Ali Karim is a Board Member of Bouchercon [The World Crime & Mystery Convention] and co-chaired programming for Bouchercon Raleigh, North Carolina in 2015. He is Assistant Editor of Shots eZine, British correspondent for The Rap Sheet and writes and reviews for many US magazines & Ezines.
A Portuguese character uses the irritating phrase “It’s all good” rather lot, and that phrase is an understatement when reporting back how much I enjoyed the second Nick Heller thriller ‘Buried Secrets’.
I have loved all of Finder’s techno-thrillers, but have special regard for his breakout novel, Paranoia, and the 2007 ITW Best Novel Awarded Killer Instinct; however I would have to push Buried Secrets right up against the auhtor's best work. I relished Finder’s first foray into a series with Vanished, a high-tech PI tale featuring Nick Heller, a freelance corporate investigator. Naturally the start of a series requires set-up and a solid base from which to catapult a connected run of adventures which Vanished did admirably.
Therefore Buried Secrets has little baggage, so starts in high gear as we find Heller lured into helping his friend the financial tycoon Marshall Marcus locate his kidnapped daughter, the teenage Alexandra. Unlike many series novels, you don’t need to read its precursor to enjoy this book as Heller’s back-story is drip-fed along the way, like the clues Heller himself (and his cohorts) have to follow to rescue the abducted girl.
The sentence structure and chapters are short and terse, propelling the story along like the projectile bullets that Heller dodges from the South American and Russian gangsters that obstruct his path. The real charm of this dark tale is the alternation between the hip first-person view provided by Heller, and the obsidian third person view from the dark edges of this tale.
Finder’s deft humor peppers this tale with witty and cynical quotable one-liners; many of which made me laugh out loud such as mention of the Brooks Brothers tie used to hang the “It’s all good” character. Series thrillers usually have a ‘hero’ and sidekick, but what makes Buried Secrets divergent is that Heller has many sidekicks, partners, friends and contacts to pull from, such as his nephew the comic-book loving Gabe, former KGB bigwigs, FBI officers (and lovers), the disfigured veteran and electronic wizard George Devlin as well as his own staff at his PI agency and family. Smattered with trade-craft, glimpses into geo-politics and financial trickery, this insightful novel is the summer thriller of 2011.
Highly recommended, though the blurring between fiction and fact unnerved me at times with its inbuilt anxieties of technological shock and darkest of villains.