The Job

Douglas Kennedy, Author Hyperion Books $23.45 (416p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6370-9
Kennedy's first novel, The Big Picture (1997), was a riveting commercial thriller that was perhaps overhyped. His second, though it shares the first book's galloping pace and strong sense of close-of-century angst among the well-fixed, seems, two-thirds of the way through, to give up the ghost for what reads like an overplotted, underwritten homage to Grisham. Ned Allen is a brash young ad salesman for a striving computer magazine in Manhattan, and the perils and pleasures of such a life are brilliantly set out in the opening chapters. Then a German conglomerate (in what may be a particularly timely reference among book people) takes over, and disaster strikes. In no time, Ned is without a job and, because of a quarrel he got into with a powerful space buyer and an enraged swing at his creepy German boss, is perhaps unemployable. Meanwhile, wife Lizzie is tiring of his remoteness and tantrums. To the rescue comes an old school chum who works for a high-profile but shady real estate tycoon, and Ned finds himself enmeshed in money laundering and murder--with him as the suspect. The concluding chapters brim with Grishamesque ploys: offshore bank accounts are manipulated, traps are set, time is running out. The trouble is that Ned's world has been so accurately and meticulously set forth early in the book that all this breathless, barely credible skullduggery seems to belong to a different, and poorer, book entirely. Kennedy can certainly make the pages turn; he must learn to make them turn to more consistently rewarding effect. $500,000 joint marketing campaign with Big Picture paperback; author tour. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Hardcover - 652 pages - 978-0-7540-2173-5
Hardcover - 652 pages - 978-0-7862-1613-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 4666 pages - 978-0-7868-8954-9
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