The Venture: A Business Novel about Starting Your Own Company

Jeff Cox, Author Warner Books $23.5 (344p) ISBN 978-0-446-51641-9
In terse prose that conveys the tensions and pell-mell pace of its business setting, Cox's entertaining new novel (after Zapp! and The Goal ) follows the course of a tumultuous personal and professional year. As manager of a Connecticut video production company, Michael produces industrial videos out of windowless basement offices called The Cave. In addition to camera operator and single mother Tanny Zoelle, his co-workers include audio, editing and engineering personnel with colorful nicknames (Redmeat, Spider, Stoney, Boner, Babe). Michael's second wife, Regan, works at Three-E, the massive electronics firm that is one of Michael's major clients but which is going through a brutal downsizing to which Regan eventually falls victim. When upper management forces Michael to fire most of his staff, he quits and, with Bob Garvey, a former Three E executive, as ally, advisor and strategist, regroups to start his own company. Then his problems increase: his marriage flags; he begins an affair with Tanny; and his business's cash flow is jeopardized by other companies' billing cycles. Brainstorming, restructuring and renaming the company gets him on his feet, and he breaks into multimedia sports equipment with a videobike. Just as the company appears to be up and running, however, Regan learns of the affair and vows to destroy Michael's future. Cox's deft amalgam of business acumen, domestic drama and a believable plot lend credence to this story about the agony and ecstasy of the capitalist life. (June)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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