Review: Paranoia

Paranoia - Joseph Finder

For me, this book seemed somewhat average.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great.  I got enjoyment from it, and it was easy to read, but it didn’t hold anything special for me.  I find that some thrillers have a pattern that doesn’t really appeal to me – the pattern of a main character who ends up in trouble as a result of bad decisions, then ends up in worse trouble as a result of more bad decisions, and so forth.  This definitely isn’t the case with all thrillers, but it does seem to be a commonly-used device.  Characters (and real-life people!) who habitually make bad decisions without thinking through the consequences get on my nerves.

Paranoia is a thriller involving corporate espionage.  The main character, from whose perspective the entire book is told, starts off making a bad decision without fully thinking through the potential consequences.  As a result, he gets caught up in a spiral of events that lead to more bad decisions.  Despite this, he is still a somewhat likeable character and he seems to have learned some lessons by the end of the book.  But there were a lot of times when he just really annoyed me.

Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the main character, the story itself was interesting and kept me reading to find out what would happen next.  The author also provided a lot of details about the corporations involved that reminded me of the corporate offices in which I work and thus added a feel of genuineness to the story.  I’m not referring to the whole back-stabbing, cutthroat, darker side to the corporate environments in the story, but rather just the simple things like the layout of the offices, the amenities, the policies, and so forth.  I could easily picture what the author was describing.

The plot seemed pretty straight-forward, moving in the expected direction from the beginning to (almost) the end.  So I was somewhat pleasantly surprised by an unexpected twist near the end.  I say “somewhat” because I had mixed feelings about how things turned out versus how I was expecting them to turn out.  In the end, I sympathized more with the main character than I had throughout the majority of the book because I felt as indignant about how things turned out as he did.

The ending was also very abrupt.  We’re left with a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen, and the main plot is resolved, but we aren’t 100% sure what the main character’s final decision is or how things turn out for him after he makes the expected decision.  If I wanted to imagine my own ending, then I might as well have just imagined my own book too.