Thursday, September 3, 2015

Review: The Fixer by Joseph Finder

The Fixer 
by Joseph Finder
Release Date: June 9th 2015
2015 Dutton
Ebook Edition; 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-0525954613
Genre: Fiction / Suspense
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

When former investigative reporter Rick Hoffman loses his job, fiancĂ©e, 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.

My Thoughts
The Fixer is one of those books over which I have very mixed feelings.  First of all, I was not very fond of the principle character, Rick Hoffman, for the first half of the novel, although he grew on my slightly towards the end.  Second, while I enjoy his writing style and he does tell an interesting story, there were not enough of the twists and turns that I like to see in a novel such a this; in other words, it was kind of predictable.

As an investigate reporter, Rick Hoffman didn't really seem all that bright to me, especially in the first half of the novel.  He finds three and a half million dollars in his father's house and the first things he does is think about all of the things he could purchase or do with the money, and not really investigate where the money came from in the first place.  Then he is shocked because there are people out there who try to kill him, repeatedly, and suddenly, he is thrown into this great mystery about his father and how he managed to accumulate all of this money.  After the first time he was abducted, you'd think he would have taken steps to protect himself, especially being a top-notch investigative reporter, but then he makes the same mistakes over and over again. And the fact that he really didn't think about his father bothered me a great deal, but I got the impression that his father wasn't at the top of his priority list anyways; the visits to the nursing home were just a requirement done to satisfy society that he was doing his duty as a son and nothing else.  And yet, as Rick investigates, he learns that his dad was indeed an upstanding man, a man who fought for the rights and freedoms of others, who took on 'sketchy' clients in order to support his family, but who did it right in the end.  I know there are a lot of people who don't really pay attention to their fathers and to the things they did in the past, and I find that really sad.

The plot had many themes running through it and I thought the author did a good job reigning them all in and keeping the plot tight and together.  The most interesting theme, by far, was the concept of 'fixing', but I was skeptical about the whole plot, considering the amount of insurance that construction companies take out for such situations.  On the other hand, you hear about companies getting fined all of the time for keeping things 'quiet', or for people getting paid to keep 'quiet'; all you have to do is surf the Net and there are loads of cases such as these, so it does make you wonder... I was more interested however, in how someone would get involved in such a thing and I guess desperation and family could definitely do this to someone, compromise your integrity to a point where you can no longer look at yourself.  It was an interesting theme and I liked how Finder explored it in this novel.

The Fixer was one of those novels where I didn't really care for the protagonist a whole lot, but I liked the author's writing style and I liked the themes that were explored; I also think it was Rick's dad's story that really kept me interested as his life fascinated me.  The pace was fairly quick, but it didn't really carry the suspense or the unpredictability that I like in a suspense novel.   To be honest, I'm not really sure how to recommend this novel; I think you should just decide for yourself if you wish to read it.