Author: Joseph Finder
Investigative journalist Rick Hoffman, the protagonist in Joseph Finder's most recent novel The Fixer could not have imagined what would unravel after he moved back to his childhood home in Cambridge, Massachusetts after an absence of seventeen years.
Rick was in bad shape financially as well as emotionally as he had just lost his job and his fiancée had broken off their engagement. The family home was in complete disrepair as no one occupied it for the past three years. His father Leonard, who had been an attorney, resided in a nursing home for the past eighteen years after suffering a stroke leaving him unable to speak.
The house was up for sale, however, due to its shoddy appearance there was little in the way of a prospective purchaser. Rick's next door neighbor, Jeff, whom he had known since childhood, was a contractor and he offered his renovating services to him which Rick accepted realizing that once the property would be put back into shape, it would be easier to sell and probably for a good price.
When the renovation work began, Rick discovers hidden in a crawl space packets of cash totaling three and half million dollars. It all didn't make sense and he was completely baffled as to where this money came from and did it really belong to his father? If it was his father's money, how and where did he accumulate such a large sum of money? His father was a small time attorney who defended outcasts and rejects, people with no one else to defend them. It would be difficult to conceive that he earned this kind of money through these clients. On the other hand, he did have a reputation as being “a fixer,” whatever that meant.
You can say that this was quite a fortunate find on the part of Rick, yet, as we are to discover, perhaps it was more of a misfortune that will plunge him into a world of extreme danger similar to what his father may have confronted when he was practicing law. Thrown into the yarn is the mega project that came to pass in Boston known as “The Big Dig,” that rerouted the Central Artery (Interstate 93)—the chief highway through the heart of the city—into the 3.5-mile (5.6km) Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Tunnel, which also included the construction of the Ted Williams Tunnel (extending Interstate 90 to Logan International Airport). As is the case with many of these projects there is a great deal of shenanigans, deals, hustles, boondoggles and some nasty payoffs.
The real magic at work here is Finder's knack in casting a spell that makes us as eager as the narrator to uncover the truth. And he steers us through the final, wild events with an unfaltering hand crafting an absorbing tale whose simple and direct narrative ironically contrasts with the multitude of secrets that burden the lives of Rick and his father Leonard. It is also a novel that investigates troubling issues pertaining to the construction industry and the coverups that take place with the aid of some slippery public relation firms.