Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.
Rick Hoffman is on the skids, his career in journalism has hit the wall and chronically short of cash he has been forced to live in the huge wreck of a house that used to belong to his father. Finding more than three million dollars stashed in the walls of the old homestead seems like an upturn in his fortunes; at first.
The trouble is he has no idea where the money came from or what his father, now incapacitated by a stroke, did to get it. Untangling that mystery brings Rick into contact with old friends, forces him to reassess his life and career and dig up old scandals some prominent Bostonians would like to see stay buried.
Early on in this book Joseph Finder references forties film classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and it isn't hard to imaging Humphrey Bogart cast as Rick Hoffman. There is more than a little of the sensibility of golden age Hollywood in this tale of a man who has lost his way finding redemption.
He gets perfectly right the atmosphere of Boston, the mix of grandeur and blue collar graft found in one of the few American cities with a genuine sense of history. This is a place where business and politics tend to operate on the basis of a velvet glove wearing a set of brass knuckles.
Finder also plays some good riffs on the culture clash between the old and new media. A fellow hack at the online magazine where Rick scrapes a living says in wide eyes wonderment that his using the telephone to track down a lead is 'like so old school.' He also nails the grinding routine of modern journalism as ever more space is colonised by bland copy designed to flatter the egos of the rich and famous.
In The Fixer Joseph Finder, like his protagonist, gets results by doing some pretty old school things. Like telling a his story with the page turning directness of good journalism, providing thrills aplenty without using gratuitous violence; and exploring without pretension the journey of a son to understanding his own flaws and virtues along with those of his father.
This is a book that proves that sometimes in fiction, as in music, the old tunes really are the best.