By: Joseph Finder
Publication Date: 6/9/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars
New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder delivers his next breakneck stand-alone thriller about the secrets families can keep, and the danger of their discovery
When former investigative reporter Rick Hoffman loses his job, fiancée, and apartment, his only option is to move back into — and renovate — the home of his miserable youth, now empty and in decay since the stroke that put his father in a nursing home.
As Rick starts to pull apart the old house, he makes an electrifying discovery — millions of dollars hidden in the walls. It’s enough money to completely transform Rick’s life — and everything he thought he knew about his father. Yet the more of his father’s hidden past that Rick brings to light, the more dangerous his present becomes. Soon, he finds himself on the run from deadly enemies desperate to keep the past buried, and only solving the mystery of his father — a man who has been unable to communicate, comprehend, or care for himself for almost 20 years — will save Rick... if he can survive long enough to do it.
“A remarkable exciting read. ” – Booklist, starred review
“So many surprises… 5 Stars!” – Suspense Magazine
“Nonstop page-turner…” – Library Journal
About the Author
Joe’s latest book was published by Dutton in May 2014. The New York Times bestselling SUSPICION is a stand-alone novel about a single father who, to protect his daughter, makes a choice with dire consequences. THE FIXER, his next novel and also a stand-alone, will be released on June 9, 2015.
In addition to his fiction, Joe does occasional work for Hollywood, is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and Council on Foreign Relations, and has written on espionage and international affairs for a number of publications, including TheDailyBeast.com, Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Republic. In an April 2006 New York Times Book Review article, Joe discussed his fascination with ambition as a subject for fiction. He roots for the Boston Red Sox and lives in Boston with his wife, daughter, and a needy golden retriever, Mia, a dropout from seeing-eye-dog school. Website Twitter
A special thank you to PENGUIN GROUP Dutton and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Loved, THE FIXER, and everything about this top-notch, innovative, fast-paced riveting crime mystery suspense thriller!
Joseph Finder is at the “top of his game” with father and son team, which may have more in common than they know---deeply buried secrets, conspiracy, power, corruption, and greed in the city of Boston, with some tough emotional life lessons. Set aside the time, as a read in one sitting; a page-turner!
Rick Hoffman has been on top of the world with glitz, glamour, prestige and money with a high profile media Boston magazine as well as a former investigative reporter at the Boston Globe. He still has connections; however, keeping it quiet his currently unemployed; no longer the star.
Unfortunately his last career move, for more money did not last too long, due to the shift in online media world, from the former print business. Presently, he is single, alone, jobless, and broke. He finds himself back in his home town, in his father’s old home, with a sleeping bag, and a BMW. His material possessions now something of the past, as well as his fiancée.
The old home place is a disaster, since his dad had a stroke over eighteen years ago, the house has been sitting empty, in dire need of repair. Unable to sell or lease in its present condition, taking mega bucks to renovate. (money he does not have.) Jeff, the guy next door has been watching out for the place while Rick was away. While Rick, is attempting to sleep in this rat infested house, disgusted with his life, he hears noise in the walls, and figures rats, or squirrels have set up house. The neighbor Jeff, a building contractor shows up, and attempts to assist Rick figure out where the noise is coming from, as they tear down the wall. Turns out there is $3.4 million buried inside the wall!
Rick is afraid Jeff has seen some of the bills (hopefully only a few); makes light of the situation, as he does now want anyone to know about the money. This could be the answer to his prayers; however, where did the money come from, and where will he hide it? He cannot put it all in the bank, and he cannot leave it at the house, or his car. He decides to hire Jeff to begin renovation, in order to sell it, and split the money with his sister, Wendy who lives out of town.
After putting small amounts in several different banks, he decides to get a small storage unit. He of course keeps some, as happens to run into his former girlfriend from college; hot, as well as highly intelligent and promising. She is now divorced with a younger son and he needs to impress her. He goes off buying all these fancy designer clothes and takes her to dinner, blowing thousands, which is really a turn off for her. After all, she is no longer with Goldman Sachs; she runs a non-profit for kids helping them with math. (lots of humor here)
Now Rick feels like a fool, plus he runs into some people, while spending money. Not cool. Soon he has thugs following him and threatening him. They want to know about the money? Rick decides to rent various cars daily, to throw off the guys, going from one bed and breakfast and hotel to another, while he puts on his investigative reporting hat, and begins digging into the mystery behind the money. Since his dad cannot speak, he has to find a way to communicate, in order to find out where the money came from.
Rick soon learns things about his dad, Leonard Hoffman the attorney, the father, and the man he evidently never knew. He is now in a nursing home and sits in front of a TV all day. He has not spoken in eighteen years. Seems he was connected to a shady bunch. He was a Fixer, a Bagman-- When strip clubs and porn clubs (“Combat Zone” Boston’s red-light district) had cash they needed to get rid of, (money laundering) and others who needed cash for bribes, his dad was their man.
The Combat Zone was a center of bribery with some heavy hitter players surrounding the Big Dig, when Boston added new downtown roads and tunnels which transformed the city’s traffic problem. It happened to be the largest and most complex and most technologically challenging construction project in the history of the country. He needs to find out the name behind the power, and why they are being so protective. Rick, now driven and obsessed to get to the bottom of this mystery will utilize all his investigative skills to uncover this complex web of deceit.
However, Rick soon learns everything is not as it appears. His dad was connected to some powerful men, and he is determined to find the answers and bring them down. His dad may have been trying to do the right thing, when he was stopped. When researching the time period, the day of his stroke, he had a meeting with the head of Boston’s PR firm which specializes in reputation management.
Danger is following Rick, and now the numbers have increased. Not only do they want money, they want him quiet; not opening up a can of worms. This giant has paid off half of the town and is now threatened. From the police, the top media PR, a reputation management company, one of the largest developers, political leaders, and others….he has to follow every lead to uncover the misdeeds before they destroy him. In the meantime, he may learn something about his father which may turn out to make him a hero in his eyes, after all, plus learn what really matters in life.
What makes THE FIXER so unique and engaging, is the emotional human dynamics, quite different than the normal crime thriller of finding a stash of money and simple corruption. Finders dives deep into the complex relationship of a father, who longer cannot speak for himself; however, actually speaks volumes. His character, his values, his goals and ambitions did not turn out the way he planned, and the sacrifices he made for his family after his wife died to give his children the best life possible. We also see the transformation of Rick from a selfish self-centered man grow into a man of character. This time he may not be able to be bought, for any price. Well done.
An action-packed, well-written, engrossing plot and compelling suspense thriller of secrets, lies, payoffs, blackmail, and corruption of the underbelly of Boston city business and politics. Mixed with humor, drama, and mystery crossing several genres. Highly recommend –an ideal gift for Father’s Day, an excellent choice for book clubs, discussions, and thriller fans.
On a side note:Thank you for the Judy Collins mention (the folk singer-not me) as you have to be in the age range to be familiar“From Both Sides Now” and “Send in the Clowns”. We share the name; however, I now use Judith, versus Judy, as she dominates the internet domain world. :) My namesake: A product of the 50s; flattered to be named after the extraordinary star. A classic, especially if you are from the sixties era.
Also pre-ordered the audiobook, and look forward to listening, as well!
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