Reviews of Terminal Ambition
Terminal Ambition: A Bold Tale of Deception and Courage
Review by Helen Akers | Jun 11, 2012
A compelling revelation of the social injustice against women in Corporate America
Terminal Ambition, by Kate McGuinness is a straight-forward glimpse into the way our patriarchal society perpetuates social injustice towards women, particularly within the institution of Corporate America. The story’s fast-paced and bold use of language moves the reader through a web of deception, outrage, revelation and courage. Maggie Mahoney’s ambitions to rectify the lewd and harmful mistreatment of women within her own law firm uncovers the truth behind the power games played between the firm’s partners and her own delusions about the nature of her marriage.Terminal Ambition explores the many facets of sexual harassment—from simple ideological prejudice to coerced sex disguised as the victim’s doing. McGuinness delves into the confliction, frustration and inner strength of each of her female characters. She resolves each of their dilemmas through some sort of vindication—whether that be a perpetrator’s termination of employment or the woman’s own act of change that frees her from a source of internal distress.
Terminal Ambition does not limit itself to the perspectives of its female characters, but gives its readers insight into the corporate male mindset. McGuinness’ portrayal is both an illustration of how gender dynamics and social conditioning can lead to violations of the law and undue privilege. Those seeking further information about women’s legal rights in the workplace will also find the book’s comprehensive supplementary resources to be of authoritative and insightful value.Readers looking for an honest, brutal journey into a determined woman’s quest to transform injustice will find Terminal Ambition to be a compelling story. Its concise and deliberate illustration of the struggles that females often face in the workplace is also filled with details about the emotional impacts that its characters feel as a result. The descriptions of these emotional impacts are powerful enough to establish an underlying sense of empathy and understanding between the reader and the book’s characters.Although each character chooses a different method of handling her discrimination—however subtle—anyone who has an interest in female equality and women’s’ rights will find McGuinness’ illustrations to be both believable and stirring. The book also offers important insights into how the need for power and control can strongly affect the decisions made by those in charge. Most of all, Terminal Ambition successfully conveys how conflicts and a lack of understanding between male and female perspectives, needs, and motives are at the root cause of social inequity.
Terminal Ambition is available in both paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon. Readers interested in learning more about the author and her staunch efforts to be an advocating voice for women’s rights can visit her website at WomensRightsWriter.com
An engaging thriller
Review by Steven J. Harper
In this engaging thriller, Terminal Ambition tackles the culture of sexual discrimination and harassment in a big law firm. From its dramatic opening on a mountaintop to the inner sanctum of power at a big law firm, this page-turner offers readers a wild ride they won’t soon forget.
Maggie Mahoney: A Character Worth Reading About!
Review by Melanie Rigney
Katie McGuinness knows all too well the corporate world of go-along-to-get-ahead that so many women face today. In “Terminal Ambition,” she’s crafted a firm as believable… and as slimy… as any created by Turow or Grisham. Maggie starts out as a bit of an angler… and in a way, saves her own soul as she gets to the bottom of her firm’s tacit policies that support sexual harassment and unethical behavior. Read it!
Got me from page 1
Review by Laren Bright, Emmy-nominated writer
Some books give you a sense of a world that may be foreign to you. Books like Terminal Ambition drag you into such a world and give you the full-immersion experience. From the first page I was into it and simply didn’t want to put it down. And the best part: it wasn’t just an entertaining read, it gave me real insights into an issue that, being a man, I would not be able to experience firsthand. This was darn near as good — or maybe I should say as bad — as being there. A really impressive debut and one can only hope the first of many more books to come.
High powered action
Review by Grannie Annie
Terminal Ambition is worth reading just for its page-turning excitement, but it also provides an education on women’s workplace rights. Apparently the author has been a partner in a high powered legal firm and knows of which she speaks first hand. Her own experience must be why there is such an authentic feeling in the descriptions she provides. The story opens with a very suspenseful and fast paced chapter, and builds from there. Several times I was holding my breath waiting for what came next. It is definitely worth reading.
An engaging thriller
By Steven J. Harper
A Woman’s Fight for Justice in the Workplace
Review by Laurel-Rain Snow “Rain” “Rainy Days” (VINE VOICE)When Maggie Mahoney became a partner at a top Wall Street law firm, she had earned her position; however, some felt that her husband Bryce was more than a little bit responsible for her success. With his death came a change in how she viewed herself and how others saw her. Additionally, the attorney chosen to replace her husband had some questionable qualities, including a tendency to intimidate the female attorneys and other female employees. So when Maggie is appointed to a committee to investigate sexual harassment, she is enthused. Until she begins to realize that the whole task force might just be a smokescreen, and that the chairman of the firm and his ambitions might just be at play. What will Maggie have to do to expose the dark underbelly of the firm? Will she be able to win justice for the women in the firm before it is too late? Terminal Ambition: A Maggie Mahoney Novel was an exciting, page-turning thriller that illuminated the issues and revealed an intriguing glimpse of how the Big Boys play their power games. I would have enjoyed a more in-depth glimpse into the lives outside the law firm, but I do look forward to more books about Maggie Mahoney.
Offers a peek into a disturbing world
Review by JoJo431
Never having been the victim of sexual harassment, I found this book to be a disturbing but fascinating look into a world completely foreign to me. I would hope that in this day and time, these situations no longer exist, but the author did a great job in building a case against the bad guys and keeping me interested to see what would happen next. While a bit on the stereotypical side, the characters were, for the most part, well developed and believable. There was never any doubt as to whether a character was “good” or “bad” – and that left me wanting a bit more suspense. The story moved at a very good pace; the conclusion, while foregone in my mind, was satisfactory in that all was right with the world when the last page was read. I would definitely read more of this author’s work. I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to review it.
It’s About Time
Review by Doris Banchik/Banchik &Associates
What is a legal thriller? I don’t really know, but I do know that industries such as law and investment banking seem to function under different rules, promulgated by an inflated sense of personal power. Terminal Ambition folds back the corner of the tent on this dynamic in a big (deal) law firm. In this, her first work, Kate McGuiness presents the reader with a disturbing glimpse into the abuse of power in the name of sexual harassment. I really got the sense that Ms. McGuiness knows from what she speaks, and like Maggie Mahoney, is not taking this pervasive problem sitting down. Well done and about time!
In Love with Maggie Mahoney
Review by FeministLawProf
I’ve always been a fan of legal thrillers, but it’s hard to find ones with realistic female characters who aren’t just hot bodies. Kate McGuiness has crafted a tough, smart, and sassy female lead with Maggie Mahoney. Through the eyes of Maggie Mahoney, McGuiness tackles sexual harassment in a field where the perpetrators know exactly how to skirt the law. McGuinness’s examination of Big Law sexual harassment couldn’t be more timely. While real world Big Law firms continue to undergo radical changes, McGuinness’s Mahoney takes on firm culture – revealing sexism, sexual harassment, and rampant misogyny. The periphery characters are rich, the conversations are believable and flesh out the dilemmas facing employees, and Maggie Mahoney is funny, tough, and kind. Whether or not you’re in the legal field, this novel is worth the read. I can guarantee you will finish the book wishing Maggie was on your team.
Couldn’t put it down!
Review by Susie Hathaway
Whew! Just finished reading Terminal Ambition. What a fun page-turning diversion from my normal pedal-to-the-metal life. Through the eyes of Maggie Mahoney, Kate McGuinnes takes us from the ski slopes of Chile to life in a high powered Manhattan law firm, in such a personal way. This would be a great way for law school students to learn what exactly constitutes sexual harassment. It actually clarified the issue for me and I’m recommending it to my daughter. A great read!
A Shocking Tale of Discrimination and Harassment
Review by Todd A. Fonseca
After the tragic death of her husband, Maggie Mahoney learns that her once firm position as partner at the law firm her and her late husband practiced at, is now much more tenuous. Manipulated into participating on the firms new “gender equity committee”, Maggie learns the shocking truth of the firm’s true intentions – to rid the staff of female trouble makers. But why? It all becomes clear as she learns of the egregious hostile and frequent harassment work environment the women are enduring. And given the firm’s head partner is up for the attorney general nomination, nothing will hold him back from reaching his life long goal. Nothing. Not even Maggie Mahoney. Kate McGuiness’ Terminal Ambition is a shocking tale. After reading this I sincerely hope that no women would ever have to work in an environment as destructive as this. The arrogance, selfishness, and indifference displayed by many of the male characters is appalling. McGuiness’ writing is crisp and the plot believable even in such extreme circumstances though it was hard for me to fathom there could be so much of this behavior going on by so many in one place. If you have a low opinion of lawyers before you start reading this, it won’t get any better I assure you. Overall, this was a very engaging though troubling read and achieves its goal of sensitizing readers to this very troubling issue from its subtlest to most severe forms. This is one in a series of Maggie Mahoney novels. I look forward to McGuiness’ next work.
Review by BookGrrrrrrrl
This book is a real page turner! It’s a great, engaging read. What’s more, by laying out fictional examples of sexual harassment from the subtle to the extreme, the book helps the readers better understand acceptable workplace behavior. Materials at the end provide a road map for legal help, if necessary.
Superb Treatment of a Widespread Societal Problem
By Martin Zucker
A fast, lean read that charges to a big bang finish. Kate McGuinness superbly uses fiction and personal experience to spotlight and dramatize a rampant reality for so many women toiling, aspiring, and competing in a traditional man’s world. She does all women in the workplace, and not just those in the legal field, a great service.
A Very Good Read
Review by CB Rosenberg
This is both a very good book and a very unusual book. It’s a very unusual book because it’s a terrific legal-themed novel, yet neither a classic murder mystery (no dead bodies around) nor a classic legal thriller (no courtroom scenes and no innocent person facing the death penalty). Instead, it’s set within the confines of a very large law firm and involves a power struggle — between, on the one hand, a very senior partner who wants to be Attorney General and doesn’t want tales of the rampant sexual harassment in the firm to interfere with his confirmation hearings and, on the other hand, a seniorish woman partner who has to choose between her career and standing up to the guy. So it reminds me more of Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent than of Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent. It’s a very good book because it takes a hat trick for a writer to make an abstract power struggle engrossing, particularly when it involves, not who will be President of the United States or Speaker of the House, but, instead, who will prevail in an internal struggle for the heart and soul of a law firm. Yet the author manages to pull the rabbit out of the hat with an excellent plot, memorable characters, a heroine you root for and terrific writing.
Review by Alicia Lee
I received a copy of this debut novel in return for my review. Normally, I love thrillers…especially the ones that have a lot of action and/or criminal activity. Terminal Ambition was definitely a page-turner for me. I won’t go into details about the plot or characters since other reviewers have done an excellent job in that department. What I especially loved about this novel was the subject matter, as well as the added information about sexual harassment as the end, because I just finished a class on domestic violence at college and the scenarios in the book really drove the point home. All of the characters were true to life and made you care about them…either positively or negatively. I look forward to the next book in this series!!
What a first novel !
Review by Nick Di Croce
It’s great to see a new author – this is Kate’s first novel – write such a thoroughly engrossing story about life in the business world. And to think that she speaks from personal experiences, not fantasy fiction! The book is an easy read, it grips you from the very first pages, and won’t let go until you’re finished. I like that when it happens to me. I’m looking forward to Erotic Capital.
Kept me up past my bedtime!
Review by Tamara Deschepper
I was recommended this book by a friend, and was initially hesitant to read it as legal thrillers aren’t my genre of choice. But I’m glad I did (and might have just discovered a fun new genre in the process!). Others have touched on the story line so I won’t repeat that here, but Terminal Ambition was a good read even if the subject matter is serious. The story really pulls you along. Even though the phrase “page turner” is a cliché, it’s true for this book. I kept promising myself “just one more chapter” until suddenly I was at the end of the book. I’m glad there was a teaser for the next book at the end – I’m really looking forward to reading more about Maggie’s next case.
Startling look at male-female relationships at a sophisticated law firm
Review by v c lindne
Attorney-author, Kate McGuinness sweeps the reader into an avalanche of events and never loses the momentum. Moving this tale of men and women in a large Wall Street firm is the book’s protagonist Maggie Mahoney, Esquire. As a newly widowed attorney, Maggie is in a unique position to monitor the maneuvers of the male and female personnel as they reach for partner status. Women’s issues in the workplace have never been more relevant. What may come as a surprise is the scenario McGuinness presents of the discrimination and type of sexual harassment directed toward the women at all levels in the law firm. What’s more, the book has a bonus after the end of the last chapter. The author includes a legal memo, “an overview of women’s rights to freedom of sexual harassment in the workplace.”Reading Terminal Ambition, there’s no turning a blind eye to the inequality of status, behavior and advancement for women at work. Author/Attorney Kate McGuinness has made her case.
A Moral Tale Masquerading as Legal Suspense
Review by MONSTERTACO
Terminal Ambition hits all the marks for a legal thriller: masked motivations, hidden histories, personal perils and high stakes. McGuinness’s page-turner provides plenty of plot twists and excitement. But as she takes the reader on this roller coaster ride, she also shines a light on the psychology of Wall Street lawyers revealing their arrogance, greed and egocentrism. Each character is flawed; the protagonist must overcome her personal weakness to achieve justice. Well disguised as entertainment, Terminal Ambition also educates about workplace bias and harassment. Most importantly, the author goes beyond these topics to pose questions all strivers should ask themselves: What do we sacrifice to satisfy our ambition? When does ambition become poisonous?
Much, Much More than a Legal Thriller
Review by Frank Carpenter
This inside look at big law is just as fascinating for me as the unexpected turns of the plot are entertaining. The avalanche of interesting details makes me feel this world as if I am one of the characters myself, but it is also very instructive for me to see that big lawyers are still essentially human beings with the same fears and prejudices, the same self deceits and redeeming virtues as the mass of the rest of us. We all may ask ourselves “How would I act under the same pressures and incentives, as these lawyers do at the biggest ego enhancing law firms on Wall Street?” We would hope that we would be more strait up honest, perhaps even fearless in doing right, and at least virtuous in our heart’s inner intentions as is Maggie Mahoney, the heroine of especially the women in this inflammatory story of power and sexual harassment. She resists big temptations and even bigger threats to achieve a blow for the common good. But would we indeed? To me this novel transcends the genre of legal thriller to reveal the underbelly of issues that affect us all in most of our dealings with others, especially in the work place, but not exclusively. It goes to the heart of human behavior without ignoring the extremes. You may, like me, learn something true about yourself, rather than merely being a voyeur of the exciting and distorted lives of others.
Review by James S. Brooks
I loved the strong female lead in this book. I thought the story was exciting and very real. An easy entertaining read from start to finish.
Hooked by Chapter 1 and Never Disappointed
Review by KKGThe first chapter of TERMINAL AMBITION had me seriously hooked, and I could hardly wait to find out how things were going to play out for Maggie Mahoney in a new set of circumstances she could never have predicted. Suffice it to say, the rest of the chapters did not disappoint. I confess, I learned a lot reading this book, but not because it’s pedantic or moralistic. Rather, the excellent writing took me along for a ride in a world I would otherwise never have encountered, all while keeping me in suspense — and making me hope we’d get to find out what’s next in these people’s lives! Definitely recommended.
Great Tale. Highly Recommended for Everyone, April 15, 2012
Review by Vilasa Press “Barry Nathan”
Kate McGuinness’ Terminal Ambition kept me riveted. I couldn’t put the book down. I felt like I was watching a cross between old and new TV shows LA LAW and MAD MEN. The raw, out of control ambition and lust of the male principals running the story’s law firm must be contained or else the ladies’ careers – and worse – will be destroyed. Terminal Ambition has a fiery end. Can’t wait ’til this attorney/novelist author finishes her next Maggie Mahoney tale. Hurry up attorney Kate!
Every lawyer should read this book, March 26, 2012
Review by Jazz fan “blops12”
Kate McGuinness is a terrific writer, and she’s produced a fast-paced page-turner of a legal thriller. She’s also written the best book out there on what it’s like to experience sexual harassment at a big law firm. McGuinness gets every detail right – which makes sense, since she spent years as a partner in biglaw. It’s a terrific read – and, if you or anyone you know has ever been affected by sexual harassment in the legal world, it’s required reading. I’ve been waiting for this book to get into print so I can urge my friends and colleagues to read it. Trust me on this one – grab a copy!
Satisfying and Engrossing
Review by 50 State Traveler
I was very happy to receive a copy of Terminal Ambition as a gift. I couldn’t put it down! As a former journalist, I am drawn to stories where the truth has to be ferreted out as obstacles are overcome each step of the way. The protagonist, Maggie Mahoney, deftly tackles a seemingly untouchable good old boys’ network, pursuing the truth in spite of the risk to her own career and the livelihood of her co-workers. The book is intriguing and has just the right amount of twists and turns. It also sheds light on a particular disturbing part of the corporate world, the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. Part mystery, part drama and part thriller, Terminal Ambition is a very satisfying read.