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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?

1 comment:

Blogger said...

I highly recommend reading The Girl on the Train: A Novel.
I finished reading it today, and I think its a really interesting book to read.

I ordered mine from Amazon and I got it in just TWO days.
Here is the link for the book on Amazon:
The Girl on the Train: A Novel

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