Douglas Aspine knew that being CEO of a public company was twenty times more lucrative than winning the lottery. He was forty-five and time was running out when fate dealt him an unexpected opportunity. The company was old, staid and well-respected but it was underperforming and Aspine was determined to turn it around no matter who he had to crush.

Soon he was at war with the company’s employees, unions, suppliers, financiers and co-directors but nothing was going to stop him. Not his chairman, not his wife, not his mistress, not the anonymous death threats and definitely not the press. Aspine could almost taste the glory, the riches and peer recognition he’d craved for so long. He knew he had countless detractors and enemies who he contemptuously labelled “losers” and paid no heed to. Would this prove to be a miscalculation of monumental proportions or would he prevail?

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The writer’s adage “write what you know” has never been more appropriately utilized as by Peter Ralph in his corporate crime novel The CEO. Ralph has used his experience as a former CEO of a publicly floated Australian company to craft a superbly structured book of ruthless business bastardry …

Australian Crime Database

Douglas Aspine is so loathsome a creature, it can only be Schadenfreude that makes us read on in the fervent hope he gets his just desserts. The man who would be CEO is a spendthrift with a wife and a mistress and a truly regrettable tendency to judge people’s worth on the degree to which they best serve him. It is hardly surprising that, when the opportunity presents itself, Aspine grabs it with both talons, as it is wholly in his nature that he bully and cheat and gloat over his corporate victims. Peter Ralph, in this nicely constructed thriller, arranges for our Mr. Aspine to meet his nemesis. As a former chartered accountant specializing in corporate recoveries, Ralph knows his stuff.

Simon Hughes, Australian Financial Review.

The CEO is a pacy business thriller reminiscent… of some of John Grisham’s books. It is the story of how this aggressive, greedy and ambitious man lies, cheats and manipulates his way to the CEO position of an underperforming public company, and what he does once he gets there. It’s a tale of mass sackings, intimidation, insider trading, infidelity and unscrupulous behaviour – and that’s just the start. Populated by thinly veiled versions of Australia’s most notorious white collar criminals, it’s a page-turner about the dark side of the corporate world, and it makes compulsive reading.

Review in Bookseller & Publisher