• Killer Instinct

  • By: Joseph Finder
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (893 ratings)

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Killer Instinct

By: Joseph Finder
Narrated by: Scott Brick
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Publisher's Summary

Jason Steadman is a 30-year-old sales executive living in Boston and working for an electronics giant, a competitor to Sony and Panasonic. He's a witty, charismatic guy who's well liked at the office, but he lacks the "killer instinct" necessary to move up the corporate ladder. To the chagrin of his ambitious wife, it looks as if his career has hit a ceiling. Jason's been sidelined.

But all that will change one evening when Jason meets Kurt Semko, a former Special Forces officer just back from Iraq. Looking for a decent pitcher for the company softball team, Jason gets Kurt, who was once drafted by the majors, a job in Corporate Security. Soon, good things start to happen for Jason, and bad things start to happen to Jason's rivals. His career suddenly takes off. He's an overnight success. Only too late does Jason discover that his friend Kurt has been secretly paving his path to the top by the most "efficient", and ruthless, means available. After all, as Kurt says, "Business is war, right?"

But when Jason tries to put a stop to it, he finds that his new best friend has become the most dangerous enemy imaginable. And now it's far more than just his career that lies in the balance. A riveting tale of ambition, intrigue, and the price of success, Killer Instinct is Joseph Finder at his best.

©2006 Joseph Finder (P)2006 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC.

Critic Reviews

"[A] masterful business thriller....Readers who enjoy movies where you have to fight the urge to shout 'Stop! Don't open that door!' will love this one." (Publishers Weekly)
"Steadman's 10-month ride from complacency to terror is filled with...thrills and chills." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Killer Instinct

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    281
  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
    186
  • 2 Stars
    43
  • 1 Stars
    24
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    107
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    7
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    12
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    132
  • 4 Stars
    110
  • 3 Stars
    52
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    10

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Mediocre at best

I love mystery and suspense novels as much as the next person, but found nothing endearing about the book. Every character and relationship was an absolute steriotype. The sports-driven salesman married to a formerly-wealthy indy-film-watching abstract-art-dealing wife was enough to make me roll my eyes. Worse was the ridiculously obvious plot that a four-year-old could have written, and dull, predictable ending. Nothing in this book was surprising or suspenseful, and I'm sorry to have wasted my time.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Well done characters and story.

Behind the scenes in the corporate world using war tactics.

Not many stories are set within corporations. The author makes it interesting. His research is talking to corporate guys.

The first half of the book was fascinating. Jason is a salesman of plasma tv screens. He sells to corporations like auto dealers (for their waiting rooms) and airports. Jason meets Kurt. They become friends. Kurt was in the army. Kurt talks about war, the enemy, getting intel. And then Kurt helps Jason by getting intel on Jason’s buyers and competitors. Kurt has no “off” button when it comes to evesdropping, spying, getting info, destroying property, and killing people. This is war -- to get ahead in the corporation.

But the last third of the book was kind of a downer for me. It was scary with a helpless victim feel.

I don’t like 1st person narrative books - which this was. I wish the author would use more 3rd person.

Something I wanted to know before I read the book - Is it a happy ending?:
CAUTION SPOILER:
I “require” happy endings. I don’t want the guys I root for to go to jail or get killed. And the ending was good for me.
END SPOILER.

AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
Scott Brick is not a favorite of mine. He is sometimes too sarcastic, condescending, and smart-alecky. But in this book he was very good.

Genre: suspense.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ed
  • 07-24-09

Preposterous storyline

The only thing that prevented this book from being a total waste of time was Scott Brick's excellent narration. Reading this book would have been painful. Very little in this book made sense. A security expert with almost superhuman abilities begins the story as a tow-truck driver. Our protagonist, aware of the villain's covert abilities, is, for a time, oblivious to the vulnerability of his own communications. It's difficult to provide examples of all that is incongruent about this story without creating spoilers. You can pretty much figure out where the story is going even without the spoilers. Also, this was another one of those books where it was hard to find a likable character. And when the book mercifully concluded we are immediately presented with a conversation/interview between the author and someone else whom I was never able to identify. These listens make me appreciate the good ones.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Poor female character development

I do enjoy Joseph Finder's books, and this one as well; however, I don't think he does a good job, overall, of characterizing females in his novels. The main female in Paranoia ended up being a prostitute for the firm. In Company Man, she was a religious fanatic and a schizophrenic killer. And in Killer Instinct, the hero's wife was difficult to like - rich, spoiled and all over the place. Maybe this is Finder's view of women from a corporate perspective, but it sure would be nice to see him represent them better in future books. With the editorial of women aside, I very much enjoyed the book and plot and loved the strength of the hero (which wasn't there in Company Man).

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Predictable

If you've read other work by this author, it may feel like familiar territory. On the other hand, Scott Brick has produced another great performance.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Falls Flat

Slightly painful to listen to, not only because Scott Brick isn't my favorite narrator, but because the book itself is... um... kind of sucky.

The protagonist is kind of wimpy and stupid, and the antagonist is omnipotent and evil, and yet the wimpy, stupid guy prevails. This is one book that might have been improved by the bad guy winning.

Kind of a waste of a credit.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

No free lunch

After 13 years in the corporate world, I recognize the sales guys in this novel. Unfortunately. If I have to listen to how AWESOME a sales executive's latest Powerpoint presentation is, I would at least insist that he pay for lunch. I found the main character to be shallow and none too bright, and the characterization of special forces as darkly omnipotent criminals to be offensive. The story is completely tedious for the first several hours. The dialogue is clunky and odd--my boss has never shouted, "What goes on here?" instead of "What's going on here?" This book is the first time I have ever needed Fast playback on my iPod, and I'm only still listening because I started it with my husband, and don't want to blink first. Use your credits elsewhere.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

One of my favorites in a while

While a little far fetched at times, the story is great!

The character is likeable and I got seriously entwined with his plight throughout the story - definitely a potential recurring character.

You may be put off if you can't bring yourself to believe some of the far fetched coorporate espionage antics, but in the end, it's all well worth it.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

great book

great book, kept me listening all day. I like all of Finders books.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • TR
  • 06-22-06

predictable

I think the story is pretty predictable. Read the publisher's summary and you've got the book. And I'm sorry, but I don't get the whole Scott Brick-thing. To me, he is overly dramatic and certainly can't pull off a regular guy, much less a tough guy like Kurt Semko. He reminds me of Thurston Howell III. I know I'm in the minority. I think this may be my last Finder book and my last Scott Brick listen.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for balzar
  • balzar
  • 03-13-17

Quite thrilling - although the hero is a wimp!

If you could sum up Killer Instinct in three words, what would they be?

Exciting, frightening, gripping

What other book might you compare Killer Instinct to, and why?

Company man by the same author

What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

Excellent performance in every way

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not really - don't like to reach the end of a good book

Any additional comments?

The wife seems to be an absolute pain in the neck- first she keeps pushing her husband to make lots of money, while making no money herself, and then claims money is of no importance to her (once he has achieved a high position and salary). There's a rather rude word to describe people like her, but I pretend to be well brought up!!