Saturday, September 11, 2010

My take on: The Insider

"A legal career is what happens to smart people who don't know what to do with their lives. And once you start down that road it's hard to walk away." --- The Insider, Pg. 132

Will Connelly is smart, and knew what he wanted to do with his life -- become a lawyer. He studied, worked hard, and now he has just made partner at Reynolds, Fincher & McComb. But, in an instant the life of this corporate attorney takes a turn for the worse. The Insider, a debut novel by Reece Hirsch, is a gripping odyssey through the dangers of the corporate world, insider trading, terrorism, and the Russian mafiya(no that is not a typo).

Will Connelly and his firm are on the verge of closing a big merger between Pearl, a computer company, and Jupiter Software, the leader in encryption software. While trying to get a head start on work, Will is stunned to see the body of colleague Ben Fisher hurdle to the ground. A shaken Will thinks it's suicide, but when the police come knocking on his office door, he knows otherwise. All signs--albeit circumstantial--point to Will.

What would you do? Panic? Will chooses to blow off some steam at a local bar, where he meets the beautiful Katya. A one-night stand only serves to compound Will's nightmare. Mafiya-wannabe enforcers Yuri and Nikolai interrupt the lovebirds. Initially thinking they're jealous of his encounter with Katya, Will soon realizes she is a part of the scheme. Torture and blackmail ensue. Yuri and Nikolai have the power to send him to prison for Ben's murder. The only way Will, and a fellow colleague Claire, who gets roped into the plot, can stay alive is to provide inside tips on the Jupiter merger. Attorney-client privilege and a potential SEC investigation pale in comparison to losing your life.

To make matters worse, Jupiter is involved with the NSA, a government agency, on a spying operation. With that kind of power, Jupiter and the NSA can spy on anyone. It's also the kind of power the Russian Mafiya wants to sell to the highest bidder. How can Will complete such an impossible task and stay alive? Who can he trust? He even has doubts about Claire.

The tension builds with each chapter. Each chapter Will is building himself a bigger hole. You will find yourself pulling for him. He starts out as the workaholic lawyer, someone whom I wouldn't sympathize with, and then becomes an innocent pawn in a much larger scheme. It literally is a race against the clock, as Will tries to find a solution. At some points the novel gets caught up in legal language, but thankfully that doesn't last long. Author Reece Hirsch is also lawyer, so it's understandable where the legalese comes from. The only writer I know to compare Hirsch to is John Grishman. And for a debut novel, I think that is pretty good company.

Rating: Superb

Notes: I received a copy of the book as part of a giveaway on For more information on author Reece Hirsch, visit

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