cover image Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct

Joseph Finder, , read by Scott Brick. . Audio Renaissance, $24.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59397-895-2

In Finder's newest business thriller (after Company Man ), Jason Steadman, a middle-management salesman for an international electronics firm, befriends mysteriously well-connected tow-truck driver Kurt Semko and suddenly finds himself on the fast track to the executive suite, thanks mainly to the misfortunes of others. When a suspicious Steadman confronts Semko, his benefactor turns into a deadly foe who threatens to kill him, his wife and newborn baby. Finder's informed view of the dark side of the corporate world is deliciously devious and he is shrewd and witty enough to provide his likable hero with a particularly credible weapon against the seemingly omnipotent opponent: his salesmanship. Steadman, the narrator of this terrifying tale, is blessed with the gift of gab, and Scott Brick, one of the busier audio book performers, smoothly adjusts his delivery to the novel's carefully crafted patter and pacing. This includes quick shifts of tenor and tone to give voice to the self-confident sociopath Semko, Steadman's level-headed but needy wife, and his disgruntled and pink-slip–prone co-workers. Finder has created first-class material, but here it's Brick's impressive pitch that makes the sale. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's hardcover. (Reviews, Mar. 13). (May.)