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The Fixer

The Fixer - Joseph Finder "Received a copy of The Fixer by Joseph Finder through the Goodreads FirstReads giveaway program in exchange for an honest review

""A lot of money changed hands, true. None of this shocks me. You know what Robert Penn Warren said in All the King's Men. 'Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption, and he passes from the stench of the didie to the stink of the shroud.' Or something very close to that. Just because my hands happen to be clean doesn't mean I judge. I do not. So tell me what you've found. ""

A wayward son of sixteen years finds himself back home after a whirlwind of personal misfortunes. Rick Hoffman has recently returned home after getting his job as an executive editor of a glossy print magazine called Back Bay unceremoniously eliminated. The decision came as a surprise to him, but for people in the business it was an inevitability as it was made to establish themselves as a presence in the digital age. As a result his fiancée has decided for the both of them that it would be best if they parted ways. After collecting one another's belongings and paying off any outstanding debts they would themselves travelling to opposite ends of the country, but first Rick must get out of their shared apartment. It would have been a lot more complicated if they had been married, so there is that positive aspect, but other than that Rick Hoffman has hit rock bottom. While Holly has the world at her fingertips and Miami as her personal and professional playground Rick is back in his decrepit childhood home on Clayton Street in Boston recalibrating and figuring out his next step.

Being in his safe haven has allowed him the ability to reminisce about his more happy times as an investigative journalist for the Boston Globe where he exposed corruption, fraud and other conspiracies. Being at home has also forced him to think about his beloved father Leonard who suffered a massive stroke twenty years prior and is currently residing in a home care facility. Leonard has been declared a global aphasic meaning he can't read, write, or even speak. Given that Leonard made his living as an attorney this has been hard for not only Rick and his sister Wendy to take, but especially Leonard. By his friends accounts, ""Lenny"" was a man of great integrity. A man that fought for the rights and freedoms for the city's disenfranchised. A regional hero who stood tall, side-by-side and defended the outcasts and the rejects who had no other place to turn for justice resulting in pro bono work with no reservations. Unfortunately, what resulted was Leonard compromising his integrity and doing work on the side that he did not revel in, in order to support his family. He took on sketchy clients with his goal being to protect the first amendment. However low he may have sank he never broke his word even if it meant keeping secrets buried beneath the ground and away from his family.

""In one of the boxes he found a familiar looking book: Walden & Other Writings of Henry David Thoreau, with a very sixties dust jacket, a curvy, groovy Peter Max - like font. He'd often see that book on his father's desk, open to one of Thoreau's little essays. Sometimes he'd read from it at night. Lenny had loved Thoreau. He liked to quote one of Thoreau's maxims: 'The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.' He wondered whether his father had lived a life of quiet desperation. Probably so. At least he heard the beat of a different drummer, that was for sure.""

As Rick unwillingly settles in he can't help but notice the dilapidated state of the house. In order to get the house ready for the market it would need a hope and a prayer or a discounted construction company, whatever comes first. Insert childhood neighbour and builder extraordinaire Jeff Hollenbeck. After a quick inspection and estimation Rick notices packets of banknotes hidden in a hole in a wall. Desperately needing to do some counting, Rick quickly kicks an inquisitive Jeff out of the house. What follows next will allow him to better understand his confounding father, will put Rick back on the investigative journalist horse, but also may put him into an early grave.

""Rick decided to drive over to Hyde Square in the Boston suburb of Jamaica Plain and just start asking questions. Sometimes you could pick up details from the ground. His old boss at the Globe, a gruff editor who favored bow ties and boldly striped shirts with white contrasting collars, was always ordering his reporters to get out of their cubicles and get off their phones and their butt and start poking around. 'Just showing up,' he liked to say, 'is half of good reporting.' It was time to show up.""

This book is very involved. With Irish gangs, rehabilitated ex-con's, bagmen, contract killers, philanthropists, the adult entertainment industry, municipal officials and terrorists this book covers a lot of ground without escaping the realm of possibility. It's really nice to have a quick, fun, and overall enjoyable when the weather gets warm and the brain starts to fry out in the hot, hazy and humid conditions. Being the page turner that this story happened to be, I was also able to get a little colour on my pasty Canadian body and achieve some sort of spotty base. There was not really anything quote worthy from this book, no literary ornamentation just a straightforward suspenseful novel that provided a nice change of pace. With the beach beckoning I recommend you to get cozy and sink your feet into the sand and read this novel, but don't forget to wear your sunscreen and protect yourself from that harmful ultraviolet radiation because time may in fact fly.

""He was weak with terror, and the terror came from uncertainty, not knowing why he was here and what was about to happen. The money, of course - that was obvious: it was the money that put him here. But what his abductors planned to do with him he had no idea. That was even more terrifying, the not knowing.""