I think when it comes to novels, there aren’t enough written on the corporate world and the problems employees have in the workplace. Maybe the only novel other than the Spiked Heel that comes to mind is The Jungle by Uptown Sinclair.
The Spiked Heel was written by Richard Marsten but that name was a pseudonym for Evan Hunter. As a writer, there is a huge difference in the way Hunter writes The Spiked Heel than his Ed McBain novels, which was full of so much dialogue and easy to read. His writing and style in The Spiked Heel is more dynamic. It’s hard for me to understand why he writes in a different style in the Spiked Heel than when he wrote the McBain books. It's as if there are two different writers who wrote the books.
As far as the book goes, much of it focuses on two characters point of views, Griff and Jeff McQuade. Both of them work in a show factory called Julien Kahn. The factory was taken over by a company called Titanic. The new manager who comes in to run things is Jeff McQuade.
From there, we see how McQuade abuses the employees and sexually harasses the woman in the company. McQuade is not only the boss but a dark character who is a former college football player. Hunter does a great job of creating a difficult boss who takes hold of power and abuses it in different ways in the workplace and instills fear in the employees.
Griff is the manager of the cost at the shoe factory. What drives the book is how these two characters are at odds over issues in the workplace as well as how the employees are treated. It’s a battle that seems to be in McQuade’s favor throughout the book and you find yourself shaking your head and hoping that Griff will come through somehow at the end of the story as McQuade continues to abuse his power.
It’s certainly a book that I can relate to regarding the workplace. I thought that since this novel takes place in the 60’s, it seemed to be a great portrayal of employers and how power is abused and how employees suffer as a result of this.
Hunter is somewhat evenhanded in the book when he talks about the problems that employees create as well so I give him credit for that. In any case, it’s a great story that shows that you can’t take the corporate world for granted and that there are problems that repeated themselves in many corporations over the years. This is a great book to see why this is happening.
If you ever wondered about corporate greed and how it has hurt employees at many companies over the years like Prudential Bache, Enron, AIG, The New York Times, or Sunbeam, then you can read this book and know the reasons why there are problems in the corporate world even today and that if anything, it is worse today than it was when Evan Hunter wrote this book. As far as I’m concerned, it’s worth five stars.