Warner, 2006 (2006)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
loved Tim Green's previous
, which was a thrilling modern remake of
The Count of Monte Cristo
. This time, in
, Green appears to be tackling
, presenting it in a modern corporate context, in which shady deals with big unions, and female FBI agents
are prominent, while the perfect corporate wife eggs on her weak-willed spouse to darker and darker deeds. Though this psychological thriller didn't work nearly as well for me as
, I enjoyed following its protagonist's long slide down to the dark side.
uthless construction billionaire James King has three younger men at his beck and call - his son Scott King, who brought into the company his two best friends, Thane and Ben. This version's Lady Macbeth is Thane's wife, the lovely and uber-charming Jessica Coder, whose passion for power and material things derives from a childhood of poverty and abuse. Her personality and charm have been huge assets in their business dealings. But Jessica and Thane share a deep-seated hostility towards James for the loss of their first baby, after King refused the loan of his corporate jet to transport small Teague for urgent surgery.
he story is structured as a set of interviews of Thane by a prison psychiatrist, prior to his release. Along with the psychiatrist, readers share the protagonist's memory of a long chain of connected events, starting with the death of a father figure and including other murders of people close to him. Though he tells us '
it would have happened that way to most people
', I find that hard to believe (but then the only author who's made murder by a decent person seem credible to me was Fyodor Dostoevsky in
Crime and Punishment
). Early on in the novel, again through Jessica's involvement, the FBI sign up Thane as a '
' to help them investigate union corruption.
essica morphs this role into one in which they work with the union boss, Johnny G, to milk James's company, and she has a vile solution for every problem that arises, taking them deeper and deeper into criminal activities. Close on their trail are the police, the FBI, and one other, a relentless hunter named Bucky. Set in a corporate world, whose corruption is all too familiar from the daily news,
makes a fascinating psychological study of personality flaws - greed, jealousy and passion - catalysed into something much darker.
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