporate thriller. But then the executives are taken hostage by a group of armed men who appear to be redneck hunters looking for a big pay day. Nothing is as it seems. Some have called Joseph Finder the John Grisham of the corporate thriller.  I disagree. Joseph Finder is well-versed on the corporate world. His protagonist, Jake Landry, may start out looking like a suit but he becomes the kick-ass hero of the story. This was a fast paced, greatly entertaining story.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked his other books better. I found it slow and drawn out in places, so skimmed some of it.
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This is my first Joseph Finder book and I will definitely either listen to or read another. However, one thing I did not like about it was the numerous characters. I found it confusing when the author would reference a character by his first name and then later reference him by his last name, you had to stop and think who he was and what position he held in the company or what action he played earlier in a chapter. I eventually went back and relistened to several chapters just to get a better sense. Other than that, the book kept my interest and I would recommend it.
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