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The Fixer -- Joseph Finder Explores Secrets, Corruption, Greed & Father Son Relationships

The Fixer by Joseph Finder: Finder's Latest Novel: Important to Finder that the Book be About Fathers & Sons:

The Fixer by Joseph Finder

Verdict: 5.0 Stars out of 5 Stars

Finder is one of those authors who writes fast paced books you can’t put down, but it’s a bittersweet love affair with a book that you can’t put down. You hate for it to end and the faster you read, the quicker you get to the end. Ugh, now I must wait another year for his next book — always worth the wait. Do I wish Finder’s books came out more often? Hell yea! Would I want him to sacrifice his storytelling techniques, trendy exploration of themes and taut, gripping narrative just so I could read more of him? Hell No! 

We don’t need any more James Patterson clones who put out 20 books a year (okay I exaggerate a little), all of them now “Co-authored,” by another author. Hint hint: I don’t think I’m exposing any big secret here by sharing my opinion that Patterson no longer writes his books. I’m sure its a win-win for the co-author. They write the book, do the work, but hell, who wouldn’t do that for their name in print at the front of the bookstore — yes a real live bookstore. Patterson’s co-authors benefit from the experience. The thing is, as readers, we don’t know what we are getting. When each novel is co-authored by a different author we can’t look forward to a certain writing style or the unique voice of a favorite author. 

 With Joseph Finder, Michael Connelly, Lisa Gardner, Harlan Coben, Chevy Stevens and a few others … I’ll bide my time and wait the year or more for the next book because I know I won’t be disappointed — well normally I’m not disappointed. Every author hits a low from time to time. I haven’t experienced that low or slow speed or anything remotely resembling a down hill ride with the brilliant author, Joseph Finder. The names I've linked to above will take you to my reviews of the author's novels.

The Fixer explores the lengths to which people will go to cover up mistakes, accidents or anything that might cost them money and even further lengths people will go to cover up crimes, their past and to keep things hidden.

Investigative reporter, Rick Hoffman sold out on his dream of becoming the next Woodward and Bernstein for a high paying job writing puff pieces for a Boston elite magazine. He did it for the money and glamour — sold his soul, but the cash flow and expense accounts didn’t last when the magazine cut the print edition. 

Almost out of cash and fresh from a recent breakup with his gorgeous-model fiancee, Hoffman returns to his home town and is forced to live in his father’s run down, dilapidated home that hasn't been occupied for years.  His father lives in a nursing home and hasn’t spoken a word since his stroke, eighteen years ago.  Hoffman begins renovations of the family home with the help of one time friend and neighbor and discovers large amounts of cash hidden in the walls of his father’s study, to the tune of over three million bucks.
 Where did the money come from? Before his stroke, his dad made barely enough money as a lawyer to keep his two kids in private school and the house afloat after their mother’s death.

What’s a guy to do when he finds three million bucks. 
Me, I’d probably hide the money and ask no questions, but that wouldn’t make for a very suspenseful story now would it.

 Left in the hands of the talented author who brought us Suspicion last year and the concept has all the makings for the next big thriller film. In 2002, Finder’s novel High Crimes was made into a major motion film.

Rick hides the the money, well most of it and sets out to learn where it came from. Some things are better off not known. Some things are better left buried. 

Rick, begins the novel as a somewhat superficial, egotistical, status seeking jackass who is more concerned about image than people. His former fiancee, points this out to him early on. She pegs him when she alerts him that he never loved her — only the image of her, his decorative arm piece, his trophy girlfriend. So he pockets about a hundred grand and hides the rest. After bumping into a former high school girlfriend, one he dumped because she didn’t fit into his future image, Rick drops about ten grand on new clothes then wines and dines her with the upper echelon of Boston, ordering expensive caviar dishes with ridiculous names like Beggars Purse and a four thousand dollar bottle of wine. Andrea is anything but impressed.


While Rick doesn’t garner the attention he hoped from his former flame, dropping 25K in a weekend draws the attention of just about every person Rick doesn’t need on his tail. 
It doesn’t take long for the bad guys to pick up on his new found wealth and Rick finds himself in one ass beating, near death situation after another.

“Who have you been talking to?” The thugs want to know as they crush his ribs. Hmm … not “Where is the money?”

We are taken on a 374 page ride of Rick trying to find out where the money came from and along the way, Rick learns that he never really knew his dad at all and by the end of the book, Finder has transformed the MC from a selfish, image seeker into a decent, caring man who vows to do the right thing, regardless of the costs. He is willing to risk his life to ... well I can't tell you that or it would spoil the book.

Joseph Finder is by far one of, if not the best author I’ve read in a decade. His last two stand alone novels have given us ordinary people who are thrust into extraordinary circumstances and he is the master of upping the anti at the perfect moment. Just when we begin to believe Rick is safe, wham bam his world is torn a part again. Throughout the book the character is given plenty of opportunities to leave well enough alone ... stop asking questions about The Fixer … the cash bank … and some other long buried secrets. But the investigative reporter in him can’t quit. What he learns about his father gives him the courage and drive to continue his quest for the truth.

Turns out dad had more to hide than money and his law practice involved some shady big hitters. Rick’s dad was what’s known as a Fixer, hence the title of the book. 

Corrupt? Or just the price of doing business in a big city with the big boys? We all have our own opinions, morals and ethics. We all have different backgrounds in the under-goings, under the table, behind the scene events in politics, city government, construction contracts … 

I’m from Louisiana so none of this is unbelievable in the world where I grew up. I hail from the great state of Louisiana where we having bragging rights to Huey Long and the charismatic Edwin Edwards as two of our finest governors ever. One of the more infamous quotes in Louisiana about Edwards has always been — “He may be a crook … but he’s our crook.” 

What I Liked:

 His writing is action packed, fast paced and the suspense builds and builds with perfect mini climaxes at the perfect time.

 The chapter ending cliffhangers that made it impossible for me to stop reading.

 His dialogue is real, full of subtext and never, “on the nose.”

 A lot of authors are able to keep my attention once they grab it. The last few books I read took me a while to get into , but I kept going at the insistence of others, (The Girl on the Train for example), but Finder never fails to captivate me from the beginning. He grabs you on the first page and never loses you.

 With Finder there are no sagging, drooping, dragging middle areas. Many authors could cut their pages by about 100 and get the same result. Not Jo Finder. The man doesn’t waste space and never waste our time (the readers).

His characters are believable. None of the perfect Mary Sue or super smart, too good looking, MC’s with awesome jobs and perfect families — no, we get real life people we can relate to. We’ve all had issue with our parents, regret for things left unsaid or undone or regret for things said without apology. Most of us have dealt with an aging or debilitated relative in a nursing home or assisted living and we know the guilt that accompanies those visits, lack of visits and the general thought of putting them in a home rather than caring for them ourselves. We’ve all lost a job or a fiancee or suffered heartbreak, divorce, embarrassment, humiliation, etc. His characters are made up of tiny components so real that each one of us will resonate on some level. His characters are flawed and we witness the actual character transformation. He doesn’t just tell us that Rick is a selfish … and then at the end throw in one gratuitous scene of character revelation. We watch it unfold, transpire before our eyes and it is done with such impeccable precision and timing that the author doesn't call attention to it or take away from the story’s plot. In fact the character arc enhances the plot.

 His writing is clear, concise, succinct and to the point. No purple prose here or wasted space on overly described characters or settings. If an office building looks just like any office building then it doesn't require a page and a half of fluff, but if there is something unusual or unique about a particular setting, Finder shows it to us via all the senses. He is particularly strong in this area. Using the sense of smell, taste and sound, all of which conjure up vivid images in our mind. He doesn’t rely solely on sight. I love the way he introduces new characters with a short physical description, but gives us something in their mannerisms or way of speaking that make them memorable and distinctive.

Finder's novels are always filled with plot twists and unexpected reveals. The closer you get to the end the quicker the twists funnel in. He always sets them up early in the story and the pay off is usually a whopper.

 Finder never fails to remind the reader what's at stake for the main character and what he stands to gain or lose. He puts his MC in danger, and his life is threatened — not just threatened, but the threats are acted on and the character is beaten nearly to death ( great symbolism here,) but if I discuss it I will give away one of the best secrets revealed in the book


I really don’t have any. This book does require some suspension of disbelief. I've said this a million times — you can’t write a tight, fast paced thriller or read one without the willingness to suspend disbelief. This is especially true now in the digital era. Bad guys could always find the MC or money or whatever secret, hidden item they are searching for in a matter of seconds with computer hacking, GPS devices, Phone spying software etc. But if we want to continue being entertained with thrilling novels of suspense, then we know in advance that we are expected to suspend disbelief. If not, I suggest reading memoirs and other non fiction.

After writing the draft of this review, I learned that Joseph Finder's own father died while he was writing The Fixer.

Read Amanda Orr's Full Review of The Fixer, where Joseph Finder said in a phone interview that his new suspense novel, The Fixer, is his most personal book. "My father died while I was writing it," Finder said in a phone interview. "The story started out differently than it ended up. It was important for this book to be about father and sons."

Finder discussed The Fixer, on June 10, 2015 on Murder Books

You can purchase The Fixer at Amazon.

Read more about the author, Joseph Finder on his website.

Read more of my Novel Reviews

What are you currently reading? Have you read The Fixer? If not, I highly recommend it. What books are on your summer TBR list?

Same - Sex Marriage: U.S. Supreme Court Should Rule In June 2015

Same Sex Marriage — Civil Rights Issue Finally Before the U.S. Supreme Court

Listen to excerpts from the U.S. Supreme Court Hearing.

In April, The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments for several hours on what is probably the greatest civil rights issue of my time. I was not around during the 1964 Integration Act.

The Supreme Court was acutely divided over the issue. For the most part the justices will play to their role and we can predict their individual opinions.  The 5 republican justices will vote conservatively and the 4 democratic justices will consider the issue.

There is one exception and the deciding vote will likely come from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy — Republican. 

Reports from those who listened intently to argument and questions put forth by the justices give hope to gay rights activists. The New York Times reported that Kennedy’s vote is probably crucial, and that based on the tone and substance of his questions, gay right activists have reason for optimism.

Kennedy appeared to send conflicting messages: Wary of moving too fast, but his demeanor appeared emphatic when he stated that same sex couples should be permitted to marry. It should be noted that Kennedy is the author of three landmark cases that have already expanded the scope of gay rights.

Kennedy’s primary problem with same-sex marriage appeared to be whether there had been enough time for federal debate on the issue to disturb what has been considered the concept of marriage for thousands of years. He added that the “social science on this” — the value and perils of same-sex marriage — is “too new.”

Kennedy also expressed severe qualms in excluding gay couples from the sanctity of marriage. See what I mean about sending mixed signals?

For those of you who will argue, as one person did on my FB comment, that marriage should be between two people for the purpose of procreating, how do you address the desire of the elderly to marry. I’m speaking of couples who are no longer in their child bearing years. Or what about younger couples who marry after making a conscious choice not to have children?

Back to the current trending topic of same-sex marriages:

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument stemming from the ban on same sex marriages in four states, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The arguments were divided into two segments:

  1. Whether the states must allow same sex marriage. Does the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
  2. Does the 14th Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

While Justice Kennedy sits on the fence, there was nothing ambiguous about Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’S remarks. Mary L. Bonauto, a lawyer representing the rights of a plethora of same-sex couples, urged the justices to remove “the stain of unworthiness” that the ban produces. Chief Justice Roberts suggested that Bonauto was asking the court to do something progressive and unconventional. “You’re not seeking to join the institution,” he said. “You’re seeking to change what the institution is.” Chief Justice Roberts said.

Scalia, a devout Catholic won’t likely change his views on homosexuality. Scalia expressed his concern that a priest or rabbi could be sanctioned for refusing to perform a same-sex marriage. That leads to another interesting and controversial topic. It requires another blog post devoted solely to a discussion of the equal protection clause and discrimination verses freedom of religion.

Scalia is the U.S. Supreme Court Justice who taught one of my law classes on the Greek Isles. I attended a summer law program through Tulane University. Justice Scalia was one of our visiting professors. He offered the day’s instruction as we sailed on a boat to Lindos, Greece. Despite many of our differing opinions I found him to be a charming and extremely likable, approachable person.

My thoughts:
For those of you who don't know me, I am a married heterosexual. I am also a republican so many of my thoughts, opinions and passions don't jive with my political party affiliation. I am a huge supporter of gay rights and I believe that same-sex couples should have the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples.

  Now for my Two Cents:

I think the decision will come down this month or maybe in July. It will be a close call with the deciding opinion riding on Justice Kennedy. I predict a win for gay rights activists and a step forward for marriage. The court will hold that if a state issues a license for opposite-sex couples to marry then they must also issue a marriage license for same-sex couples. I could be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.

You’ve heard of splitting the baby?
 Courts often decide in favor of one side for one issue and the opposing side on the other issue. Many legal experts expect the courts to rule in favor of same-sex couples on the second issue before the court, which is whether the 14th Amendment requires states to recognize the marriage of same-sex couples that are legally made elsewhere, hence each state must offer full faith and credit to the legal unity of another state. By answering yes to the the second issue the court can avoid answering yes to the first question. The court can reach the same outcome without the polemical mandate of requiring each state to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples. Aha ... avoid backlash.

I’m not sure how they will do it or what the vote will be, but I strongly believe that the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court decision will finally afford gay and lesbian couples the same right to marry as heterosexual couples.

What do you think? I’m interested in how you think the court will rule, but also if you will favor or oppose their ruling.

The consensus seems to be that the court will strike down Michigan’s court ban on same-sex marriage, but like many Americans, they remain nervous about amending a definition of marriage that has prevailed for most of recorded history. See Same-Sex Skeptics, a Scary New World.

God, I hope my dang comment section is finally working. I've experienced some stressed filled days trying to switch back to blogger, but my easiest alternative was to leave up Disqus comments and pray that blogger platform takes them. If not it might be time to finally make the WP move.

Please join in the discussion and leave your opinion.

 I would like to know your opinion on same-sex marriage.

                Do you believe that same-sex couples should have the same right to marry and be afforded all of the legal and societal benefits of marriage as opposite-sex couples?

                 Does the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause give same-sex couples the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples?

Who should decide whether same-sex couples should be permitted to marry? Should it be left up to the individual states, thus allowing some states to continue the same-sex marriage ban?

                One step further, but this is a topic for an entire blog post. Does a person’s freedom of religion trump an individual’s right to same-sex marriage?

                 I am referring to the pizza parlor that refused to cater a same-sex wedding reception.

If you own a business whether it be a wedding consulting company, photography studio, catering, florist, etc., and based on your religion you oppose same-sex weddings can you refuse to bend your moral/religious views and decline to offer services to same-sex couples?

Or can the government force you to offer services?
Are you discriminating against a protected class if you refuse?

For those of you who believe freedom of religion allows you to refuse to participate in a same-sex union, could your business also refuse to perform a service for a bi-racial wedding? A Jewish Wedding?

Holy crap, I hope the people leaving comments don’t throw bricks at me? We all have our opinions and that is what is great about our country and this blogging platform. It allows us to discuss our thoughts and opinions on social issues. I am inviting you to participate and express your opinion, but be advised I do not want any racial slurs or bigotry comments. Please tell us your views. We are all passionate about certain ideas and/or laws.

Which States Currently Allow Same-Sex Marriages?

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