Joseph Finder’s plan was to become a spy. Or maybe a professor of Russian history. Instead he became a bestselling thriller writer, and winner of the Strand Critics Award for Best Novel for BURIED SECRETS (2011), winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel for KILLER INSTINCT (2006) and winner of the Barry and Gumshoe Awards for Best Thriller for COMPANY MAN (2005).
Born in Chicago, Joe spent his early childhood living around the world, including Afghanistan and the Philippines. In fact, Joe’s first language — even before English — was Farsi, which he spoke as a child in Kabul. After a stint in Bellingham, WA, his family finally settled outside of Albany, NY.
After taking a high school seminar on the literature and history of Russia, Joe was hooked. He went on to major in Russian studies at Yale, where he also sang with the school’s legendary a cappella group, the Whiffenpoofs (and likes to boast that he sang next to Ella Fitzgerald, an honorary Whiffenpoof). Joe graduated summa cum laude from Yale College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, then completed a master’s degree at the Harvard Russian Research Center, and later taught on the Harvard faculty. He was recruited to the Central Intelligence Agency but eventually decided he preferred writing fiction.
His first book, published in 1983 when Joe was only 24, was RED CARPET: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE KREMLIN AND AMERICA’S MOST POWERFUL BUSINESSMEN, the first book to reveal that the controversial multi-millionaire Dr. Armand Hammer, the CEO of Occidental Petroleum, had worked for Soviet intelligence in the 1920s and 1930s. (This book is no longer in print.)
But RED CARPET was only part of the story that Joe wanted to tell. So he wrote his first novel – the only way he could legally tell the whole Armand Hammer saga. Published in 1991, THE MOSCOW CLUB described events whose factual truth would only be revealed many years later. THE MOSCOW CLUB was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the ten best spy thrillers of all time and was published in thirty foreign countries.
What followed were three more critically-acclaimed thrillers – EXTRAORDINARY POWERS, THE ZERO HOUR (sold to Twentieth-Century Fox for a record sum) and HIGH CRIMES, which became a 2002 Fox film starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman. Joe was invited on the movie set and even cast for a nonspeaking role as a JAG prosecutor.
Published in 2004, PARANOIA represented a major turning point in Joe’s career, landing on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists, among others. It was his first book to use the ruthless drive, corruption and conspiracy of the corporate world as riveting plotline. PARANOIA was called “fun…movie-ready…[with] twists aplenty…” by Entertainment Weekly. A major motion picture based on PARANOIA was released summer of 2013 and starred Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford.
Joe’s next three novels – COMPANY MAN, KILLER INSTINCT and POWER PLAY – were all bestsellers in which things were decidedly not business as usual. He was quickly hailed as “the CEO of suspense.”
In VANISHED, published August 2009 by St. Martin’s Press and an immediate bestseller, Joe introduced his new continuing character, “private spy” Nick Heller. Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator – exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden. He’s a guy you don’t want to mess with. He’s also the man you call when you need a problem fixed. The second novel in the series, BURIED SECRETS, was published June 2011.
Published by Dutton in May 2014, the New York Times bestselling SUSPICION is a stand-alone novel about a single father who, to protect his daughter, makes a choice with dire consequences. THE FIXER, his latest novel and also a stand-alone, debuted on the New York Times bestseller list when it was released in June 2015.
GUILTY MINDS will be published July 19, 2016, and is the third novel in the Nick Heller series. The “private spy” returns in an exhilarating and timely thriller exploring how even the most powerful among us can be brought down by a carefully crafted lie and how the secrets we keep can never truly stay buried.
In addition to his fiction, Joe does occasional work for Hollywood, is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and Council on Foreign Relations, and has written on espionage and international affairs for a number of publications, including TheDailyBeast.com, Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Republic. In an April 2006 New York Times Book Review article, Joe discussed his fascination with ambition as a subject for fiction. He roots for the Boston Red Sox and lives in Boston with his wife, daughter, and a needy golden retriever, Mia, a dropout from seeing-eye-dog school.
- THE MOSCOW CLUB (1991) – Published in 30 foreign countries and a bestseller throughout Europe.
- EXTRAORDINARY POWERS (1994) – This novel about the discovery of a Soviet mole in the highest ranks of the CIA was published just days before the unmasking of CIA mole Aldrich Ames.
- THE ZERO HOUR (1995) – First novel ever written with the official cooperation of both the CIA and the FBI.
- HIGH CRIMES (1998) – A Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. Became a 2002 Fox film starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman.
- PARANOIA (2004) – Instant New York Times bestseller. A major motion picture based on PARANOIA is in production now and tentatively scheduled for release in September 2013.
- COMPANY MAN (2005) – Winner of the Barry and Gumshoe Awards for Best Thriller.
- KILLER INSTINCT (2006) – Winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel.
- POWER PLAY (2007) – Debuted at #7 on the New York Times bestseller list.
- VANISHED (2009) – Launched Joe’s first series after eight standalone novels. An instant bestseller.
- BURIED SECRETS (June 2011) – The second novel in the Nick Heller series. Winner of the Strand Critics Award for Best Novel.
- SUSPICION (May 2014) – A New York Times bestseller. This stand-alone novel is about a single father who, to protect his daughter, makes a choice with dire consequences.
- THE FIXER (June 2015) – A New York Times bestseller and stand-alone novel about a man who makes an electrifying discovery that will put his life in peril—and change everything he thought he knew about his father.
- GUILTY MINDS (Coming July 19, 2016) – “Private spy” Nick Heller returns in the third novel of the series. An exhilarating and timely thriller exploring how even the most powerful among us can be brought down by a carefully crafted lie and how the secrets we keep can never truly stay buried.