Verdict: The Holiday Party hosts a wealth of well-developed characters in a suspenseful and fast moving plot that keeps you wondering who will be the ultimate winner in the big deal.
The Holiday Party takes you into the lives and psyche of the players involved in a corporate takeover. Though all the players appear to have a common goal, they all have their own agendas, and secrets.
The story opens in New York. Daniel Davenport, one of the vice presidents of mighty media giant, Ballard Media Group, heads to a secret monthly meeting – not just any meeting, but one for his coven, which follows an ancient Druid strain of witchcraft. On the West Coast, Forest Green prepares for the annual holiday party for family owned Gladstone Magazine, owned by all seven Gladstone siblings but run by brothers Adam and Warren. When power hungry Davenport hears that Gladstone Magazine needs to sell their company, Davenport devises a plan for Ballard Media Group to take over Gladstone Magazine but will have the latter company ultimately fall into his hands. And so begins a game of strategy, trust, betrayal, success and loss.
Author Richard Wanderer writes a suspenseful tale, effectively integrating one character after another into a plot that is filled with twists and thickens as more characters get involved and complicate the corporate takeover with their own conspiracies.
The transition in point of view from one character to the next is smooth, however, the inconsistent reference to characters either by first, last or both names is a little distracting. Also, the narrative flow is somewhat interrupted when the author over-explains scenes; for example, when Blessington and her chosen partner in crime, Calista Hunt set up a meeting on the ferry and promptly tell him that his job duties have been changed due to lack of performance. He then wonders to himself: “Why did they choose a boat ride to drop this on me? Did they want me to literally feel like they were pushing me overboard and chose this venue for it?” Also:
“She took him directly to Barbara, who looked stunning in a light blue suit that blended well with the light aqua walls and dark green furnishings of her office. They certainly set off her blazing blue eyes. Barbara obviously tries to match her outfits to her office surroundings, Forest observed.”
Wanderer’s physical descriptions of his characters are strong and to the point: “Bobby Applewhite looked like a Norman Rockwell painting of a small-town, middle-aged banker. He was slightly pudgy, with a smiling round face, and he always wore suspenders and a bow tie that was slightly askew.” Wanderer’s ability to convey the psyche of a wide spectrum of multi-dimensional characters is equally strong, portraying the humanistic senior Gladstone brothers, who own and operate their business with ethics and morals to Daniel Davenport and his cohort Barbara Blessington, who dream of running their own show with no regard for their allegiance to others or accountability for their actions if it does not serve their purpose. Wanderer shows how the insidious nature behind the spearheads of the corporate takeover, namely Davenport, trickles down the chain of command, corrupting players or harming them in other ways through loss of moral, jobs and increased suspicion and malevolence within the office environment.
The Holiday Party hosts a wealth of well-developed characters in a suspenseful and fast moving plot that keeps you wondering who will be the ultimate winner in the big deal.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader
Purchase The Holiday Party (A Tale of Corporate Takeover) from Amazon