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Books By Gary D. McGugan
Books By Gary D. McGugan
Reviewed By Debjani Ghosh for Readers’ Favorite
After spilling the beans against the criminal outfit The Organization, for whom he used to previously work, Howard Knight is under the FBI’s witness protection. However, The Organization’s reach is far and wide. It does not take long to find his hiding spot in the Netherlands from where goons kidnap him.
His lover and partner-in-crime, Janet Weissel, barely escapes. As Janet tries to chart her future course of action, Howard, meanwhile, is doing everything to stay alive—barely. Will he survive The Organization’s brutal torture, or will he be another nameless victim of this nefarious criminal outfit? Read Pernicious Pursuit by Gary D. McGugan to find out.
McGugan’s Pernicious Pursuit is an action-packed, thrilling tale of survival where the odds are stacked against the bad guy with a good heart. The Organization’s boss is as ruthless and dangerous as Wilson Fisk, the crime lord in Marvel’s Daredevil. With its vast resources—goons, thugs, and top-level government employees on its payroll—it takes every iota of cunning Howard possesses to stay a step ahead of his captors.
The cat-and-mouse chase throughout the book, coupled with short chapters, maintains the breakneck momentum of the narrative. McGugan provides detailed descriptions of the working of the criminal activities; however, this is not an information dump and does not slow the action. These thorough descriptions, rather, provide an insight into the workings of a criminal mind and a deep-rooted, worldwide nefarious organization.
Against the backdrop of such a formidable organization out to grab Howard, I was rooting for him throughout. I was curious how he would thwart the combined attempts of the police and the said outfit. Let’s just say, Howard did pick up a few important survival skills during his employment with The Organization. Further, there are some bad-ass female characters hogging considerable limelight, rather than being relegated to stereotypical, secondary characters as in typical spy thrillers.
The third person POV of every major player in the story kept me in the loop of who was planning what. McGugan’s fluid writing results in an engaging, smoothly flowing story, and unlike many thrillers (spy or not), I did not have to suspend my disbelief even for a bit.
The explosive climax acted as a cherry on top. I recommend Pernicious Pursuit by Gary D. McGugan to lovers of action and adventure as well as thrillers. However, there is a brutal yet realistic description of human trafficking, hence, proceed with caution.
Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite
Pernicious Pursuit: A Howard Knight Escapade by Gary D. McGugan is a story of survival and finding the truth. Howard Knight used to be the financial maestro for The Organization. Now he is in a witness protection program and trying to live peacefully with his girlfriend Janet. However, that peace was short-lived. He is tied, beaten, and thrown into the back of a van while Janet slips away from the chaos. Howard knows he is being targeted by The Organization and his old ally Giancarlo Mareno. He has to stay under the radar, move away frequently, and hope Janet is staying safe as he taught her. Howard knows it is only a matter of time before The Organization catches up to him. He has to think of a way to protect himself and Janet, look for a contingency plan, and hope he gets a second chance at life. What can he do in a situation like this?
Action-packed and filled with enough thrills to give readers chills, Pernicious Pursuit is a no-holds-barred suspense story that will keep you hooked. Howard is a wickedly intelligent and street-smart man; he understands his enemies and he knows how he can evade them. Janet, on the other hand, is very different. She is smart but is trying to make sense of everything around her. The pace is fast, unrelenting, and enough to give you an adrenaline rush. Howard and Janet are tested, they make mistakes and learn from them. I was holding my breath and waiting to learn what will happen next. Gary D. McGugan explained emotions really well; he gave a realistic outlook and made sure the reader was in the moment with his characters at all times. This is brilliant entertainment. I really enjoyed it.
Gary D. McGugan
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Date: April 2020
The action spans continents while real emotions grip the characters chasing each other for love and profit in this latest offering from thriller creator Gary D. McGugan.
When Howard Knight wakes up, he senses danger, and within a few minutes he’s in the middle of it, beaten, tied and tossed in the back of a vehicle moving to who knows where.
Janet Weissel, his lover, “a keeper” he calls her, wakes up just in time to save herself from the same fate. Following advice given by Knight for just such an emergency, she flees their home and goes on the run. Not long afterward, although she has no way of knowing it, Knight, transported from the Netherlands to Spain, has also escaped his captors and moves from scooter to stolen scooter, changing outfits off clotheslines and subsisting at one point on nothing but oranges.
Weissel is unsure what the pursuers want, but Knight is all too aware: he’s being hunted by one of the most powerful men on earth, a man with far more money than morals, the infamous Giancarlo Mareno, head of The Organization. There’d been a time when Mareno and he had been on the same team, but now Knight is not only hoping to save his own skin and protect his lover, but also to uphold and sustain a more rational, less destructive life plan.
In Pernicious Pursuit, McGugan has drawn from an earlier trilogy (Three Weeks Less a Day, The Multima Scheme, Unrelenting Peril ) involving Knight and many colorfully nasty underworld associates locked into corporate greed at its worst. Now he puts his protagonist in a different light, still tough, even brutal when the situation calls for it, but also capable of remorse and tender, uplifting feelings.
McGugan displays an especial sensitivity for the women in the story: Katherine, a smart but nurturing woman with a big dog and the means to control it; Klaudia, one of Janet’s protectors who is battling Giancarlo own her on battlefront - the trafficking of women for prostitution; and even Nadine, a beautiful madam who enjoys her role until she begins to realize that the “love” her bosses profess is entirely superficial.
The chapters in this fast-paced plot jump from character to character, all interlinked by the hand of fate - some scheming, some grieving, and some learning valuable lessons about how stuff really works in the world beyond the headlines. The author will bring them all together in a series of crossing paths until, in the final pages, murder finally finds a suitable mark.
Quill says: McGugan’s title says it all: a man and a woman try to save themselves and each other, searching the globe for some sense of safety, not only from a cold-hearted murdering mogul but from a scarred society that undervalues half its assets – the female half.
Gary D. McGugan
Cheryl Harrison's Goodreads review
May 15, 2020
I loved this book! From the moment I picked it up is was very hard to put it down. From the first three novels, Three Weeks Less a Day, The Multima Scheme and Unrelenting Peril, I had definitely formed and opinion about Howard Knight and Janet Weissel. There had been no thought that my opinion could have changed.
Reading about their challenges trying to escape the grips of the "Organization" absolutely changed my mind. The way the characters evolved was totally unexpected. As always, the thrill of reading about the different locations and the excellent descriptions made me feel like I was right there in the middle of everything.
Everything about the book was totally realistic and completely challenged my mind to figure out how all of these events could actually happen so quickly. Even if you have not read the first three books, you will love Pernicious Persuit but only if you love a fast pace, action packed, multicultural and multi-locational genre with on the edge of your seat anticipation for the next page!
I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did. Can't wait for the next novel....
Gary D. McGugan
Independently Published (2020)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (04/2020)
“Pernicious Pursuit: A Howard Knight Escapade” by Gary McGugan is an exhilarating whirlwind of adventure, thrills and suspense. The risks are great and the rewards are sweet in this high-speed race to stay alive – whatever the cost.
Howard Knight, former financial guru for The Organization is now in the witness protection program, safe from his nemesis, Giancarlo Mareno. Or is he? When his safe house is raided and he’s taken prisoner, Howard must do whatever it takes to escape from the men who would turn him over to the vicious crime lord. His lover, Janet Weissel, gets away undetected. Now on the run, Janet encounters her own set of challenges, but is given an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women all over the world – if she’s up to the task. But there’s one final mission before she can begin her new life. Organized crime, murder, revenge, betrayal and the ultimate sacrifice, Howard and Janet face impossible odds against foes with unlimited resources who will stop at nothing in the pursuit of power and revenge.
I have been looking forward to this book ever since I finished McGugan’s last book, “Unrelenting Peril,” the third book in his Multima Trilogy of Corporate Intrigue. McGugan excels at many aspects of writing, which is why it’s such a pleasure to read his work. He’s precise, thorough, consistent and has an incredible imagination! He writes everything from the grisly to the sultry with the same finesse. The layers he weaves into his plot through conflict keeps readers guessing, the level of detail is unparalleled and I guarantee you won’t figure anything out that he doesn’t want you to know about ahead of time. It’s amazing to me how McGugan continues to take his stories up a notch book after book, each one better than the last.
What I missed most after finishing The Multima Trilogy was the characters and I was happy to participate in a reunion of sorts with a few of the returning players. Howard Knight was always one of my favorites and whether I liked him or not, he always got my attention. That is the key to McGuire characters – they have a tendency to grow and evolve into much more than you might ever expect, boldly shifting back and forth between the thin line separating good and evil. I love not knowing what to expect and it was exciting to see different sides of both Howard and Janet – what’s the expression – you’ve come a long way baby! There are also a couple of new female characters I hope to see more of, along with a major comeback of a fierce femme fatale.
“Pernicious Pursuit” hits many topics relative to the world we live in today and touches upon significant issues like human trafficking, a global pandemic, corporate greed, corruption, misogyny, etc. There’s no holding back and that’s just the way I like it. “Pernicious Pursuit” is a fast-paced,exciting read that will keep you on your toes from the first page to the very last sentence. I highly recommend “Pernicious Pursuit” and all of the other books by Gary McGugan – they are simply magnificent.
Reviewed By Ruffina Oserio for Readers’ Favorite
Pernicious Pursuit: A Howard Knight Escapade by Gary D. McGugan is a well-written story with great characters. When the doorbell of his safe house in the Netherlands rings, waking Howard up in the middle of the night, he looks down three floors to see men in police uniforms. What he doesn’t know is that he is in far more trouble than the urgent police matter they say they came for. In fact, he is being hunted by a crime boss with scores to settle. Janet Weissel, his lover, barely escapes the men she believes are from The Organization as she watches while Howard is helplessly whisked away. Now begins a story of survival for both Howard and his lover, survival against the schemes and ruthlessness of The Organization. Can they survive and sink the criminal organization?
The first thing that caught my attention is Gary D. McGugan’s beautiful prose. It is flawless and the descriptions are apt and filled with a unique touch of humor. The imagery is strong and the cinematic style of writing allows readers to recreate scenes in their mind’s eye. The story begins with a strong premise: the protagonist is discovered and picked up by the bad guys he’s eluded over the years. At this point, I wanted to know what The Organization is all about and what they will do to Howard. The escape of Janet also excites the curiosity of the reader who wants to know what will happen to her and what she will do next. Pernicious Pursuit: A Howard Knight Escapade has compelling and memorable characters. It is fast-paced and crafted in excellent prose.
Reviewed By Susan Sewell for Readers’ Favorite
The leader of an illegal multi-billion dollar international conglomerate seeks retribution from the man who betrayed him in the gripping suspense novel, Pernicious Pursuit (A Howard Knight Escapade) by Gary D. McGugan. Howard Knight embezzled millions of dollars from his crime boss, Mareno. To protect himself and Janet, his companion, from the wrath of Mareno, Howard offers his knowledge of the multinational syndicate to the authorities. As a result, an United States agency places Howard and Janet in witness protection in the Netherlands. When police impersonators abduct Howard in the middle of the night, Janet manages to escape from their balcony. Believing Howard has been gruesomely murdered, Janet covertly travels to a safe home he selected she go to in an emergency. While Howard dodges and skirts around his enemies, Janet begins training to assist those who are protecting potential victims of Mareno and his confederates. However, Mareno has almost unlimited resources and is actively seeking them. Can Janet and Howard escape Mareno's evil clutches? Will they ever be reunited?
Pernicious Pursuit (A Howard Knight Escapade) by Gary D. McGugan is an intense novel. The story is well-written, with a fully developed plot and characters. It covers some of the shocking facts and ethics behind human trafficking, which left me reeling. The plight of the victims is horrifyingly accurate and is a haunting, unforgettable tale. The background is artfully set in Europe, enhancing the plotline with an international flavor. This riveting story will entertain those who love exciting, action-packed novels with vile antagonists and unsavory elements the protagonist must overcome. Because of the explicit sexual situations, language, and graphic violence, the book is only suitable for a more mature reader.
(Book 3 in the Multima Trilogy of Corporate Intrigue)
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: April 8, 2020
Gary D. McGugan pens the consummate ending to his Multima Trilogy, in the series’ third and final book, Unrelenting Peril.
Surviving the latest trajectory of danger at the end of Book II, Suzanne Simpson settles into her role as CEO of the grocery chain under the Multima empire umbrella. While she lives to breathe another day beyond the grasp of mobbed up ‘godfather’ of The Organization, Giancarlo Mareno, suffice it to say he is none too pleased that he has been out-smarted once again by this beautiful and extremely talented Multima nemesis.
Fortunate for Suzanne, the greatest gift she receives is to learn John George Mortimer’s health is improving remarkably. After all, he’s much more that a boss to her.
Meanwhile, just when we thought Howard Knight was long gone and out of the picture once and for all, it would seem he’s resurfaced. However, he’s not quite sporting an Armani suit and rolling up to VCI headquarters. Rather, he and his paramour are currently tucked away in the bowels of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. Wait! What? How did he end up there and what about his betrayal to Mareno?
In due time all questions will be answered. Howard’s future is reliant on some very difficult decisions he needs to make and little to no time left to make them. We also left James Fitzgerald with a speedier than planned retirement on his plate. However, after the tragedy that struck the Fitzgerald household prior to his retirement, thoughts of happily ever after with Dianne in their perfect little hideaway was never going to happen. It seems Dianne’s plans for joining James in his retirement didn’t include James. Suffice it to say, eyebrows will raise over the course Diane takes sans James.
I commend Gary McGugan for bringing old and new characters home to roost in the final book of the Multima Trilogy series, Unrelenting Peril. As was the case with both Books I and II, the end of this series was just as compelling and intriguing as the beginning.
These books have such high-velocity energy and action and the surprises sprinkled throughout the read are phenomenal. The characters continue to assume greater depth in their respective personas and the introduction and roles of new players in this last installment are just as viable and credible.
Reading this series was like sitting on the edge of something monumental about to happen and the only way to experience the moment was to turn the next page. However, just like the ocean, waves of Unrelenting Peril will roll and grow in sets until the seventh wave crashes; only to be followed by the next series of even more volatile waves to come. Brilliant Mr. McGugan! You have nailed the art of spinning the penultimate tale of corruption, greed and success among the many pages of this fantastic trilogy! I cannot wait to see what’s next.
Quill says: Unrelenting Peril is beyond ‘unrelenting’ and a brilliant end to the Multima Trilogy series.
Gary D. McGugan
Independently Published (2019)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (8/19)
“Unrelenting Peril” is the final book in the Multima corporate intrigue series by Gary D. McGugan. It’s a ruthless battle for corporate dominance, and with billions at stake it’s a show-stopping dramatic conclusion to a brilliant trilogy.
The executives at Multima Corporation encounter their biggest challenges yet in “Unrelenting Peril,” and the new CEO at the helm, Suzanne Simpson, has her work cut out for her. Suzanne and her leadership team continue to do battle against The Organization, a crime syndicate dedicated to taking over Multima Corporation, no matter the cost. Contending with forces persistent and merciless, Suzanne must bring her “A-Game” to her every waking moment. While planningMultima Corporation’s successional climb to the top of the business world through a joint venture,Suzanne Simpson must outwit and outmaneuver her adversary to block a hostile takeover attempt.
First, the characters – and I can’t emphasize this enough: ALL of the characters in “Unrelenting Peril” are well-developed, multidimensional and intriguing – from the CEO and chairman of the board, to the crime boss, to the administrative staff and housekeeper. Readers easily develop crystalclear mental images of any given character’s physical description, behaviors, attitudes, and innerthoughts, along with a sense of how they will react to any given situation.
THEN McGugan spices things up a bit and has a character do something, well – out of character, as he remolds that character into an exciting new personality, i.e., the good guy becomes a bad guy, or vice versa.
Also, as a woman who enjoys the particular drama and intrigue provided in the environment of the corporate atmosphere, I was pleasantly satisfied to find a number of females in key executive positions at Multima Corporation. Kudo’s to McGugan for adding diversity to his stories andsuccessfully rising to the challenge of creating effective authentic characters of the opposite sex –not an easy thing to achieve. Whether it is in the context of sleeping with someone to obtain information, successfully chairing a board meeting or firing a long-time seasoned executive in order to protect the corporation’s image and reputation - the Multima women are fierce!
As to the story itself – “Unrelenting Peril” is another amazing ride. With a number of conflicts involving different characters and businesses, including the FBI, The Organization, and several international corporations, McGugan does a magnificent job of not only sustaining a high level of realistic drama but also escalating conflict and tension, building at a pace that guarantees the reader will not be able to put his books down once they start reading. He takes reasonable circumstances and adds a bit of the extraordinary to create layers of excitement that enhance the overall entertainment value.
One thing is clear - Gary D. McGugan knows how to write top caliber stories. Some authors write predominately character-driven books, while others drive their stories through enticing plotlines. McGugan does both, and with equal excellence – no small feat, especially in keeping a series exciting and suspenseful with escalating intensity.
I highly recommend “Unrelenting Peril,” along with the entire Multima series. In fact, I suggest readers consume all of the stories sequentially in the order they were written: “Three Weeks Less a Day,” then “The Multima Scheme,” and finish with “Unrelenting Peril.” While it’s definitely not necessary, as each of the stories stand quite capably on their own – do yourself a favor and get the set. I can honestly say this is the best trilogy I have read in quite some time and I am really going to miss the characters of this series – kind of like saying goodbye to old friends.
Reviewed By Norm Goldman
Published July 26, 2019
Author: Gary D. McGugan
When I picked up a copy of Gary D. McGugan's third novel in his Multima series, Unrelenting Peril, I didn't give much thought to its title. It was only after I had reached the last chapter that I well understood that McGugan could not have picked a more appropriate title, it was right on.
With his Multima series, it is quite apparent that McGugan has a clear understanding of the world of multinational corporations. His many years of business experiences and his travels on behalf of units of world-corporations provided him with a front row seat into the fundamentals of its landscape. It also has given him a clear perception of the environment, especially when it concerns company reorganizations, joint-ventures, mergers and acquisitions.
We are in for quite a thrilling ride with his latest novel where the principal theme focuses on reshaping the corporate strategy of a fictional company, Multima via the joint venture route. In the usual course of events these deals can entail huge risks, where you have to consider the strategic fit between the acquirer and its target. There is also the matter of blending the organizational fit between the two companies which affect their respective corporate cultures. But when you add in a criminal entity trying to infiltrate the transaction by a mixture of strategic decisions and trial-and-error-attempts coupled with employing a bank it has control over, then you really have an alarming problem!
Make no mistake about it, not only is the plot of Unrelenting Peril very “real,” if you can recall past real experiences with rogue banks, but also McGugan's intriguing cast of characters are not crafted like cardboard cut-outs. They are alive and breathing who have human failings and aspirations.
Moreover, they move at quite a flying pace, particularly Suzanne Simpson, who has recently become the CEO of Multima Corporation. She had previously been an executive with a Canadian supermarket chain, which had been bought by Multima. Initially, she was the president at Multima Supermarkets. She now has her eyes on making Multima Corporation the largest and most diversified supermarket chain in the world after Walmart.
And here once again McGugan makes good use of his understanding as to how top executives function, how things get done (or don't) and he makes his readers care about what happens to Simpson and her plans.
Apart from the major plot of the novel, McGugan cleverly interweaves a somewhat fascinating sub-plot, the clandestine operations of the FBI as they penetrate a criminal entity known as The Organization. The FBI employs every means at their disposal including the use of a mole, as well as convincing key personnel of the criminal entity to turn states evidence. Although, you may not agree with some of the tactics of the FBI, but when you consider the alternatives and the ruthlessness of these criminal entities, perhaps the means does justify the ends. It makes you wonder how wide spread is the infiltration where we witness these criminal entities or persons representing them invest financial and/or human resources to participate in the decision-making process of these legitimate businesses? In addition, we have to question what are the risk factors that facilitate or promote infiltration?
As is the case with McGugan's two previous novels, Three Weeks Less A Day and The Multima Scheme, the plot of Unrelenting Peril is tight and complex. McGugan has a a gift for well-paced, well-blocked flurries of nail biting action that all lead up to a surprising finale.
The dialogue carried on among the various characters is believable, and the principal character, Suzanne is a memorable woman who is not easily forgotten once you put the novel to rest. Are we in for another sequel in the Multima series?
THE MULTIMA SCHEME
Gary D. McGugan
Tellwell Talent (2018)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (8/19)
“The Multima Scheme” is the second book in Gary D. McGugan’s trilogy of corporate intrigue featuring the high-level executives of Multima Corporation. Picking up right where the first novel, “Three Weeks Less a Day” leaves off, readers are in for another wild ride as the corporate tides shift once again.
Breast cancer isn’t the only challenge facing billionaire CEO of Multima Corporation, John George Mortimer. Multima Corporation is in the throes of chaos. There’s a division president missing, and a board member on the run. Another division president loses a parent through mysterious means and Multima Corporation could be involved.
There’s a new division president with something to prove and yet another just waiting for the chance to retire. As John George battles his way back to personal health he’s also entangled in a fight for the very survival of the company he built from the ground up. Opposition faces him at every turn, and everyone’s involved, from the FBI to The Organization, a world-wide crime syndicate. Does Mortimer have another fight left in him? Does Multima Corporation?
At this point I must commend author Gary D. McGugan on anther novel of pure excellence. I keep an open mind when starting a series because there’s always the chance of the sequel not living up to the original. “The Multima Scheme” delivers on all counts. As in “Three Weeks Less a Day” the writing is brilliant – short chapters and short paragraphs deliver a concise and crisp easy to read story that is well-written, fast-paced and intense. Indeed, McGugan outdoes himself, and does so with his signature eloquence and flair.
Along with some new faces, many familiar personalities return. A few of the characters develop into leading roles, some drift over to the dark side (while a few stay there), and the lines on the corporate org chart are as ever-changing as the relationships.
One thing’s for certain – everyone is feeling the pressure. The storyline in “The Multima Scheme” probes deeper into the complex corporate environment, building on the original plotline and ratcheting up the intensity.
While the level of action, suspense and drama is actually enough to fill several volumes, the story never feels too busy, rushed or complicated. The challenges are bigger, more bizarre and carry greater risks. The story gets pretty dark in some moments as readers are delivered into the baser, corrupt side of human existence through technological destruction, collateral damage and financial ruin, and running the gamut from hot and steamy sexual encounters to cold and unfeeling rape, murder and human trafficking.
Though I highly recommend reading this series in the order intended for maximum enjoyment, it’s not necessary, as “The Multima Scheme” is a strong standalone story. In case you can’t tell, I’m hooked on Gary D. McGugan’s work - the only downside is there is only one story left in the series!
The Multima Scheme
(Book 2 in the Multima Trilogy of Corporate Intrigue)
By: Gary D. McGugan
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication: April 2018
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford Review Date: March 29, 2020
Gary D. McGugan ramps the adventure and intrigue up a notch with the second book in his Multima Trilogy, The Multima Scheme.
In the final pages of Book 1, Three Weeks Less a Day, we learned that Wendal Randall’s fall from grace was anything but graceful. That coming on the heels of John George Mortimer’s vision to take a breath, reset and perhaps set sights on opportunities that aren’t quite as volatile as what Randall and his band of thieves had in mind. Mortimer is on a trajectory of good health and with it comes the hope of a future filled with increased prosperity and a broader spectrum of what Multima can do for their loyal and valued client base.
We learn some interesting facts about one of Mortimer’s superstars, Suzanne Simpson, toward the end of book one that may give readers cause to interpret the obvious, but the outcome is far from predictable. James Fitzgerald, Mortimer’s trusted, loyal and faithful financial wizard is staring down retirement and already setting his sights on the retirement compound he and his wife Dianne have coveted in the wilderness of Minnesota. Unfortunately, that retirement is going to have to be put on hold for a little longer.
There’s a new expansion on what Multima can do financially not only for its employees, but loyal customers and none other than Fitzgerald will be tasked with the heavy lifting to make it a reality. Just when all roads are leading to success as a result of this new plan, the end destination of the journey is far from what the team had plans to deliver.
Gary McGugan has not only held onto the momentum he revved up in Book I (Three Weeks Less a Day), but he’s taken his audience for a drive on the Autobahn across the pages of The Multima Scheme. My experience when reviewing a series is to pay attention to the potential of predictable moments. There is nothing predictable about The Multima Scheme.
McGugan continues to accelerate the plot, enhance his characters and introduce some new villains to step in where the others have moved on. He knows how to spin a tale of sin, intrigue and greed and is a psychic wordsmith when it comes to knowing the exact moment to pull the rug out from underneath his audience with yet another superb scene set up.
If his audience thought crossing the finish line in Book I was epic, they better fasten their seatbelts and get ready for another thrilling ride to be had in The Multima Scheme. Bravo Mr. McGugan.
I am a fan and am thrilled with the momentum of this series!
Quill says: A lot did happen in Book 1, Three Weeks Less a Day. It pales in comparison to the ongoing intrigue in Book 2, The Multima Scheme!
The Multima Scheme
Reviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
Don't worry, you don't have to rush out and pick up a copy of Gary D. McGugan's debut novel, Three Weeks Less A Day before reading his second in the Multima series, The Multima Scheme.
McGugan crafts a pretty good follow-up and avoids falling into the trap of recreating the original plot, although he effectively builds on it. In the second novel, he chooses to develop his characters more fully and he includes more extensive theme progressions. These themes involve human trafficking, the darker corners of organized crime and their penetration into corporate America, the development of technology as a means to cause havoc in our financial system, and the extent to which unsavory characters will stoop to gain power.
Once again, the narrative focuses on Multima corporation and its three business units, Supermarkets, Financial Services, and Solutions, as well as their respective presidents, Suzanne Simpson, James Fitzgerald, and Douglas Whitfield. We also learn the many secrets affecting the lives of each of these well-drawn characters. And there are some unusual surprises! There is also the matter of the CEO, John George Mortimer's cancer, which the prognosis does not look too encouraging.
Readers are briefly brought up to speed on what transpired in the previous novel when we learn more about Howard Knight, who is now in hiding. He was a director of Multima as well as president of Venture Capital Investments (VCI), which is part of organized crime. As he is no longer a director of Multima, VCI is determined to having him replaced by one of their own.
Knight is in the bad books of VCI and is on the run due to his dreadful deal in purchasing the logistics division on behalf of The Organization. The result of the fiasco caused The Organization to lose a considerable amount of money. All of this was the result of being outsmarted by the CEO of Multima, the wily old fox, Mortimer. By the way, Knight was also romantically involved with Fidelia Morales who helps him in his escape.
Another ramification of the disastrous deal was the disappearance of Wendal Randall, who had been the president of logistics and The Organization's choice to replace Mortimer. Under arrest by the FBI and they have managed to extract from him some fascinating information concerning Knight and VCI. They also have arrested a close associate of Randall, Frau Schäffer who turns out to be quite a surprise.
Mortimer appoints Douglas Whitfield at the new division of Multima Solutions. We read some astounding disclosures concerning Whitfield's activities as they relate to Multima. These involve its personnel, VCI, and some very chilling software that the division had developed, which would have profound effects on the banking system.
When Mortimer begins to dig deeper into the operations of VCI and how they are going about penetrating Multimea, he begins to suspect one of its employees, Janet Weissel as being a mole. She works in corporate and investor affairs, and Mortimer believes she is associated in some way to VCI and Howard Knight.
Neatly woven into the narrative is the relationship between Simpson and Mortimer and the shocking revelation that she is his daughter as a result of his week-end of passionate love-making in Québec City with her mother, Louise Marcotte. Simpson discovers that Multima has some connection with her mother and her estate and is adamant that Mortimer reveals all to her.
She also finds out that her mother, before her death, was receiving secret monthly payments to her bank account by a subsidiary of a company she managed. Also, Mortimer had granted to Simpson's mother preferred shares that eventually helped him in blocking Knight from replacing him with Randall. And there is also the matter of the suspicious deaths of Simpson's mother and that of murder of the Notaire, who had been handling Marcotte's estate, as well as that of his wife and son. It seems that the Notaire and his son were sticking their noses into the machinations of VCI -something "The Organization" would not tolerate.
The challenge that McGugan faces in creating this second novel is to stay true to the more significant plot-line of the series. There is also the added problem to create a sequel that would be complete enough that readers could just read the follow up without being lost. It becomes a balancing act, which McGugan has admirably pulled off. He also has appreciated what it was about the first book that captivates his readership, and thus, he more fully develops these themes in The Multima Scheme.
Although, I must admit this second novel is quite busy, perhaps too busy, yet McGugan manages to give his readers something new. You have to realize that authors always take a risk when writing a sequel as very often readers end up disappointed. On the other hand, if you are lucky, they could love the sequel even more. In the case of The Multima Scheme readers will not be disappointed and I am certain will patiently wait to read the third one in the series, Unrelenting Peril. Stay tuned.
Three Weeks Less A Day
(Book 1 in The Multima Trilogy of Corporate Intrigue)
By: Gary D. McGugan
Publisher: Friesen Press
Publication: September 2016
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford for Feathered Quill
Review Date: March 19, 2020
Gary D. McGugan delivers an epic adventure/thriller in the first novel in his Multima Mystery Series, Three Weeks Less a Day.
Wendal Randall has come a long way since his nerdy status in school. He’s borderline genius when it comes to navigating the intricacies of all aspects of technology and configuration. Not only is he viewed as an asset to Multima Corporation, but it seems Howard Knight, a powerful director with Venture Capital Investments (VCI) has taken more than a passing interest in Wendal.
And speaking of talent, Suzanne Simpson has done an admirable job of climbing to the ranks of corporate fiefdom with the coveted title of President in her division of Multima Corporation. The trifecta of top talent is financier extraordinaire, James Fitzgerald. Of course, none of these names and their respective titles would mean anything had it not been for their employment with Multima Corporation and the guidance from founder and chief executive officer, John George Mortimer.
They are about to be tasked with a life changing opportunity that, if they succeed, will implement game changing future successes for Multima Corporation. Now all they need to do is figure out how to deliver while navigating insurmountably turbulent tides that lie ahead for each of them.
Meanwhile, John George Mortimer has company demons to keep at bay. It would seem Multima’s legendary CEO, one of the richest men in the country with billions in personal wealth, has opted to test the reactionary waters. Curious as to what the fallout would be if he elects to leave the company at fiscal year-end, it’s time to make the announcement and see how long it takes before the sharks begin to circle. Of course, there are other motivating factors for Mortimer’s announcement. He's simply opted not to share that information quite yet.
Sadly, in a world full of leaks to the press, while Mortimer’s intentions were to keep certain information quiet, someone from within saw great personal gain in releasing the news. He simply couldn’t help himself and opts to strategically share the news in hopes the hit to Mortimer would be one to knock him down once and for all.
In this first of his three-book series, author Gary McGugan is off to a great start. This book is the equivalent of Secretariat at the starting gate of the race that would secure his triple crown win! McGugan clearly has a fantastic eye for detail and is quite the gardener when it comes to planting seeds only to watch them turn into full blown gardens as the story progresses.
The characters are diabolical, heroic, villainous and likeable all at the same time. Each one has a distinct spotlight shining upon him or her when its time for their respective ‘center stage’ in this read. The format/flow of this book is polished in that McGugan plays a heated game of tennis among the characters from chapter to chapter. He showcases their whereabouts and happenings and whatever their current plight may be.
There is no point throughout this read where McGugan’s audience has the remote chance of getting lost or confused. Rather, he spends just as much time tying lose ends together immediately after each crescendo in the plot before moving on with yet another whammy of a situation. I look forward to jumping into the next book in this series. This was a truly entertaining read.
Quill says: A lot can happen in Three Weeks Less a Day. This is a must-read!
For more information on Three Weeks Less A Day, please visit the author's website: www.garydmcguganbooks.com
THREE WEEKS LESS A DAY
Gary D. McGugan
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (7/19)
“Three Weeks Less a Day” is the first book in a trilogy of novels by Gary D. McGugan. It’s a fascinating international corporate thriller that will leave readers wondering what really goes on behind boardroom doors.
When John George Mortimer, CEO of Multima Corporation learns he has breast cancer, he knows he must start looking for his successor – but he’s going to do things his way. Mortimer’s board of directors are aware only of his plans to retire, he’s keeping his health concerns under wraps until absolute necessity dictates a need to reveal such information. Under the guise of taking proactive measures on the impending economic downturn, Mortimer charges his senior executives, each a president of one of Multima Corporation’s operating divisions, with a little friendly competition. They are each to develop a game-changer strategy that will ensure Multima Corporation continues to grow and profit in spite of the recession. With a 60-day deadline, the division presidents have their work cut out for them, but John George Mortimer isn’t out of the woods yet and he quickly finds his entire plan unraveling in “Three Weeks Less a Day.”
Gary McGugan skillfully crafts an intricate tale of suspense, thrills, and non-stop drama, and I was thoroughly captivated by, “Three Weeks Less a Day.” The writing is outstanding – McGugan delivers the reader directly into the story as a participant in the lives of these high-powered executives through authentic character development and realistic narrative.
The characters are charming and exciting, and it was so much fun getting inside their heads, learning how they tick, and trying to anticipate their next moves. They are multidimensional with commanding personalities and unrelenting determination, while also exhibiting genuine character flaws that strengthen and enrich the plot. The level of detail with which McGugan portrays his characters reveals his expertise in the business world, and his author voice is distinctive and eloquent.
The nugget that puts this story in the upper echelons for me is John George Mortimer’s battle with breast cancer. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book featuring a male character struggling with what is perceived to be a “female” disease and McGugan brings a wealth of information about the subject, weaving it seamlessly into the story for a unique, engaging plot twist.
“Three Weeks Less a Day” by Gary D. McGugan will appeal to a wide audience. Those interested in suspense and corporate intrigue flavored with the ruthless machinations of organized crime will find it an impressive debut novel that’s hard to put down. It’s clear McGugan has found his niche in the world of corporate thrillers and I look forward to reading, “The Multima Scheme,” the next novel in this innovative, exciting series.
Three Weeks Less A Day
Reviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
Author: Gary D. McGugan
On the back cover of Gary D. McGugan's first novel, Three Weeks Less A Day, there is a description of the author as being someone who loves to tell stories. I would like to further add, he tells his story like a master of suspense as he deftly builds up a story that takes some surprising swerves. This is very much in evidence with this intricate fast-moving yarn that will keep you on the edge-of-your-seat until the very end. And just when you believe you have the plot all figured out, McGugan throws in another red herring that keeps you guessing.
The story is carefully built focusing on a highly successful enterprise, Multima Corporation headed by its crafty founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, John George Mortimer. Three divisions comprise the company: Logistics, whose President is Wendal Randall, a brilliant technology expert, Supermarkets, whose President is Suzanne Simpson and who possesses a larger than life personality and outstanding people skills and James Fitzgerald, President of Financial Services, who is a financial wizard.
As the narrative kicks off, the seeds of the plot are planted when we meet Randall who just receives a confidential text message from an influential board member of Multima, Howard Knight, mentioning that Mortimer intends to leave the company at the end of the fiscal year. This would have incalculable implications concerning the possible replacement of Mortimer. Who would be the choice of the Board of Directors and where would Randall fit it?
Knight is a director on the board of Multima and on another company's board, Venture Capital Investments (VIC), a large private equity fund. There is an intriguing history between Randall and Knight. Apparently, Knight came to Randall's rescue when he had owned a small company that experienced financial difficulties. Knight had bailed him out, and it was he who was instrumental in having Randall become the President of one of the Multima's divisions. There is also another disconcerting matter concerning an event that happened at MIT where Randall was pursuing a master's degree in business administration. Randall had found himself in a nasty situation concerning a young woman and once again, Knight rescued him from some dire consequences.
After Randall contacts Knight, it is confirmed that Mortimer will be leaving the company and that some board members are considering Randall as a possible successor. Knight wants to know immediately if Randall would accept becoming CEO? Randall assures him that he would take the position. Knight tells Randall that he will back him; however, it is imperative that his succession to the CEO be handled delicately if they want to win the support of the entire board. Randall believes there doesn't seem to be any strings attached concerning Knight's generous offer, or is there, considering Knight's past help?
We learn a little more about Knight and VIC, which owns fifteen percent of Multima Corporation's preferred shares, the result of its billion-dollar investment at the time Multima acquired Randall's distressed company. McGugan slips into the story mention of an entity called “ the Organization” that is behind VIC and states that they didn't invest its money just to earn adequate returns. We are now trying to figure out what this entity is all about and who are its principals? If Mortimer releases day-to-day management of the company, Knight would then be in a position to apply some fundamental operating policies that would be of benefit to the Organization. Randall has now become an indispensable component of these changes, and thus his succession to Mortimer is pivotal.
The tale now switches to Mortimer, who is informed by his medical doctor that he has breast cancer and must undergo an operation. He is adamant in keeping his disease a secret and not divulge his diagnosis to Multima's board members or executives. He convenes a crucial meeting of the division presidents at the company's headquarters in Fort Myers, Florida. At the meeting, the three senior presidents are given an assignment where they would have to come up with a single game-changing strategy to re-invent their business unit. Each President and their respective teams have sixty days to accomplish the project.
With this skilfully crafted story, McGugan employs his vast knowledge of the ins and outs of the world of multinational corporations and zooms in on the quest for power no matter what means and tools are used. He keeps the story humming with a balancing act that includes three diverse people with some intriguing histories who are thrown into a high stakes grueling competition. Readers have much to chew on as they ponder who will be the winner and will he or she be chosen as Mortimer's successor? What creative strategy will each employ in arriving at the most business effective plan? Will each play by ethical and legal rules, or will they be overtaken by their greed and ambition? How about the secrets lurking in Randall's past and his relationship with the devious Howard Knight? And what about the confidential revelations concerning Simpson and Fitzgerald. How will this all play out?
Three Weeks Less A Day is the first of McGugan's Multima series and I am looking forward to reading the next one in the series.