A classic novel by John D. MacDonald with an exclusive introduction written and read by Dean Koontz.
Floyd Hubbard arrives at a convention at a busy beach-town hotel with a mission from the top brass: ax a long-time manager in the sales team who has been slacking off for too long. Hubbard’s a loyal company man, but his background is engineering, not cold-blooded corporate warfare. Little does Hubbard realize that the first grenade has already been lobbed - and he’s the target. Cory Barlund has heard more than her fair share of odd requests in her years as a high-class call girl, so this one’s right up her alley: pose as a journalist, seduce a visiting executive, and embarrass him in front of his colleagues. But after a night with Hubbard, Cory’s having second thoughts. Hubbard’s a good man. She might be falling for him. And the real hustlers are the ones on the convention floor.
Away we go back to the days when business was a boys club, women were wives, secretaries or hustlers. Evidently companies spent money freely back then including money that hadn't seemed to have made it onto any company books.
In this work one company has cannibalized another and are methodically clearing out all of the old hands in each department. Now it's the sales department's turn and the head office has their hatchet man at the convention to get rid of good 'ol Jesse Mullaney. So a couple of guys in the the department hire a high priced call girl to get the company man Floyd Hubbard; to commit some act that will embarrass him or cause him to make a fool of himself during convention week. One that will provide Mullaney and his boys with some leverage on him.
As in the majority of the MacDonald's books there is a certain amount of misogyny particularly in his early works. The Dave Daniels character displays the old time belief that "no" means yes as plans his approach on Cory Barlund. Add to that the male privilege of marital infidelity and the little wifey's acceptance of same and it surpasses even Madmen as a view of the underbelly of American culture; pre-Woodstock.
As always MacDonald weaves his story with an excellence that overcomes a great deal of otherwise mediocre or mundane material. Even though he writes about an era unknown to anyone under retirement age, his characters and his ability to bring the disparate ends of a story together makes the work a worthwhile listen. I'm hoping that many more of the non Travis McGee novels will soon be available on Audible.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Excellent book all around. Typical JDM with subtle twists and a story that reflects real life.
Story grows as it progresses. Characters psychological changes are ultimately engaging.The readers tone is a little annoying, with an edge of sarcasm throughout.