I’m still entertained that I read this. Even moreso that I actually finished it. But when you are half-way round the world in a hotel room, and jet lag is making sleep all too illusive, and you just refuse to pay the equivalent of $15-$20 for a paperback in English, well, you sift through the spouse’s backpack and read whatever you come across. This is one such book.

Power Play is a he-man sort of book. The kind that sadly feeds men’s insistence that women really only like bad boys . . . even reformed bad boys. Let me make it clear to Mr. Finder: there is nothing romantic or mysterious (in a good way) about knowing that your man once killed someone.

The plot stays on its carefully crafted tracks throughout. So I can’t have much to complain about there. It’s the track itself that bothers me. In this story, a man who knows quite a bit about airplanes happens to get sent to his company’s executive, good-ole-boys yearly retreat at some cabin in the middle of nowhere. I’ll spare you the detailed contrivance that gets him there. Conveniently for the author, the protagonist’s lost true love, who is not an executive and who broke up with him because he never shared anything about his personal life, also magically contrivedly appears on scene. Within precious few hours, the cabin has been taken over by a band of renegades seemingly bent on taking the entire executive staff hostage so as to make off with much of the company’s money. And of course, they are unopposed to using far more violence than necessary to accomplish their goal.

Of course, just to keep it interesting(??), Mr. Finder also adds liberal dashes of executive in-fighting, whining, and crotch-scratching stopping just shy (or not) of chest thumping their masculinity. Actually, I think the rescue from the almost-rape scene of the protagonist’s long lost love that crosses the chest thumping line. Or is it her overly heart-felt reaction–her desire to be touched by the protagonist so soon after the ordeal who only saves her by exercising brute strength force.  I guess that’s how some men feel manly, by protecting their women folk.

My review jumps around because the story also jumps around. There are numerous flashbacks designed to let the reader into the mind of the protagonist, so that naturally by the end we understand who he is much better than those around him. And of course, he gets the girl in the end.

Contrived, contrived, contrived. While I really didn’t enjoy the actual story line, I will say that Mr. Finder knows how to write a story that moves along. He was neither too light nor too heavy with the dialog, and his general structure was well-written. In my preparation to write this review, I discovered that he has at least half-dozen acclaimed books released before this particular novel. I’ll have to ask my husband if they are all cast from the same sort of mold. Or if this was a blip in an otherwise good repertoire.

When I completed the book, I looked at my spouse and commented on the total unbelievability of the plot and wondered whether men really buy that kind of thing. And he silenced me well and good by querying the same thing of women for most of my favorite chick lit books. Touché.

But I can’t help thinking that few of the books that I choose to read for their modern fantasy appeal are half as ridiculous as Power Play.