Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder
International investigator and ex-Special Forces Operative, Nick Heller was first introduced to us in Joseph Finder’s Vanished, the first book in the Nick Heller series, which I did a review on back in September of 2016. Here’s the link if you are interest in reading it: Review of Vanished by Joseph Finder
In Buried Secrets, we rejoin Nick Heller a few months later and he has moved from Washington D.C. to Boston to open his own investigative agency. Nick has brought along his old work associate Dorothy, who is an ex-NSA employee and a digital forensics expert. He has also hired receptionist and office manager, Jillian Alperin.
When an old family friend comes to Nick for help, Nick can’t say no. Marshall Marcus is the richest guy in Boston. He was employed Nick’s mother when his father, Victor Heller, went to prison, and treated her and her sons like family. Now Marshall’s daughter Alexa has gone missing, and Nick agrees to try and locate her. The case also brings him into contact with an old flame, Diana Madigan, who works for Child Abduction Rapid Deployment.
The story switches back and forth from Nick’s POV to the POV of Marshall’s daughter, Alexa. Alexa is in the hands of a man she thinks of as “The Owl,” who is her only lifeline to the world. His power over her is absolute. He has buried her alive with very little food and water, and sends horrifying live video feeds to her family over the internet. Here the reader feels every moment of Alexa’s terror as if we were there with her. This kidnapper thrives on the fear he sows and as I read, I got chills down my spine.
Nick knows that he must find Alexa because her time is running out, but he soon begins to realize that Marshall has been sandbagging him. He has become involved with some very bad people and his reluctance to tell the truth may cost him his daughter’s life.
Nick Heller is a boldly drawn character and I have a feeling he’ll be around awhile. He’s one of those that you shout out loud rooting for. He never takes anything at face value, operating at full speed and he absolutely does not take any crap from anyone. But Nick isn’t just a hardcore macho man; he genuinely cares about people. We see this side in his relationship with his nephew Gabe, a surly teenager that Nick is especially fond of. Nick and Gabe have some typical adult/teenage banter with Nick constantly jibing him about his taste in music. Nick much prefers the twangy guitar licks of “The Titan of The Telecaster,” Bill Kirchen. Somehow in my book this makes him even more interesting. We also get a glimpse of Nick’s love life as we find out more about his former relationship with the new character, Diana. Most of us that read these series know that the heroes usually go through relationships like water. So far in the first two books, it’s hard to tell if that’s the case but I don’t mind reading more to find out. These are enjoyable, fast-paced reads.