Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Successor

I've completed my latest audio book, The Successor by Stephen Frey.  Last year I listened to the first in this series starring Christian Gillette, a business mogul who becomes the leader of Everest Financial Capital, one of the largest private equity firms in existence.  That first book was filled with the tension surrounding his rise to power, but also many thriller aspects such as attempts on his life by rival power seekers.  It was a true "business thriller". 

This book is the fourth book in the series and possibly the last.  Mr Gillette has now been a powerful man of finance for many years now and in his mid 50's.  He has successfully raised absurd amounts of money for his clients and shared the vast wealth with his partners.  He has now been tapped by the US President to go to Cuba and, due to rumors of Fidel Castro's death, secure the future of American interests as Cuba joins the global marketplace.  I found the plot to be disjointed, however, and I believe Mr Frey missed the mark this time.

The business aspects of this one were mostly non-existent, with the protagonist having turned over most of the responsibilities of running the firm to Ms Allison Wallace.  Its very obvious from early on that Allison would become the "successor" as well as his love interest but it seemed Mr Gillette was the last one to figure it out.  The thriller aspects of the novel were left to the very end, added, it almost seems, as an afterthought.  The major meat of the novel instead focuses on Mr Gillete's mid-life crisis and his falling for a young 22-year old, who we readers figure out at the beginning is an actress, introduced in the very first scene.  When the author discloses that "ah-ha" moment of who this 22-year old really is, I couldn't believe he expected me to not have figured that out long before. 

I think the author had a trap to climb out of: he had a protagonist who, in the first three books had risen to such powerful heights that he had no more room for growth.  I think he tried to refocus his goals and take him in a different direction but instead he ended up thrusting him into an improbable scenario and then didn't follow through with a believable plot. I am hopeful Mr Frey will put this series to rest and begin anew.

I won't be doing any more audio books for a while.  I have reached the end of my Air Force career and will be retiring after 20 years of service.  In fact, at this point I have only 8 more days of actual work and thus, not enough time to get an entire audio book completed during my commutes.  While I have an ideal future planned that involves staying at home and working on my hobbies (reading, writing, watching movies, and playing computer games) my budget requires me to secure an actual income-producing job.  If I manage to land one in this economy and still have a reasonable length of drive to and from work I will re-enter the audio book realm.  Until that happens, I will miss them.

Wish me luck.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

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  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
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  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
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