"The Fixer" (Dutton), by Joseph Finder
Joseph Finder takes a familiar story and gives it a unique spin in his latest page-turner, "The Fixer."
Finder crafts tales that force his characters to step outside their comfort zone and confront their fears if they are to find solace. That rings especially true for Rick Hoffman, an investigative reporter who loses his job, apartment and fiancee. He doesn't seem to want to learn from the experience, but rather wallow in self-pity. He crashes at his father's empty and dilapidated house.
Hoffman's father had suffered a stroke and is non-communicative. He sits in front of the television all day. Hoffman needs a place to live, so he works out a deal with a neighbor to renovate the house. When he investigates a crumbling section of wall, Hoffman finds a stash of money that adds up to over $3 million. Where did this money come from, and, more important, is someone looking for it?
Seeking answers he cannot get from his father, Hoffman starts to ask questions about what happened the night of his father's stroke. Associates and friends become untrustworthy, and he learns of a conspiracy that might prove that his father was a criminal and hid the truth behind a tragic event.
The story starts off slowly but escalates as more details of a vast mystery are revealed. Hoffman is hard to like at first, but he grows up and becomes more likable.
A tale of finding hidden money and the ramifications of keeping quiet about the discovery isn't new, but Finder brings a surprising angle to the story and has crafted another worthwhile novel.