Sep 23, 2011

Book Review - Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder


Buried Secrets is Joseph Finder’s second Nick Heller novel.  The first, Vanished was an international best seller.

Like another top flight thriller writer, Barry Eisler, Finder has a past that informs his writing, giving it an air of authenticity.  Joe, a graduate of Yale with a Major in Russian Studies was recruited by the CIA.

While his own life story sounds interesting Buried Secrets is what I’m here to talk about.

The Story

Nick Heller is a modern private eye or is that spy.  He’s no ordinary gumshoe, and Buried Secrets isn’t hardboiled detective fiction. On paper Heller’s an accountant, in reality he’s a corporate intelligence specialist with fingers on the pulse in regards to corporate crime and government operations. 

In Buried Secrets his work gets personal when an old family friend’s daughter is kidnapped.  Nick’s the man for the job but when your friend conducts business in the shadows, his enemies are likely to be very nasty people.  At first the snatch and grab seems to be aimed at extorting money from one of the counties richest men Nick’s friend.  But soon enough Nick realises that they things are far more serious and dangerous than that.

What I liked?

With good thriller writing the prose should really fade into the background and Finder does this.  There wasn’t one instance where I felt jolted out of the story.  Pacing was near perfect as I was hauled through the text at breakneck speed.  There’s no eloquent musing on life’s deep questions, but a girl to be saved, lies to be uncovered and a violent “killing for pleasure” antagonist to be confronted.  That’s not to say that the writing is formulaic, or simple.  It’s details that impart verisimilitude and help this book standout from the mountain of thriller writing out there.  From the mention of de Becker’s Gift of Fear in the first chapter to a hundred little technical details along the way, it’s clear that Finder knows his stuff, or has talked to people who do.

This being my first meeting with Nick Heller I found him to be realistic and believable, he’s not superman and he’s not a master of all trades. Nick’s smart and decisive and knows how to make the best of his contacts. 

What I didn’t?

This is top shelf thriller writing, no complaints from me here. My only regret with this book is that it’s my first, I will have to track down his other works to catch up on what I’m missing out on.

Haven’t Heard of Finder?

I kept thinking that the book would make a good movie, so it was perhaps no surprise to find out that finder has had previous works picked up by Hollywood. His book High Crimes was made into a movie of the same name starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman.


Definitely top shelf thriller writing.  I enjoyed it more than the Lee Child books I have read and it’s getting perilously close to my favourite Barry Eisler.  You’ll devour this book in a couple of days.  I’d even go so far a to suggest it would be a good buy for those relatives who enjoy movies like the Bourne trilogy but are reluctant readers.

This book as provided by the publisher at no cost to myself.

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