In Paranoia by Joseph Finder, young Adam Cassidy works in a low-level job at the huge high-tech firm Wyatt Technologies. When he decides to game the system and transfer company funds to pay for a retirement party for a man in the shipping department, his troubles begin. Big troubles. Threatening to send him to prison for years for embezzlement unless Adam cooperates, the company’s nasty, paranoid owner Nicholas Wyatt forces him to become an industrial spy. Nick Wyatt is “a guy so crooked he’d cheat on a prostate exam.” Nobody says no to Nick. Nobody. Ever.
“Nick Wyatt slept three hours a night, seemed to eat nothing but PowerBars for breakfast and lunch, was a nuclear reactor of nervous energy, perspired heavily. People called him ‘The Exterminator.'”
“‘Of course I’m paranoid,’ Nick says. ‘I want everyone who works for me to be paranoid. Success demands paranoia.'”
Paranoia by Joseph Finder (2004) @@@@ (4 out of 5)
Adam’s assignment is to secure a job at Trion Systems, Wyatt’s biggest competitor. There, after intensive training in industrial espionage by Wyatt’s chief of security, Adam is to ferret out information about a huge top-secret project at Trion that is rumored to be a game-changer. Adam is a slacker and has never applied himself, but it quickly becomes clear that he is highly intelligent, socially adept, and a slick talker. It doesn’t take long for him to get himself hired, luck into a relationship with a gorgeous coworker, and eventually gain the attention of Trion’s celebrated founder, Jock Goddard. The contrast between Goddard and Wyatt couldn’t be greater. Complications quickly ensue.
Paranoia is fast-paced and devilishly clever. Even if, like me, you get an inkling of what’s going on as Adam’s spying progresses, you’re unlikely to be prepared for the explosive ending.
Joseph Finder has been writing thrillers since 1983. Many of his books concern industrial espionage. Paranoia, which is set within the tech industry, displays considerable knowledge of technology and of the industry.
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