The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar.
The Fixer by Joseph Finder is a suspenseful novel. What makes this story special is its unique and engaging emotional human dynamics. Besides corruption and blackmail, the author delves deeply into the complex relationship between father and son. The reader wonders how much of a person’s past is known even in a close relationship.
Finder explained to blackfive.net that he conceived of the story idea while “making renovations in the house we have. I was talking to the workers and they told me about finding all kinds of interesting stuff like money. I thought what would it be like for a guy totally broke to come upon a chunk of cash in a house. The book starts off with a classic ‘what if.’ I chose the title because the house is a fixer upper. Rick is determined to fix his own life. The father and those he worked with are “fixers” who have helped pay off contractors.”
Right from the opening pages this book is a real page-turner. After investigative reporter Rick Hoffman loses his job, fiancée, and apartment his only option is to move back into his childhood home. Neglected for years when his father had to move into a nursing home after suffering a stroke, Rick starts to make renovations and finds $3.4 million hidden in the walls. Trying to find out where the money originated and how it was placed there, Rick finds out that his father had deep dark secrets and a life he knew nothing about.
The author noted, “My relationship with my dad was nothing like Rick’s. Rick called his dad by his first name, Lenny. I called my parents’ dad and mom. Isn’t it interesting that there is this whole different world that you are not privy too, a past of your parents that could have secrets. My own dad died while I was writing this book so it became a book about fathers and sons. You never really know your parents, only a slice. I made Rick’s dad have a stroke because of my dad. That is why I had Rick unable to talk with his father since Lenny could not communicate.”
As the story progresses, more of the father’s past is revealed; although it does not make him any more of a sympathetic figure. This is also the case with the portrayal of Rick as a superficial and self-centered person, which contributes to the reader’s initial dislike. Yet, as the story advances, the reader is drawn to Rick when he finds his moral character. Even with some bad choices and questionable actions, readers will develop a fondness for Rick as he exposes corruption within Boston’s Big Dig Highway Tunnel project of cash payoffs, political deal making, and cover-ups that followed the twenty year multibillion dollar project.
Readers got a heads up that Rick could possibly come back in another story. Finder feels that “as an investigative journalist he could uncover some mystery or conspiracy. He has a lot of potential. Maybe Andrea, the female lead, will also come back since she can use her financial background skills to help solve other conspiracies. I could make this exception, something I have not done with the other characters in my stand-alone books.”
The Fixer blends suspense with a captivating and thrilling plot. As Father’s Day approaches this is a good book that emphasizes the father-son relationship. It is a fast paced book that readers will not want to put down.