cover image Human Resources: A Corporate Nightmare

Human Resources: A Corporate Nightmare

Floyd Kemske. Catbird Press, $12.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-945774-29-7

Kemske (The Virtual Boss) has invented an apt metaphor for his new novel: corporate ``turnaround specialist'' as vampire. Norman, the somewhat dim-witted human resources manager for a biotechnology company, is called in to meet Pierce, a slick ``re-engineering'' expert who turns out to have fired the entire ``executive team'' and plans to reorganize the company from top to bottom. The reorganization has an odd effect on co-workers--after a private meeting with Pierce, one supervisor in Norman's department becomes increasingly wan and requests a windowless office. Other workers begin disappearing, either through death or firing, and pretty soon Pierce is trying to force Norman to fire nine people a day. Chapters taking place in the corporate present alternate with those that happen in Pierce's formative years in the industrial 18th and 19th centuries. There are loads of clever details: Norman's two bickering co-workers, who as big fans of Anne Rice-type vampire novels are endless sources of knowledge about ``revenants''; and the tension between Norman and his more ambitious wife, Gwen, who is herself a human resources manager at another company. Through narrative and ingenious plays on the sinister (and silly) double entendres of business lingo, Kemske has created a stinging satire of contemporary corporate life. (Oct.)