Surviving the Corporate World by Catherine Dilts
Encircle Publications, LLC
Paperback: 346 pages
February 28, 2019, $16.99
Also available for Kindle
During our travels, my husband and I once visited a small-town museum in western Colorado with a friend. One display told the story of Alferd Packer, the famed self-confessed cannibal. We couldn’t resist cracking several lame jokes about cannibalism. The museum docent took us to task, explaining that Packer was misunderstood. We managed to finish touring the museum with only a few more inappropriate giggles.
Later, I suggested the docent may have been a relative of Packer. Why else would someone take such offense to a few harmless jokes? The seed of an idea took root. I write amateur sleuth and cozy mysteries. Cannibalism is not a light topic. I knew I didn’t want to write a novel focused on people eating people.
Another experience from real-life was attending a company holiday party. Everyone was invited, from factory floor laborers to executives. One highlight was when the company owner became so drunk, he fell off his chair. There aren’t many old-school executives left in the business world, thank goodness. Most operate with sensitivity and inclusivity, but I’m sure there are some dinosaurs left that make great fodder for fiction.
Many years later, I found a way to work both experiences into a humorous novel. When I approached writing what I know, I decided to place corporate ladder-climbing career types in the setting for a defunct survivalist reality television show. A hideous boss pits employees against one another in games designed to humiliate. A visit to a cannibal museum during the team building exercise in the Colorado mountains seemed a perfect fit. Plus this allowed me to throw in a few jokes about cannibalism. And who doesn’t like a good cannibal joke?
In Survive Or Die, employees begin the story hoping their careers survive, but end up fighting for survival in the Colorado mountains. If you’re fighting your own battle in the corporate world, I hope this story will provide you a few chuckles, and the inspiration to survive with a smile.
You think you're gonna Survive, but you're gonna Die. Die. Die.
The owner of a dysfunctional company arranges a mandatory team-building exercise at the Survive or Die survivalist camp, once the setting for a defunct reality TV show. When he receives a death threat, what surprises employees is not that someone wants their lecherous, hard-drinking boss dead. The surprise is that he's not the first casualty.
The unexpected demise of a coworker's husband barely causes a ripple. The annoying photographer's death is attributed to natural causes. The excitement comes when the boss announces the winner of the week-long game will receive a raise, and the loser will be fired. Most employees dig in with grim determination. A few have other agendas.
Timid junior accountant and dedicated eco-warrior Sotheara Sok searches for evidence that toxic waste is being dumped illegally on the ranch. Aubrey Sommers plans to rekindle romance with her husband, despite her resentment at being stuck in the shabby camp. Factory laborer Jeremiah Jones stalks his coworkers in search of a woman with wide child-bearing hips to share his mountain man dream.
Their plans become derailed when unlikely accidents plague the camp. Tours of Going Batty Days and the Cannibal of Carver Pass Museum in nearby Lodgepole provide pieces to a disturbing puzzle. The three join forces with an old lady version of Chuck Norris, and a city-girl computer geek, as the week deteriorates from mock survival games to a fight for survival in the Colorado wilderness.
Catherine Dilts is the author of the Rock Shop Mystery series, while her short stories appear regularly in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. She takes a turn in the multi-author sweet cozy mystery series Secrets of the Castleton Manor Library with Ink or Swim. With a day job as an environmental regulatory technician, Catherine's stories often have environmental or factory-based themes. Others reflect her love of the Colorado mountains. The two worlds collide in Survive Or Die, when a manufacturing company holds a team building exercise in the wilderness. You can learn more about Catherine’s fiction at