Published: May 16, 2006
Jason Steadman is a thirty-year-old sales executive living in Boston and working for a electronics giant, a competitor to Sony and Panasonic. He’s a witty, charismatic guy who’s well liked at the office, but he lacks the “killer instinct” necessary to move up the corporate ladder. To the chagrin of his ambitious wife, it looks as if his career has hit a ceiling. Jason’s been sidelined.
But all that will change one evening when Jason meets Kurt Semko, a former Special Forces officer just back from Iraq. Looking for a decent pitcher for the company softball team, Jason gets Kurt, who was once drafted by the majors, a job in Corporate Security. Soon, good things start to happen for Jason – and bad things start to happen to Jason’s rivals. His career suddenly takes off. He’s an overnight success
Only too late does Jason discover that his friend Kurt has been secretly paving his path to the top by the most “efficient” – and ruthless – means available. After all, Kurt says, “Business is war, right?”
But when Jason tries to put a stop to it, he finds that his new best friend has become the most dangerous enemy imaginable. And now it’s far more than just his career that lies in the balance.
Once I started listening to this book I found it almost impossible to stop.
Everything would have been fine if Jason Steadman hadn’t driven his Acura off the road while he was on the cell phone with wife Kate, and if Kate hadn’t been so anxious for him to get ahead at Entronics, where as district sales manager he sells plasma TVs.
Thanks to Kate’s urging, he applies for a promotion to a management position. And thanks to his new acquaintance, tow-truck-driver Kurt Semko, he has the secret weapon to make his rise unstoppable. At first Jason thinks he’s just putting a ringer on the Entronics softball team (Kurt is one mean pitcher who nearly turned pro). Then he thinks he’s just doing Kurt a favor when he urges the Entronics security chief to hire him despite his dishonorable discharge from Special Forces. Then he thinks he’s just a lucky guy as his career takes off like a rocket.
Jason’s competitors for the management job miss crucial sales appointments. Their computers go down at the worst possible moments. Important prospects who’ve refused Jason’s sales pitches are suddenly queuing up to sign on the dotted line. His success is crowned by new cars, a better address, even a fancy pram for the baby he and Kate thought they’d never have.
Jason suspects his new friend is ruthlessly assisting in his advancement, forcing a confrontation that endangers Jason, his wife, and their unborn child. The ending had me on the edge of my seat!!!!!
Although the plot never suffers, a few reviewers called it more predictable and less intricately conceived than those of Finder’s other books. Despite this criticism, Killer Instinct shows that “political thrillers and spy novels are tame compared to what goes on in the cubicles and offices” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel).