Buzzy New Novel 'Very Bad Company' Is A Juicy Summer Beach Read

It will hit home with anyone who’s ever had a toxic boss.

Emma Chao/TZR; Getty Images; Hat Photo Courtesy of Net-A-Porter

Who would’ve thought that a corporate retreat could be the setting for a juicy mystery novel? Emma Rosenblum, that’s who. The best-selling author and chief content officer at Bustle Digital Group’s second novel Very Bad Company centers on a tech company’s getaway to Miami and how it quickly goes very, very wrong. The dark comedic plot has it all: illicit affairs, some good ol’ backstabbing, and even a mysterious disappearance. All your standard makings of a work trip, right? Not quite, but the colorful cast of characters who make up the executive staff of faux tech start-up Aurora will definitely hit home for many.

“That was kind of the point,” says Rosenblum, who penned her debut novel Bad Summer People last year, to TZR. “[...] Anyone’s who's worked in a white collar job is able to relate to this. It's not just about crazy startups, it's about politics and friendships in the workplace. It's obviously a mystery too and so it's fun and funny. It has that thing in it where you get how people relate to each other, you get how competitive they can be, you get how crazy and wrapped up in minor drama people can get.”

Although the book hits shelves today, Rosenblum says she’s already gotten feedback from those who’ve previewed the novel and resonate with the relationships and characters featured. “I have already gotten a lot of people saying, ‘I know that guy. I know that CEO. I know that CTO. I work with people like that. My boss is like that where he loves someone one second and hates them the next second,’” she says. “It's that idea of being able to really relate to it, which again, it's such a silly premise and so out there and heightened, but there still is this element of relatability, I think for this book, for people that have worked at any company. And I have already gotten those reactions.”


For Rosenblum, the most amusing aspect of the novel is just this — the awkward conversations, pass-aggressive exchanges, and strategic workings involving Aurora’s C-suite. “The funniest thing was the fact that [...] their drama about who's getting equity and who does the boss like today, is just as important and compelling to them as the fact that someone's disappeared and probably dead.”

Also highly entertaining is the bad behavior that ensues once the team touches down in Miami for their work retreat. Excessive drinking, the occasional tryst, verbal sparring matches — not unlike what many have experienced at a company holiday party or happy hour. Which begs the question: Why do these off-site work-related festivities unleash such carefree and often reckless behavior? “I think that people are looking to let loose in general, right now,” says Rosenblum. “I think that it's this idea that particularly post-pandemic, everybody is still, I think, reeling from that experience and going a little crazy. Not that people were not doing that before the pandemic, but I think it's even more so now. And I think the world is really kind of scary right now and people are feeling anxious, and so then given the opportunity to let loose, to sort of escape from their regular lives, they take it even farther than possibly they would've before.”

At the end of the day, even if Very Bad Company doesn’t resonate personally, it will certainly keep you interested — and at the edge of your seat. This is definitely one to add to your summer reading list. If anything, Aurora’s dysfunctional cast of clowns will make you appreciate your own coworkers a bit more.

Very Bad Company is now available for purchase. You can pick up a hardback version at most national booksellers or listen to the audiobook on Audible.