Written by: Wayne C. Rogers
The second novel that was published by Larry Brooks is Pressure Points. Though not a horror novel, this book is reminiscent of the theatrical film, The Game, starring Michael Douglas, because nothing is as it seems on the outside. What Darkness Bound does for ladies dressed in black leather, Pressure Points does the exact same thing for self-help seminars.
Now, let me pre-warn the readers out there that Pressure Points isn’t a fast paced book, though the story does move rather quickly. This book is like a slow-burning fuse that creates strong leading and supporting characters, and pushes its way forward as brick upon brick of intense suspense is added to the structure, until the whole thing finally reaches an exploding climax.
Neither the reader, nor the main characters in the book, will know what’s real or simply a masterful illusion as each page is carefully turned. The one and perhaps only thing the reader may be assured of is that a lot of people are going to die before the ending is finally reached!
The story deals predominantly with Brad Teeters, Pamela Wiley and Mark Johnson. All three are high-ranking employees of the Wright & Wong advertising and marketing agency in Seattle, Washington. Brad is the “people” person who’s capable of selling any potential client on the agency’s ability to meet their needs. Pamela is the creative source behind the agency’s success, and Mark is the genius from the business end. Each of these people have their strong and weak points, and all three have now reached a particular point in their life where they want more than the agency is willing to give.
When the three characters approach Ken Wong (the sole surviving founder of the agency) and inform him of their intent to instigate a hostile takeover of the firm, he reluctantly agrees to their demands, but only on one condition. Ken tells the trio that he’ll willingly turn the agency over to them; but first, they must attend and complete a self-help seminar in northern California.
The rationale behind this unexpected maneuver is that Wong hopes the seminar (one he, himself, recently attended) will help them to see the error of their ways and that they’re not ready to successfully run the business.
All three team members, hungry for what they consider to be their justly rewards, agree to spend a week at the seminar, not knowing how it will drastically change their lives. One other thing that’s not known is that each of them has marked for death and that the real challenge will be in staying alive!
Pressure Points reminded me a great deal of the novels that were published back in the fifties, sixties, and early seventies when strong character development and avid suspense were the most important ingredients of any well-written thriller…when the whole point was to keep the reader guessing right up till the very last page. Mr. Brooks succeeds on this level. Strange as it may seem, however, the one character I was most drawn to was Brad Teeters’ wife, Beth. She reminded me somewhat of the “Dark Lady” from Darkness Bound in her ability to manipulate the people around her in order to achieve her personal goals. Not only is she smart, beautiful, and sensuous, Beth Teeters is also as dangerous as a Black Widow spider. She’ll do whatever it takes to protect her and her husband’s interests, even it means having a clandestine affair with Ken Wong, or seducing others in order to put her own game into motion. This is definitely a woman you don’t want to cross!
All in all, Pressure Points is an excellent follow-up to Larry Brooks’ first novel. It’s a page-turner of the best sort and will keep you guessing in a futile effort to figure out what’s going to happen next.
There’s one last thing I want to mention. I definitely wouldn’t want to be Kenneth Wong when Beth Teeters gets her revenge.