Baker's Dozen

Michael M. Thomas, Author
Michael M. Thomas, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $24 (0p) ISBN 978-0-374-10857-1
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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In his latest glitter novel for the business set, Thomas (Black Money) sets up an apparently straight corporate deal: the sale of the floundering mining-machine company BEECO to the vastly tentacled organization known as GIA. But PR genius Lucy Preston, one of the few intimates of GIA's charismatic CEO, John Mannerman, feels something is off about the sale, especially after she falls for BEECO's erstwhile leader, the charming, patrician H.A. Baker. Their romance costs Lucy her job and lasts only until it's clear that Baker is coming unglued from the ""dishonorable"" treatment BEECO received at GIA's hands after the sale. Soon after news reaches Lucy of Baker's sudden death in an African lake, people connected to the top echelons of GIA begin dying in spectacular ways. Lucy suspects that Baker, a skilled lifelong hunter, has faked his own death in order to stalk those who dismantled his old company and sent his trusting employees packing. Embedded within these plot essentials are insights, some startling, about money, power and honor. To some degree, all of Thomas's characters subscribe to the money-makers' mantra: ""If everybody's lying, then nobody is""--even Lucy, who alone unravels the tangle of emotion and rage that brought Baker to criminal ruin. Ironically, during the novel's climax, the pacing slows down to accommodate an almost documentary recap of Baker's actions and Lucy's counters; readers may wish that Thomas had stuck to the thrills of high finance instead of switching to those of stalking and stealth. In fact, the best work here takes place early, when Thomas writes heady prose about intoxicating amounts of money. (Sept.)
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