Foam by Robert Neil Baker

Foam by Robert Neil Baker
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (329 pgs)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

It is 2009; the auto industry is imploding. Charlotte Kirby and car manufacturer customer Bill Arnold’s romance gets hopelessly caught up in the intrigue and in-fighting over her new urethane foam. Can it save her company and his career? Who is bent on ruining the project, violently if necessary? Charlotte loses an important player to a suspicious accident, and another defects to a rock band. Bill’s bosses and co-workers at his struggling employer launch selfish agendas. A friend dumps one key co-worker for another. The lovers are challenged by thefts, assaults, kidnapping, and a laboratory disaster. Time is running out, can they unmask the villain and learn the true secret of the foam?

Bet you could guess a long time and never figure out what this book is about from its title.

I am not going to ruin this book and tell you anything about what “foam” could possibly have to do with a mystery. While this is indeed a mystery, it is also a wonderfully funny spoof on the giant automakers of our country as well as those in competition from other countries. This story is basically about the plight of the automakers in 2008 with the rising oil prices and first and foremost, it’s about money. It’s about the competition between automakers to stay alive, to develop the best products, and to have them on the market first. The need to be secretive about those products was worse than football coaches hiding their mouths from the TV cameras.

There are scenes that are humorous and others that are realistic. There are desperate people facing failure and those trying to stick their heads in the sand. It actually reminded me of Hollywood where actors and actresses are all trying to stab their competitors in the back, while smiling in their face. It draws a good picture of how many businesses and individuals were affected by one or more automakers starting to fail. But still…it’s a mystery with even a little bit of intrigue and tongue-in-cheek mixed together.

This was a long read in some ways. It seemed to me that there were a lot of characters but in hindsight I don’t know that this is true. It takes a while to build a diagram in your mind figuring out who belongs to which company and for that matter who is “who”. I don’t think the characters are well-developed. I don’t mean to say that you can’t get a sense of the characters; I just think it was a little confusing. It was sometimes hard to determine which was mystery and which was spoof. Then again, maybe that was the idea.

Having said all that… long read or not, I read it all the way to the last page. The storyline kept me wanting to know what would happen next and which company ended up with the secret.

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