The War Zone: John Henry Brebbia
Growing up in a trailer park did much for Gibb Quinn. Raised by a single mother who had one goal in mind that was for her son to have the best education, not live in squalor and do everything she could to uplift his status in life. Life was not easy for his mother or for him growing up. But, a scholarship to the University of Portland allows him to leave the neighborhood where he grew up filled with gangs and become a super star in the computer sales field. With the help of Bishop Gorman High’s basketball coach and this scholarship he should be on his way to great things. Graduating and hoping for a career that would be lucrative Gibb becomes a star salesman for the Big Byte Corporation. Success is great but then things change and one branch of the company is failing and Gibb is sent to change things around and take this dinosaur retail outlet whose appearance is not in the 21stcentury or even close to it and upgrade its appearance, bring life into the unmotivated staff and raise sales. Ready or not he arrives in September and goes in like gangbusters as Gibb makes it clear from the start that business is his first concern, their jobs are hanging on thin ice or threads and that watching the time clock is now a thing of the past.
Can a kid from a trailer park become number one in big business? Is sticking to the rules the way to play the game or is taking chances, thinking outside the box and risking it all when the benefits outweigh the consequences if you succeed? Looking at his surroundings, realizing the office décor and the sales floor was back in the dark ages and needed a strong facelift into the 21stCentury, Gibb enters the building, charges right in and hopefully will light up the dead wood that comprises his staff. Meeting Gerry, the training manager and the rest of the crew enlightens him further into the complacency of the workers, the lack of effort to make sales and the need to familiarize them with the sales manual and more.
Gibb is not satisfied with just learning about the business end of his job. He wants to explore the town and learn more about the people living there but not for the reasons most would think. Each encounter could be a prospect to earn money or sales, each business in the area should yield some sales for his branch of Big Byte. Schools, churches, hospitals and other businesses should be calling on his services so why aren’t they and why are sales not soaring? After one month he realizes that Chatham is not the best place to garner up business and at the end of the day he surmises that he will have to branch out to other towns in the nearby vicinity. But, going against the cardinal rule of his company and business not to make sales out of his “assigned territory,” could mean business suicide or maybe the life raft needed to stay afloat. So, this young man who looks like an ad for Ralph Lauren just might take this town by storm and shake things up in more ways than one. Transplanted from Vegas and looking more like a hot movie star, Gibb Quinn creates his own War Zone to take on the people of Chatham, win the war of sales and hopefully come out a winner. Some combat zones have nothing to so with military operations. Some have nothing to do with entering international wars. This is the story of one young man who decides to take the battle outside his own battle zone or assigned area where the rights of neutrals are not respected let’s say in this case by competitors in business. Waging war in business and taking away sales from the competitor is one way to define the term War Zone and to spark people to take notice, get their motors charged and revved up and the battle lines drawn.
Meeting Tim Perkins in college was a definite eye opener and some of what he taught him about New Englanders would have to remain in the recesses of his mind as he moved forward into the battlefield he created setting his sights on Boston and his other on Seattle. Sometimes labels can hinder you and other times you can profit. Meeting with many of the Information Technology managers who learned that each one of them not only envied that he came from Vegas but longed to go there too. Some even hinted that if they were to sin and be tempted Vegas would be their first choice for committing sinful behavior. So, Gibb realized that being labeled the “Vegas Guy,” was not a negative but a definite you might say A+ in his favor.
Gibb had charisma and made his way to the top of sales just by flirting with the right people and cultivating friendships in the right places. Using what he learned in Vegas and becoming friendly with the pit bosses, doorman or bell captain, he was able to present his corporate clients with perks. October and November proved profitable and he placed the emails he received congratulating him on his office wall. The Regional manager of course was angry and complained to the Big Byte General Manager who appeased him and congratulated Gibb.
The author brings to light many important issues within the pages of this novel. Prejudice rears its ugly head in many ways as it manifests within the minds of the close-minded people living in this town. When Gibb and Gerry decide to teach Smitty how to use a computer and he learns how to read instead of embracing the fact that he is now successful many of the people in this town wonder why they are bothering to help this teenager and what Gibb’s motive really is in coming to the town and helping others. Things come together for him but are about to take a different turn when Alicia Farrell comes into the picture and sets her sights on Gibb. Added into the plot is the story of Sally whose life and spirit seems to have gotten away from her. The anger welled up inside of her from her mother’s cruel treatment and disregard for her feelings and her in general creates a stimulant for here to abuse not only herself with drugs and alcohol but also others in her treatment of them as well. Justifying her actions by blaming it on others rather than taking a long and hard look at herself makes you wonder just why Gibb got involved with her or why he even continues to care. But, Alicia was determined to see Gibb and enlisted her uncle’s help in convincing him to crew on a sailing trip. But, rumor has it that he was interested in her and that did not set well with her father and her boyfriend’s family. Business leads seemed to peter out and soon his days as number one were over. Alicia although technically going to be betrothed to Josh Bingham, Jr., has decided to work as a paralegal for her Uncle Tom Farrell’s office for one year before attending Yale. As the narrator relates the events we begin to wonder just what the fate of all of these people will be when everything finally comes to a head. Rumors spread in this town faster than a raging wildfire. Jealousies run high when Alicia meets Piper and comments are made that prove that she is really no different than anyone else. Each character has his/her own battles to overcome. Gibb seems to always want to be number one and does not see himself as the person he really is and could become. Sally is fighting her own wars as Alicia fights her way out of the life her parents want for her.
An ending that will make you wonder what is next for Gibb and where life will take him. Just how far will someone go to get away from their past and be accepted for who they are and not what others might think? The War Zone: Can you ever really escape? Do you ever win? This is one novel that will give you pause for thought. One novel that you definitely want to read.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
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