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Lisa Gardner Reviews BURIED SECRETS

06/18/2011

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.