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Paranoia    by Joseph Finder Amazon.com order for
Paranoia
by Joseph Finder
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

Twenty-six year old Adam Cassidy - a bored, restless, low-level employee at the high-tech corporation of Wyatt Telecom - does some creative manipulation, throws an amazingly expensive retirement party for a mere loading dock worker and puts it on the company tab. He's found out and faced with the prospect of spending innumerable years in jail for escalating charges. Offered the alternative of becoming a mole for Wyatt by taking a job with its bitter rival Trion Systems to discover what their ultra-secret project is about, Adam accepts.

Wyatt and his underlings train Adam, feed him copious amounts of inside information, polish him until he looks the part of a rising young executive, and give him a glowing (but phony) reputation for being the hottest brain around. Soon, as expected, Trion poaches him away. Before long, Adam is rapidly climbing the corporate ladder even as his relationship with Trion's owner, 'Jock' Goddard, becomes very close. To top it all, in the course of his espionage, Adam meets a lovely young woman. Adam finds himself in a terrible dilemma, as he has to choose between betraying people who've quickly become dear to him or going to jail. What will become of Adam Cassidy?

Thrilling, dazzling, fiendishly clever these terms come to mind in describing this novel. The plot doesn't seem that difficult to guess ... or is it? Adam - a charming, likeable but bored young man who likes to run small-time scams and has always managed to avoid serious trouble - gets involved in something quite out of his league. Corporate greed, espionage, perks and rewards are described in intriguing detail, while office politics, bickering and one-upmanship are realistically captured. Paranoia is a spellbinding must-read.

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