This is a thriller set in Boston with references to the Big Dig, a fiasco of a highway/tunnel project that ran way behind schedule (try over 8 to 10 years, depending which viewpoint you take) and racked up the cost to over $20 billion (still not fully paid to date). Although that in itself is criminal, there are many other criminals in the story. Much of the story is about Rick Hoffman, a thirtysomething journalist who finds himself out of a high-paying job and homeless. He goes back to his family home, which has become a big fixer-upper because his father has been in a convalescence facility for 18 years due to a stroke that left him unable to speak or care for himself. His mother has long been deceased and his only sibling, a sister, lives in Seattle.
While at his childhood home one night, he hears something behind a wall and punches the wall, creating a mess. While trying to find out the cause of the noise, Rick discovers a pile of cash hidden in a crawl space under the roof. His count comes to $3.4 million. What the . . . ? Where the . . . ? Who’s the . . . ? Questions must be answered and the action begins. While searching for the truth, he also searches his own soul, thinking about the decisions he’s made. Along the way, he learns about a different side to his father, who he thought was just a small-time defense lawyer for unsavory characters. The book’s title may be referred to the role his father has played for a highly connected and influential man, who can also be considered a fixer. As you can surmise, a fixer is a problem solver. One who finds ways to make sure a potentially scandalous or problematic situation is suppressed and stays suppressed.
Some twists lead to dead-ends, while some to new questions and then certain situations take a violent turn. As the book nears the end, you almost think that the big question will remain a mystery. But, voila, you can read for yourself to see if indeed the question is answered.
The Fixer is suspenseful and has enough action to keep your attention. There is also some romance to provide variety, as well as see Rick as a more rounded character. Listed in the order they were published, the titles below are the fiction books I’ve read by Joseph Finder. The two asterisked titles indicate the Nick Heller series. I shall continue updating the list as I finish reading his new publications.
The Moscow Club
The Zero Hour
The Switch (read in 8/17)