Sunday, August 27, 2017

Book Review: 'The Switch' by Joseph Finder

Mike Tanner is not thriving, personally or professionally. His wife, Sarah, has moved out and may soon file for divorce. Mike's niche coffee business, "Tanner Roast," is losing major accounts to a cutthroat competitor. As if these problems were not enough to give him indigestion, Mike grabs the wrong laptop while moving through airport security. "The Switch," by Joseph Finder, is a thriller about an Everyman caught up in a situation that could cost him his life.

When reading books of this type, its helps to suspend one's disbelief. What are the odds that a powerful legislator would be stupid enough to keep highly classified information on her personal laptop and leave a Post-It note containing her password stuck to the computer? We're talking career suicide here. The author, of course, is channeling a former Democratic nominee for president who landed in hot water for using a private email server to conduct official business. Will Abbott, Robbins' chief of staff, is blindly loyal to his boss and hopes to occupy the White House if and when Robbins is elected president. In his desperation to retrieve the laptop, Abbott sets in motion illegal and dangerous schemes to achieve his goal.

Joseph Finder avoids some of the more common pitfalls that frequently trip up action-adventure writers. The author imbues his hero, Mike, with street smarts, but does not insult us by transforming him into a superhero. Clearly in over his head, Mike scrambles to stay ahead of his pursuers. He does not have an arsenal of weapons or an army of bodyguards to protect him, so he stays alive by using his powers of reasoning, negotiation, and when all else fails, hiding. Abbott, a new dad who adores his wife and child, is no Neanderthal. He is an intelligent but reckless individual who, in an effort to correct a disastrous mistake, makes a bad situation worse. In this entertaining and briskly-paced novel, Joseph Finder tackles such themes as the intrusive specter of electronic surveillance on private citizens. "The Switch" should appeal to fans of "ripped-from-the headlines" political thrillers.

Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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