In the Company of Killers

Putnam. Apr. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780593187920. $27. THRILLER
DEBUT NOVEL Tom Klay writes about crimes against endangered species in the pages of the acclaimed news journal The Sovereign. In Kenya, a plan to capture elephant poachers goes awry. Among the dead is Tom’s longtime friend Bernard Lolosoli. Tom returns to Washington to find The Sovereign has been sold to Perseus Group, the largest supplier of paramilitary forces in the world. The company’s motive isn’t to better inform the public; it’s to gain information to sell to foreign powers, especially the Chinese government, which Perseus sees as the sure victor of any future global confrontations. To cement its new relationship with China, Perseus sabotages the navigation system of a U.S. warship, leading to its sinking in confrontation with a Chinese vessel. It’s a risky game. If exposed, Perseus’s CEO would surely face charges of treason. Tom determines to bring him down. To succeed, he strikes a deal with the man most likely to have orchestrated his friend’s murder; in war, the enemy of one’s enemy is sometimes one’s friend. The novel ends back in Kenya in a showdown at a game reserve.
VERDICT Christy’s credentials are excellent—National Geographic’s former head of special investigations; his earlier nonfiction title The Lizard King—but Company doesn’t quite make it, with a cookie-cutter plot and weak characterization.
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