Rating: 4 Water Towers
“Success Can Be Yours!” is the title of the paperback book treasured by the young teenager who had just started a fire that killed an entire family.
Evil, Inc. by Glenn Kaplan opens with that intentional fire and continues at a blistering pace delivering all the ingredients of a white hot thriller: spies, killing and murder with a bit of sex. A rousing effort.
The version I read is an “Advance Reading Copy” loaned to me by the good folks at Barnes and Noble in Tracy. As I read the released version, there was one major change that I could see. One character’s first name was changed from “Pat” in the Advanced Reading Copy to “Kat” in the final version.
–End Side Note–
Ken Olsen’s life is great and getting better. A mid-level marketing type at Ayvil Industries Plastics Division (and the birthplace of Ayvil Industries) in Dayton, Ohio. Ken has a beautiful wife, Sandra, and a young child, Sara. Ken is excited about catching the attention of Ayvil’s new CEO, Tom Pennington, who according to Sandra (and rumor) is coming into town to lay off people. Ayvil Plastics is losing money, but, Ken has a turnaround plan that Tom likes and is willing to give Ken the opportunity to try. Tom promotes Ken to Divisional Manager of the Dayton operation.
Ken is ecstatic and life gets even better, but, remember that old saying: If it is too good to be true, it probably is. Well, this is.
Shortly after taking charge, Ken sets off on an interview (at the behest of Sandra who thinks the corporate “robots” at Ayvil are up to no good) in Cleveland, while Sandra and Sara go to the Ayvil Plastics daycare center.
But the day turns to horror as a tremendous explosion rocks the Dayton facility. Was this an accident? Or was it mass murder?
As the book unfolds we learn more about Tom Pennington and his desire to advance, and make money, at any cost. We meet Justin Hildreth, an extremely powerful and influential board member of Ayvil Industries who has the power to manipulate Tom and others. We also meet a TV reporter, Pat (Kat) Pierce, who will do anything to further her career. Finally, we meet a hired killer with intelligence to match his ruthlessness, Grant De Waal.
Ken, and Sandra’s ex-government operative brother, Phil, uncover the necessary information to put together the disparate pieces of the murderous puzzle.
The finger of guilt points to various people as the book progresses. The ending is very satisfying, and it is only in the last few pages that we find out who started the fire in the beginning of the book. Believe me, you will not know who it is until you are told, and it is surprising.
Evil, Inc is a very good book that I heartily recommend to anyone who enjoys reading about corporate deception and how far people can go to achieve fleeting success. Think Enron on steroids.
“Start by working harder than others could ever imagine. Then find the courage to take risks others only dream of. And you, too, can ascend the pinnacle of success. ”