Sunday, April 11, 2021

‘Power Play’ by Joseph Finder




“Well, you know, a wise man once said that one of the great tragedies of our century is that a man can live his whole life and never know if he’s a coward or not.”

Told in the first person point of view, this business thriller follows a junior executive as he attends an exclusive leadership retreat.

Jake Landry thinks he is chosen to attend because the CEO of Hammond Aerospace Corporation–Cheryl Tobin–needs someone who can talk knowledgeably about the 880. He has five hours to pack his bags and say goodbye to his adorable and clingy dog. The retreat is an outdoorsy type of annual event for the top executives only to attend, and now Jake–who wasn’t even sure he owned a tie–finds himself out of his depth about everything except why a plane constructed by another company might have crashed. He soon learns that he’s caught the middle of a power struggle between the CEO and another top executive, that his ex-girlfriend is the assistant to the CEO, and that he’s not sure who to trust.



The pacing of the novel, present story peppered with bits of Jake’s past, give the reader glimpses of why Jake just happens to be the right guy to handle the situation, to tell the story, and to be the protagonist. The author, through Jake’s eyes, paints vivid pictures about each character, and it’s like getting an inside view into the lanes of the upper echelon of a corporation, from the description of the plane’s opulence to the arrogance ingrained in the executives from years of high-powered positions.

They arrive at their destination, a luxury lodge with no access to cell phones or internet. Pretty convenient when, during their first dinner, a group of rough men looking like wayward hunters crash the party and decide to take the executives as hostages. As always, I’m challenged at sharing exactly what I enjoyed about this book without giving away spoilers. Simply put, hunters arrive and decide to demand a ransom from the corporation.

What originates as a seemingly random give us your wallets and jewelry soon turns into wire us a hundred million, and even with safety protocols in place for such situations, only one person at the retreat takes notice of the inconsistencies.

“A knife at a gun fight, as the old saying goes.”

Jake is a fish out of water, and perhaps because of his unique viewpoint, being the odd man out, he is the one who can see past the ruse and looks deeper into the situation. He notices a steak knife and risks his life to hide it on his person. Also, he recognizes that their captors might not really be hunters, as the other executives believe. He sees details in the captors that make him doubt their authenticity of the soft cover of being hunters, and perhaps this hostage situation isn’t exactly as it seems–a random but lucky happenstance for the hunters to take advantage of the wealthy executives.

“Power Play” is a book that displays the author’s knowledge regarding finances, corporate espionage, and mercenary tactics. It is a book that places a female as the CEO, giving the woman the authenticity needed to be a strong leader, and it is a book where the author takes the time to infuse specific adjectives regarding each character, making it a comfortable read, easy for the readers to create the images of everyone: alligator smiles, humiliated like a whipped dog, icicles dripping from every word…

As always, thanks for your time!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marisa Cleveland loves to laugh, hates to cry, and does both often. She has a master’s degree from George Mason University and joined The Seymour Agency after she ended an eight-year career teaching students language arts, grades 6-12. Previous to teaching, she worked as an assistant director for a graduate school in Washington, D.C., before settling in Southwest Florida over a decade ago. As a former gymnast, cheerleader, and dancer, she understands the importance of balance, and she encourages everyone to stay flexible. Cleveland is a Leadership Marco 2015 alum, and she loves connecting with other readers through social media. Though she’s a painfully private introvert, she can be reached through her website: or follow her journey on Twitter: @marisacleveland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *