Picks and Pans Review: The Job
Business is good, maybe too good, for up-and-coming ad salesman Ned Allen. Comfortably dug in at Compu World magazine, he's living it up New York City-style—with dinners at Patroon, $1,200 Ceruttisuits and a classy, professional wife—when a big deal goes sour. Unfortunately the stakes are high. In a blink, Ned loses his job, his friends, his spouse and his lavish lifestyle. His luck seems to change, though, when he lands a gig with a famous motivational guru. Alas, the guru turns out to be the kingpin in a money-laundering scheme, and Ned is suddenly in a world of trouble.
As in his first novel, the bestselling The Big Picture, Kennedy shows a talent for escalating everyday upper-middle-class woes into ingenious life-or-death situations. Too bad his writing lacks polish (in this slack thriller, telling a fib means you're "lying like a rug") and slows an otherwise gripping plot. By the end poor Ned learns the hard truth about the hard sell—never mind a few murdered associates. (Hyperion, $23.95)
Bottom Line: Workmanlike prose works against a crafty plot