The Strongest Do Survive

The term alpha male comes from the social behavior of wolves, where the strong control and the weak submit. And this is very much what Alpha Male, by Sam Foster, is about. It’s a male story—full of competition in many arenas. Sports show up, for example—macho sports, from marlin fishing to horseracing to bullriding to skeetshooting to shooting pool. But the main sport of this novel, and the main arena in the fight for control and survival, is the cutthroat world of commercial real estate in the fast lane of Los Angeles.

At the beginning of the novel, Jack Kendrick gets fired from his job as sales manager for a high-power agency because he won’t compromise his ethics. He lands on his feet and gets hired by another firm where a supposed subordinate—a selfish, sexy sales agent named Liz Peterson—has a rapid rise to power and wealth and is fast becoming a legend. The two get along and respect each other’s talents, but a clash is inevitable, and when it comes it’s over ethics, of which Liz has none.

Liz will stop at nothing to make an important deal. Knowing that sex is a weakness for many powerful men, she flaunts her sexuality, but also exploits the sex appeal of her subordinates. She ruthlessly forces an innocent and eager young male assistant to have sex with an important homosexual client, a crisis for the young man that drives him to suicide. Liz has no remorse; she made millions on the deal, which was as illegal as it was exploitive. This is one of many examples of Liz’s talent for getting up and ahead, but it becomes the pivotal event that is her undoing. Jack Kendrick investigates the young man’s death, which won’t leave him alone. He puts the pieces together just as she’s planning to pull off her pimping activity again, this time exploiting a young and eager woman.

Alpha Male is full of intrigue, wheeling, dealing, and moral quandaries. There are philosophical and ethical issues, such as the Hegelian search for truth and the struggle for a better world. And, like all good fiction, the issues are dependent on the characters. Jack has strong voices in the supporting cast giving him plenty to think about. Two especially strong and valuable allies are his son, Ian, and his wife, Lorna. Lorna supports Jack in his stand for truth while she shows him the power of love; Ian is the one to whom Jack must pass on his value system—even when that value system is not easy for him to understand.

Sam Foster has worked in industrial real estate in Greater Los Angeles for over twenty years. He managed the largest office CB Richard Ellis, Inc., the largest commercial real estate services firm in the world. He currently leads the Southern California industrial practice for Jones Lang LaSalle. His writings have appeared in Orange Coast magazine and the G.W. Review as well as in numerous professional journals.

Alpha Male
by Sam Foster
ISBN 1-56474-397-7
224 pages, paperback, $14.95

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