Mousetrap, Inc.

Fiction - Literary
222 Pages
Reviewed on 04/27/2022
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Author Biography

Joseph Guzzo has been a television caption editor for almost 30 years. “Mousetrap, Inc.” is his debut novel. He has a journalism and communications degree from Point Park University in Pittsburgh and resides with his wife and son in a home run by their two cats.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tanja Jurkovic for Readers' Favorite

Nick Adano, a college graduate, is a pretty average young guy, who is at a life crossroads, torn between enjoying the carefree lifestyle caused by unemployment after getting out of college and finally marrying the girl of his dreams. When life chooses for him, and he finds himself choosing the same - marrying the girl of his dreams and getting serious about life - it is time for him to step up, find a job, and get his life together. With that in mind, Nick applies for a copywriter job at Mousetrap Inc., an invention-marketing company that deals with marketing other people's inventions, and they charge a hefty fee for it. Little did he know that this job will be everything but ordinary, a job that will suck the life out of him and make him question his values as a person and as a human being. Paired with two colleagues with more experience in this line of work, Rachel and Sam, he dives into strange adventures with his boss at work and starts making mind-bending choices that eventually lead him to a rocky descent into the dark abyss of confronting himself, and everyone around him.

Mousetrap, Inc. by Joseph Guzzo is a refreshing and fun take on human nature, social issues, and an overall understanding of values in contemporary society. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The clever and crisp writing style of Joseph Guzzo makes this novel a well-recommended read! It's humorous, it's fun, it's real in its depictions of human nature at its best and worst. The storytelling layers within the novel, introducing a chilled-out antihero, Chapel Fox and his story, perfectly balance the misadventures of the main characters. These are so well portrayed that one feels like they are alive outside the pages of the book, not just confined to the format of it. The clever use of language in the novel makes this piece of writing a genuinely enjoyable and entertaining reading adventure.

K.C. Finn

Mousetrap, Inc. is a work of fiction in the drama and intrigue subgenres. It is aimed at mature readers and was penned by author Joseph Guzzo. Set in the early 1990s, the book follows graduate Nick as he lands his first job working for a company that markets the inventions of others. Landed with a problem client to navigate and left feeling like a corporate drone, Nick begins writing stories about a dangerous anti-hero in an attempt to boost his morale and the morale of his co-workers. His murderous character brings entertainment to the people he works with and a curious sense of recognition.

There’s a wealth of material to be found in the disenfranchisement of recent graduates whose hopes and expectations for adult life don’t survive the first contact with reality. Joseph Guzzo has expertly dived into that material to create a compelling, humorous, and often exciting story about the urge to rebel against the soul-crushing nature of the corporate world. Despite the comedic nature of some of the situations, it was the darker moments of the work that struck me as the most powerful. The scenes of Nick’s co-workers finding the murderous Chapel Fox relatable, delivered with the perfect edge of cynicism and darkness, make them stand out as a commentary on the effects of the corporate machine on the basic humanity of those trapped within it. Overall, Mousetrap, Inc. is an entertaining tale about defending who you are against an indifferent world, and I recommend it to all readers.

Jennifer Ibiam

Nick graduated Magna cum Laude from college. But six months later, he was still unemployed. His parents and girlfriend made life unbearable with their subtle jabs and actions. He submitted his resume regularly, but the United States was in the middle of a recession and jobs weren’t forthcoming. Nick hit a stroke of luck in 1990 when an invention-marketing company based in Pittsburgh hired him in the graphics department as a copywriter. The downside was that the firm was sleazy and would take money from just about anyone, even though their ideas weren’t marketable. Their nightmare began when the Federal Trade Commission and a dissatisfied client named Jack Gardner were determined to ruin the company. Was this the beginning of the end, or would Nick put up a fight? Find out in Mousetrap, Inc. by Joseph Guzzo.

When morals war with survival, what path would you choose? To honor your conscience and lose your job, or to follow orders and absolve yourself of guilt? Mousetrap, Inc. by Joseph Guzzo is a captivating and hilarious novel focused on the marketing and advertising industry. The story showcased the absurdity of some inventions and the cutthroat business of advertising. I saw CEOs kill their consciences, hopeful inventors with no creativity, staff that accepted almost any situation, and regulatory body issues. I did not take a fancy to Andrea but respected her fighting spirit. She never pretended who she was. However, it was hard to respect Nick, Sam, and Rachel. All the righteous indignation without taking a stand put me off. Elaine was another interesting character, and Guzzo is a talented storyteller. Mousetrap Inc. is an enlightening novel that I enjoyed reading.