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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, June 2015 - The Fixer is one of those seemingly rare occurrences these days, the stand-alone thriller! I love books where the main character is an average person (Rick Hoffman is a journalist who just lost his job) who gets put into an extraordinary situation. I like to wonder when I am listening how I would respond when faced with similar circumstances. While renovating his childhood home Rick finds something (I won't spoil it, but you'll find out within the first few minutes) in a boarded up wall (any guesses?) that sets off a chain of events that puts him and his loved ones in mortal danger. I'll leave it for you to decide how Rick handles what happens, but one thing you can count on - once you start The Fixer you won't want to stop! –John, Audible Editor
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Joseph Finder delivers his next breakneck standalone 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.
©2015 Joseph Finder (P)2015 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By karen on 06-14-15

A fairly good novel, clearly not a "thriller"

I've enjoyed all of Joseph Finder's books, read/listened to most of them more than once, but this new one, "The Fixer" isn't my favorite, not by a long shot. It's a fairly good novel. In listening, I never once went away with the fairies, never had to backtrack, so it's interesting enough. No complaints there.

But. I'm trying to isolate what the issue was. How about this: there are many of us who complain about books in which the gorgeous young female protagonist, knowing there is a vicious killer lurking out there somewhere, will hear a noise at night, and decide to go outside and investigate, all by herself, right? Well, here we've got her male counterpart.

I'm not sure what the exact diagnosis is -- naive, gullible, too-trusting, not sufficiently cynical or maybe just plain dumb, but this guy gets himself in more "fixes" (how about that?!) than any reasonably aware 30-something would ever do. When we get to the last hour of the book, and once again, Rick heads off by himself into what is obviously a danger zone -- while I'm sure the entire reading audience is screaming, "DON'T GO -- ARE YOU NUTS??" -- he goes anyway. Happily. Confidently. Good grief -- whaddya gonna do with a guy like that? Honestly, his too-trusting character gets almost silly.

One avenue I thought Finder was going to take -- but he didn't -- was typical: At the very beginning, Finder has Rick (who found all this money) go out and make several $9000 deposits into bank accounts at several different banks, saying he knows he's safe from "Homeland Security" if he keeps it under $10,000. Finder might ask former Congressman Denny Hastert how well that kind of thing worked for him. Pretty silly -- or naive -- for Rick to think he could simply obey the letter of the law and Homeland Security would leave him alone. Maybe there's room for a sequel there, when the feds take after Rick which, sooner or later, they surely would.

Two positive things: they chose exactly the right narrator. Steven Kearney's boyish "Aw shucks gee whiz" voice quality is just perfect for the gullible Rick. The narration is great -- Kearney does well on the Irish accents, too. Well done.

And secondly, the novel is a fine meditation on fathers and sons, what sons know about their fathers, how much they don't know, but make judgments about anyway. I resonated with that on my maternal side. I never really knew my mother, wish I'd had the chance Rick had, to discover something about her that would have changed the way I remember her. In that sense, it's a fine novel indeed.

So? Not Finder's best -- "Company Man" remains my all time favorite. But still, worth a listen.

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20 of 21 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Sarah Castleberry on 07-07-15

Disappointing -- from one of my favorite authors

What disappointed you about The Fixer?

I think I'm so disappointed because I've liked Joseph Finder so much, yet this is one of the worst books I've listened to on Audible. The main character had a flaw we call "TSTL" -- "too stupid to live." I never understood his motivations, and his reactions/behaviors made no sense. The character is just not engaged emotionally, kind of floats along, no intensity in his manner, for someone in such a dire situation. He hardly seems aware his situation is dire. The frank manner of the voice artist doesn't help much.I don't think any of this is a spoiler -- there's not much plot to spoil. He finds a huge bundle of plastic-wrapped cash hidden in the walls of his dad's house. His first response? "I'm rich." Or so it seems, because he starts on a lavish spending spree. I've watched enough TV to know you can't just start throwing around a bunch of mysterious cash. Call an attorney, call a banker, or law enforcement.His dad -- who can't speak due to a stroke, gets very agitated and fearful when the money is mentioned. But the main character takes no clue.Until he's abducted by some bad folks that put his hand to a saw blade. "Who have you been talking to?" they demand. He never answers their question, but they just magically let him go with a warning. The NEXT day, after getting some coffee, he thinks to himself, "I guess I should make it a priority to find out where that money came from." YOU THINK?Multiple times the character thinks, I guess I should try to be careful now, and changes his hotel or a rental car. But we feel no emotions or intensity from him. And he'll say "Is that car following me? I'm just being paranoid." Some people nearly CUT OFF YOUR HAND! And you still think you're just being paranoid?Overall, I see no good reason that the character doesn't just go to the police. There are some Irish-accented guys involved, and the issue reaches some large players within that city... but the big conspiracy just seems lame in the end.He's given a really valid chance to back out of it all (around 95% of the way through), and he doesn't. I just don't understand his motivations.I could say more, but you get the point, if you've read the review this far.

What could Joseph Finder have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Write with more emotional connection.I just listened to Company Man this year, as well, and The Fixer felt very similar. The main character just seems to float along. In Company Man, he was a CEO but had no idea what was going on is his own company, just in a fog, and so little reaction to very important clues and events that take place.In The Fixer, here's a guy who gets abducted and his hand nearly cut off, and he just kind of takes his time -- going into the newspaper office, calling around, thinking "hmmm, switching hotels every couple of nights kind of sucks." I have zero sympathy for him. He seems to lack integrity -- both in his past relationships and jobs, and in his current spending of cash. The slight turn toward integrity at the end doesn't show growth, it makes no sense to keep pursing the bad guys at that point, in my opinion.

Would you be willing to try another one of Steven Kearney’s performances?

Yes. He's good -- but doesn't really get intense or emotional. Could've been the book, but he didn't seem to be able to help it any. Very frank, straight-forward reading.

Any additional comments?

Hoping for better on Finder's next book.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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