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PARANOIA
by Joseph Finder
St. Martin's Griffin, July 2013
465 pages
$15.99
ISBN: 1250035279


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Adam Cassidy is a typical high-tech slacker who's more concerned with avoiding work than climbing the corporate ladder. When he pulls a stunt at his job that could get him fired, he learns instead that the real threat is not being fired, but being jailed. He's given two options (although really only one exists): to go undercover to steal trade secrets from his company's top competitor or to face his chances with the judicial system. The deck is clearly stacked against him.

His personal life is a mess, too. His father is a difficult patient who goes through in-home nurses faster than Adam can line them up for interviews. He needs a salary to keep his father alive, despite the heavy criticism from his dad that he meets at every turn.

When Adam agrees to spy for his current employer at Trion Systems (its top competitor), he has no idea what a change it will make in his life. Not only does he become an exemplary employee, he soon is enjoying all of the luxuries he only imagined existed for the inner circle. Of course, his status is only the result of the intensive top-secret training and information being provided by his true master. And he still is required to take untold risks to gain the corporate secrets of Trion that they are so desperate to gain.

Cassidy's biggest challenge is to steal the highly classified secrets of an off-the-grid program about to be launched by his new employer, a task fraught with danger at every turn. There's no alternative, as the stakes keep getting more punishing. His former employer is turning the screws tighter and tighter on him, even as Adam seeks to break free from his controllers.

The biggest question is: Can anyone be trusted? While Adam appears to have the ear of Trion's CEO and founder, the high stakes game is about to be up with the announcement of the new program. Which company will come out ahead, and what will happen once Trion discovers that Adam is a turncoat? That is the ultimate question.

Christine Zibas is a freelance writer and former director of publications for a Chicago nonprofit.

Reviewed by Christine Zibas, August 2013

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