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BURIED SECRETS: We Have Liftoff!

6/22/2011

The writing life has many rewards, but few are as sweet as a launch at your own hometown bookstore, surrounded by family and friends. My deepest thanks to Evan Perriello and everyone at Brookline Booksmith for making last night’s event so special, and for all the friends, family members and fans who turned out to hear me talk about BURIED SECRETS.

Of course, several of the folks in last night’s audience also have cameo roles in the book. Legendary Boston cable TV host Smoki Bacon appears in the book as the willowy, redhaired assistant to rogue financier Marshall Marcus, thanks to a generous charitable donation by her son-in-law. Jillian Alperin’s father made a contribution that resulted in the naming of Nick’s pierced, tattooed, vegan receptionist. And my friend David Schechter, hedge fund manager and philanthropist, became a much more sinister Boston insider. (David, I was especially touched to see, turned up in his very own Heller’s Angels t-shirt!)

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so here are a few, courtesy of our office assistant, Whitney MacKenzie, who has nothing in common with Nick Heller’s receptionist Jillian. Thanks to my invaluable assistant, Claire Baldwin, for all her work setting this up!

Books to be signed.

The signing line – no pushing, no shoving. Look closely and you might spot authors Hallie Ephron, Gary Braver, and Daniel Palmer, among others . . .

My friend David Schechter, looking dapper in his Heller’s Angels t-shirt.

Talking to Gary Braver, whose own book TUNNEL VISION was also published on Tuesday!

The BURIED SECRETS tour continues tonight in New York, heads to Newburyport on Friday, then goes to Westbury, CT, Washington, DC and a very special fundraiser in Boston to wind things up on June 30. Details are online at http://www.josephfinder.com/news.

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Lisa Gardner Reviews BURIED SECRETS

6/17/2011

Good reviews are always welcome, but praise from a respected peer is sweetest of all. Thanks very much to Lisa Gardner, thriller writer extraordinaire, who was kind enough to read BURIED SECRETS and write this review. If you haven't already read Lisa's own latest novel, LOVE YOU MORE, you're missing out.

Just as Hollywood studios line up the crowd-pleasing summer blockbusters, so do New York publishers gear up for the annual launch of page-turning beach reads.  Thanks to Joseph Finder, the season gets off to an adrenaline-fueled start with the release of his highly anticipated second Nick Heller novel, BURIED SECRETS.

I've been a huge fan of Finder's ever since I discovered KILLER INSTINCT, the 2007 winner of Best Thriller of the Year from the International Thriller Writers.  Positioned as the thinking person’s suspense novelist, Finder is known for clever corporate intrigue combined with compelling real world characters.  Or, to put it in terms any sand and surf lover can appreciate, his books are fast-paced fun, featuring characters you'll genuinely enjoy.

Nick Heller is such a hero.  Having grown up the son of a wealthy financier, Nick spent most of his life with front row seats to the lifestyles of the rich and famous.  He knows exactly what money can buy, but also exactly what it can cost, as his disgraced father is currently serving time in Club Fed.

Now a "private spy," Heller has opened up shop in Boston.  A man just as comfortable navigating inner circles of wealth, as hanging with his Special Forces buddies, he’s that endearing combination of being the smartest guy in the room, but also the most self-deprecating.  His intelligence and gamesmanship are about to be put to the test as he takes on a case that starts as a favor for a family friend, and quickly escalates to a race against the clock to save a young girl's life.

Hedge fund titan Marshall Marcus has a problem:  his teenage daughter has been kidnapped for ransom.  Last time this happened, she was released without incident.  This time, however, the kidnapper has taken special precautions:  namely burying her alive in a coffin, specially wired with a webcam.  Marcus can either pay up, or watch his daughter die.

Unfortunately, Marcus's life is suffering from other complications, meaning he can't fork over the cash.  Instead, he turns to Nick in the desperate hope that Nick can rescue Alexa in time.  For clues, Nick has Alexa's discarded cell phone, security footage of her abduction, and an intermittent video feed.  Fortunately, Nick has other assets, including a spirited digital forensics expert, a former spec op friend who specializes in technical surveillance countermeasures, and, most complicating, an old flame from the FBI who's still giving off sparks.

As Nick Heller quickly realizes, he’s not just trying to save poor buried Alexa, he’s trying to outwit an internationally renowned psychopath, who clearly relishes his job.

While Finder has built his writing reputation on clever plots and cutting-edge technology, it’s his characters who clearly steal the show.  From Nick’s inner turmoil, as he realizes that the conspiracy of secrets may extend deeper, and closer than he ever imagined, to teenage Alexa’s desperate attempts to outlast her fiendish kidnapper and fight her own claustrophobia as she remains entombed beneath the earth.  I personally love Nick Heller’s mom, a beautiful woman made stronger and fuller by her husband’s fall from grace.

As you race from chapter to chapter, breathless to know what will happen next, you’ll be happy to discover that classic reader’s dilemma—you just have to know how the story ends, and yet, you don’t want to part ways with these characters.   It’s a good problem to have, and one easily remedied next summer, when Finder returns with the third book in the Nick Heller series.

In the meantime, BURIED SECRETS.  Apply suntan lotion.  Open novel.  And let the summer begin.

Lisa Gardner is a bestselling crime novelist. Visit her website for more info: http://lisagardner.com.

 

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Would Dickens Tweet?

6/14/2011

This week, for the first time in a while, I updated my MySpace page. Yes, I still I have a MySpace page. I had almost forgotten about it. I do most of my online socializing through Twitter (@JoeFinder) and Facebook these days. I also have a Goodreads account and a page on Crimespace, and the Heller’s Angels have their own page on Ning.

It’s a lot to keep up with, and it takes a fair amount of time. But no matter what else might be going on, or how bad a writing day I might be having, it’s always a shot in the arm to check in on Facebook or Twitter or email and see messages from friends and readers. In fact, it would be easy to spend all day doing nothing but chatting online, which is one of the many Internet distractions I have to protect myself from — but I’ve discussed that before at some length.

I think some readers are surprised to get a personal response when they write to me. I’m more surprised when I hear about authors who don’t respond, or who choose not to interact with readers. After all, a reader who finishes one of my books has just given me several hours, if not days, of their time, and then has taken that extra time to look me up online and send me a note. Why wouldn’t I take a few minutes to answer? Even (or especially) if a reader is writing to tell me I’ve made a mistake, it’s an honor to get those messages.

Reader mail cheers me up, challenges me, offers me resources, and corrects me when I’m wrong. I’ve made friends and research contacts online. I’ve gotten new ideas, and had old ones changed. I’ve found communities of like-minded people, and learned things I might never have discovered on my own. Twitter and Facebook are handy because they speed up the process; I don’t always have time for a full-length letter, and neither do readers.

My perspective on this is shaped by my own experience as a child, when I wrote to one of my favorite authors – Ms. Eleanor Cameron, creator of the Mushroom Planet books — and got a gracious response, which started a correspondence that lasted for years. That correspondence was the beginning of my understanding that real people wrote books, and that I might be able to write them, too.

I’ve heard both readers and authors say that they’d rather keep the illusion, and not break that wall between reader and author. I’ve even heard authors say they see something undignified about putting themselves on Twitter, or putting up fan pages on Facebook. (To be fair, those authors tend not to be crime novelists. I’ve hand-sold my own books in airport bookstores. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about dignity.) Would the great novelists of history be on Twitter, they ask?

When Charles Dickens died in 1870 (at what now seems the shockingly youthful age of 58), he left behind enough letters to comprise 12 volumes of published books, even though he’d burned a great deal of personal correspondence ten years earlier. If Twitter had been around when Dickens was writing, he absolutely would have been Tweeting. So would Mark Twain, whose network was so extensive that he once received a letter addressed solely to “Mark Twain, God Knows Where.”

A week from today, BURIED SECRETS hits stores everywhere, in print and online (and while I’m thinking about it, you still have time to take advantage of the preorder offer. I hope you’ll read it. I hope you’ll write to tell me what you think. If you want to know where I’ll be, the full schedule of events is here. Come out to say hello if you can — but you can always find me @JoeFinder, on Facebook, and at joe@josephfinder.com.

Oh, and on MySpace. But I don’t check it often.

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Podcasting: The Next Best Thing to Being There?

6/9/2011

The BURIED SECRETS tour starts on Tuesday, June 21 with a launch event at Brookline Booksmith at 7:00 p.m. This will be followed by launch events in New York and the Washington, DC area as well as readings and talks in Newburyport, MA and Westport, CT. It’s a pretty short tour, and I’m sorry to say it leaves out most of the country. I’ll miss seeing friends in California, in Texas, in Georgia, in Florida, in Chicago . . . well, you get the idea.

I was trying to think of ways to reach readers I won’t see on book tour when Aanarav Sareen, who produces online audio content, suggested I do a series of podcasts. Podcasts, for those unfamiliar with the concept (as I was), are audio or video digital media files that are released episodically. I’ve since learned from my tech-savvier friends that they’re great ways to catch up with radio shows, in particular; the BBC and NPR both have a wide range of podcast selections.

I recorded five podcasts with Aanarav, to be released between now and June 21. The first two are already available through iTunes; you can download them and subscribe to coming episodes here. Taken together, the podcasts include a lot of material I’d discuss at a book tour appearance: my own background as a writer, the origins of Nick Heller and the concept of the “private spy,” the joys and perils of research, and more.

The one piece of the touring experience the podcasts can’t duplicate is the question-and-answer session that follows my talk. So I hope you’ll subscribe to the podcasts, but once you’ve listened, if you have questions, please post them to my Facebook fan page.

And if you do live in or near any of the cities I’ll be visiting, I hope you’ll still come to the events. I have many more stories to tell!

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