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July 16, 2013

Don’t Look Behind You!: Meghan Reviews PARANOIA

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Espionage is not a new theme in the suspense genre by a long shot, but Joseph Finder puts a twist on the classic spy thriller in PARANOIA. Adam Cassidy, the bright but lazy protagonist, pulls a stunt one night that costs his telecommunications company millions --- instead of firing him, they offer him a deal: spy on the competition and hack into their undercover project or face serious time in prison. Without options, Adam agrees, and is thrust headfirst into a world of money, power and ambiguous and ever-shifting loyalties.

PARANOIA is a subtle thriller. There are no explosions, car chases or brushes with death, but the suspense is just as real. As the title suggests, Finder creates the distinct and unsettling feeling that nowhere is safe, that Adam risks being caught at any moment and could face consequences worse than a life behind bars. The novel is a page-turner in the truest sense --- each brief chapter ends with a cliffhanger that keeps readers racing to the finish, and its lack of explicit violence or overt commotion is compensated for with scenes of tense dialogue, and some steamy romance. And on top of it all, Finder concludes with a controversial twist that allows for a variety of interpretations. It might not be the traditional spy story, but it has more than enough thrills to entertain, and writing so good that it can hold its own among classics of the genre.

The book is set to hit the big screen as a blockbuster in August of this year, with Liam Hemsworth playing Adam Cassidy, and Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman as heads of the rival companies. From early looks at the film, it’s clear that much of the original material has been changed to suit movie audiences, and the result is sure to be a bit more clamorous but, hopefully, just as thrilling.