Vanished
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Vanished

3.8 218
by Joseph Finder
     
 

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Nick Heller is tough, smart, and stubborn. And in his line of work, it's essential. Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator--exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden. He's a guy you don't want to mess with. He's also the man you call when you need a problem fixed.

Desperate, with nowhere else to run,

Overview

Nick Heller is tough, smart, and stubborn. And in his line of work, it's essential. Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator--exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden. He's a guy you don't want to mess with. He's also the man you call when you need a problem fixed.

Desperate, with nowhere else to run, Nick's nephew, Gabe makes that call one night. After being attacked in Georgetown, his mother, Lauren, lies in a coma, and his step-dad, Roger, Nick's brother, has vanished without a trace.

Nick and Roger have been on the outs since the arrest, trial, and conviction of their father, the notorious "fugitive financier," Victor Heller. Where Nick strayed from the path, Roger followed their father's footsteps into the corporate world. Now, as Nick searches for his brother, he's on a collision course with one of the most powerful corporations in the world--and they will stop at nothing to protect their secrets, in Joseph Finder's thrilling Vanished.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Financial thriller whiz Joe Finder has fully and seamlessly entered the world of Lee Child and James Rollins. A rousing, lightning-paced thriller from the first page to the last. ” —Providence Journal

“If Jack Reacher met Nick Heller in a dark alley, my money's on Reacher. But it would be ugly. Or would it? Actually, I think they'd go for a beer together and set the world to rights--because Joseph Finder has given me a terrific new hero to root for. This is an action-packed, full-throttle, buy-it-today-read-it-tonight series that you definitely shouldn't miss.” —Lee Child

“A humdinger....a thriller to enjoy for its Washington locales, convincing familiarity with cutting-edge spy gadgetry, and taut action scenes.” —Washington Post

“Cliffhangers galore, the fascinating tradecraft of corporate espionage, and an engrossing story will propel readers through this outstanding thriller. Highly recommended as a great summer read.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Written in staccato chapters that are emotionally supercharged and action-packed, this thriller will more than satisfy adrenaline junkies and have them guessing until the very end.” —Publishers Weekly

“Breakneck pace and labyrinthine schemes . . . ingenious.” —Booklist

“Heller is Finder's new series character and ...will very shortly be mentioned in the same breath as Reacher and Bosch...If you only read one book this summer, make it Vanished.” —Crimespree magazine

“Moves at the pace of an injected neuro-toxin…You'll curse Finder for keeping you up into the early hours.” —Shots magazine

“Finder ratchets up the suspense while making Vanished both a business thriller and an old-fashioned heist. As usual, Finder knows how to measure out the action for the ultimate impact.” —Sun Sentinel

“Finder is that rare thriller author who actually writes well. He manages deft characterization, offhand one-liners, and a fine sense of place....In the best thrillers everything is connected. Pay attention to the details here, because they all fit into the surprising and timely plot of this first-rate effort.” —SmartMoney

“Even though I'd been warned that everyone who'd read it did so in one sitting, I cracked the cover at 10 p.m., figuring yeah, yeah, one sitting, right. When I passed out at 4 a.m., I was thinking, boy, if I could just keep my eyes open long enough to finish this!” —Myles Knapp, Contra Costa Times

“A white-knuckle tale of suspense.” —Chicago Sun-Times on POWER PLAY

“Its premise is enough to send chills through corporate boardrooms, and through civilian readers too.” —Janet Maslin on POWER PLAY, The New York Times

“A fast-paced fun ride…a delicious, perfectly prepared mixture.” —Boston Globe on POWER PLAY

“A bloody, rollicking thrill ride...the plot moves at light speed.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch on POWER PLAY

“The action is swift…keeps the plot bubbling and the pages turning.” —Wall Street Journal on POWER PLAY

“Thrilling. . . Start Power Play this afternoon and you'll have the nightstand lamp burning at bedtime.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on POWER PLAY

“A finely crafted excursion into the dark heart of executive-suite skullduggery...plenty of action and suspense.” —Forbes on POWER PLAY

“[A] masterpiece...strong plotting, memorable characterization...a readability quotient to the degree that it almost seems as if putting the book down at any point before finishing it is akin to a criminal act...A fabulous offering.” —Bookreporter.com on POWER PLAY

“Unstoppable.” —USA Today on KILLER INSTINCT

“Masterful.” —Houston Chronicle on KILLER INSTINCT

“Explosive…wickedly fun.” —Entertainment Weekly on KILLER INSTINCT

“Master of a complex suspense formula...flawlessly executed violence, crisp dialogue, and taut pacing.” —The New York Times Book Review on KILLER INSTINCT

“A first-rate thrill ride.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on KILLER INSTINCT

“A roller coaster of a read.” —Cosmopolitan on KILLER INSTINCT

“It starts off with a bang and doesn't slow down until the last page.” —Ottawa Sun on KILLER INSTINCT

With Vanished, author Joseph Finder launches a four-book thriller cycle featuring tough, smart, and stubborn Nick Heller. In this fierce series starter, Heller receives a late-night call from his nephew Gabe. The call qualifies as a four-alarm emergency: Nick's sister-in-law has been beaten into a coma, and his brother Roger, with whom he has never been on the best of terms, has vanished. Possibilities, all of them disquieting, flash across Heller's mind: Is Roger on the run or has he been kidnapped? Or is he somehow connected to the schemes that drained $12 billion from U.S. funds earmarked for Iraq? Whatever the high crime, Nick Heller is on the case, and he's using all his Special Forces and high-tech skills to solve it. Pulsing action; plausible detail.
Maureen Corrigan
This is a thriller to enjoy for its Washington locales, convincing familiarity with cutting-edge spy gadgetry and taut action scenes…Any thriller that uses Dean & Deluca's celebrated chocolate chip cookies as an investigatory tool deserves kudos for cleverness. What Vanished lacks in narrative coherence, it makes up for in invention.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Known for his stand-alones, bestseller Finder (Power Play) introduces Nick Heller, an elite corporate intelligence specialist and former Special Services badass, in this exciting series opener. After a frantic call from his 14-year-old nephew, Gabe, Heller returns home to Washington, D.C., from a job in California to find Gabe's mother in a coma and Gabe's stepfather, Roger, who is Heller's older brother, vanished without a trace. Though the brothers have been estranged since their father's much-publicized securities fraud conviction years earlier, Nick vows to protect Gabe and his mother and unravel the mystery of Roger's alleged abduction. The investigation leads him to some disturbing revelations about Roger, not the least of which involves a powerful-and dangerous-private military company. Written in staccato chapters that are emotionally supercharged and action packed, this thriller will more than satisfy adrenaline junkies and have them guessing until the very end. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Few recent thrillers have as many heart-skipping moments and as rousing a climax as Finder's (www.josephfinder.com) follow-up to Power Play (2007), also available from BBC Audiobooks America. When Special Forces-trained investigator Nick Heller's estranged brother, Roger, is kidnapped, Nick must face off against some of Washington's most powerful forces to find him. Narrator Holter Graham (www.holtergraham.com) puts his significant acting skills to work, especially in his voicing of the truly unique protagonist. The suspense never falters, and listeners will be pleased by the satisfying ending to this complex tale. [Includes a bonus interview with the author; the St. Martin's hc, published in August, was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—Joseph L. Carlson, Vandenberg Air Force Base Lib., Lompoc, CA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312946517
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
08/03/2010
Series:
Nick Heller Series, #1
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
377,356
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Vanished


By Joseph Finder

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2009 Joseph Finder
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-3566-1


CHAPTER 1

LOS ANGELES


It was a dark and stormy night.

Actually, it wasn't stormy. But it was dark and rainy and miserable and, for L.A., pretty damned cold. I stood in the drizzle at eleven o'clock at night, under the sickly yellow light from the high-pressure sodium lamps, wearing a fleece and jeans that were soaking wet and good leather shoes that were in the process of getting destroyed.

I'd had the shoes handmade in London for some ridiculous amount of money, and I made a mental note to bill my employer, Stoddard Associates, for the damage, just on general principle.

I hadn't expected rain. Though, as a putatively high-powered international investigator with a reputation for being able to see around corners, I supposed I could have checked Weather.com.

"That's the one," the man standing next to me grunted, pointing at a jet parked a few hundred feet away. He was wearing a long yellow rain slicker with a hood — he hadn't offered me one back in the office — and his face was concealed by shadows. All I could see was his bristly white mustache.

Elwood Sawyer was the corporate security director of Argon Express Cargo, a competitor of DHL and FedEx, though a lot smaller. He wasn't happy to see me, but I couldn't blame him. I didn't want to be here myself. My boss, Jay Stoddard, had sent me here at the last minute to handle an emergency for a new client I'd never heard of.

An entire planeload of cargo had vanished sometime in the last twenty-four hours. Someone had cleaned out one of their planes at this small regional airport south of L.A. Twenty thousand pounds of boxes and envelopes and packages that had arrived the previous day from Brussels. Gone.

You couldn't even begin to calculate the loss. Thousands of missing packages meant thousands of enraged customers and lawsuits up the wazoo. A part of the shipment belonged to one customer, Traverse Development Group, which had hired my firm to locate their cargo. They were urgent about it, and they weren't going to rely on some second-string cargo company to find it for them.

But the last thing Elwood Sawyer wanted was some high-priced corporate investigator from Washington, D.C., standing there in a pair of fancy shoes telling him how he'd screwed up.

The cargo jet he was pointing at stood solitary and dark and rain-slicked, gleaming in the airfield lights. It was glossy white, like all Argon cargo jets, with the company's name painted across the fuselage in bold orange Helvetica. It was a Boeing 727, immense and magnificent.

An airplane up close is a thing of beauty. Much more awe-inspiring than the view from inside when you're trapped with the seat of the guy in front of you tilted all the way back, crushing your knees. The jet was one of maybe twenty planes parked in a row on the apron nearby. Some of them, I guessed, were there for the weekend, some for the night, since the control tower closed at ten o'clock. There were chocks under their wheels and traffic cones around each one denoting the circle of safety.

"Let's take a look inside, Elwood," I said.

Sawyer turned to look at me. He had bloodshot basset-hound eyes with big saggy pouches beneath them.

"Woody," he said. He was correcting me, not trying to be friends.

"Okay. Woody."

"There's nothing to see. They cleaned it out." In his right hand he clutched one of those aluminum clipboards in a hinged box, the kind that truck drivers and cops always carry around.

"Mind if I take a look anyway? I've never seen the inside of a cargo plane."

"Mr. Keller —"

"Heller."

"Mr. Keller, we didn't hire you, and I don't have time to play tour guide, so why don't you go back to interviewing the ground crew while I try to figure out how someone managed to smuggle three truckloads of freight out of this airport without anyone noticing?"

He turned to walk back to the terminal, and I said, "Woody, look. I'm not here to make you look bad. We both want the same thing — to find the missing cargo. I might be able to help. Two heads are better than one, and all that."

He kept walking. "Uh-huh. Well, that's real thoughtful, but I'm kinda busy right now."

"Okay. So ... Mind if I use your name?" I said.

He stopped, didn't turn around. "For what?"

"My client's going to ask for a name. The guy at Traverse Development can be a vindictive son of a bitch." Actually, I didn't even know who at Traverse had hired my firm.

Woody didn't move.

"You know how these guys work," I said. "When I tell my client how Argon Express wasn't interested in any outside assistance, he's going to ask me for a name. Maybe he'll admire your independent spirit — that go-it-alone thing. Then again, maybe he'll just get pissed off so bad that they'll just stop doing business with you guys. No big deal to them. Then word gets around. Like maybe you guys were covering something up, right? Maybe there's the threat of a huge lawsuit. Pretty soon, Argon Express goes belly-up. And all because of you."

Woody still wasn't moving, but I could see his shoulders start to slump. The back of his yellow slicker was streaked with oil and grime.

"But between you and me, Woody, I gotta admire you for having the guts to tell Traverse Development where to get off. Not too many people have the balls to do that."

Woody turned around slowly. I don't think I'd ever seen anyone blink so slowly and with such obvious hostility. He headed toward the plane, and I followed close behind.


THERE WAS a hydraulic hum, and the big cargo door came open like the lift gate on a suburban minivan. Woody was standing in the belly of the plane. He gestured me inside with a weary flip of his hand.

He must have switched on an auxiliary power unit because the lights inside the plane were on, a series of naked bulbs in wire cages mounted on the ceiling. The interior was cavernous. You could see the rails where the rows of seats used to be. Just a black floor marked with red lines where the huge cargo containers were supposed to go, only there were no containers here. White windowless walls lined with some kind of papery white material.

I whistled. Totally bare. "The plane was full when it flew in?"

"Mmm-hmm. Twelve igloos."

" 'Igloos' are the containers, right?"

He walked over to the open cargo door. The rain was thrumming against the plane's aluminum skin. "Look for yourself."

A crew was loading another Argon cargo jet right next to us. They worked in that unhurried, efficient manner of a team that had done this a thousand times before. A couple of guys were pushing an immense container, eight or ten feet high and shaped like a child's drawing of a house, from the back of a truck onto the steel elevator platform of a K-loader. I counted seven guys. Two to push the igloo off the truck, two more to roll it onto the plane, another one to operate the K-loader. Two more guys whose main job seemed to be holding aluminum clipboards and shouting orders. The next jet down, another white Boeing but not one of theirs, was being refueled.

"No way you could get twelve containers off this plane without a crew of at least five," I said. "Tell me something. This plane got in yesterday, right? What took you so long to unload it?"

He sighed exasperatedly. "International cargo has to be inspected by U.S. Customs before we do anything. It's the law."

"That takes an hour or two at most."

"Yeah, normally. Weekends, Customs doesn't have the manpower. So they just cleared the crew to get off and go home. Sealed it up. Let it sit there until they had time to do an inspection."

"So while the plane was sitting here, anyone could have gotten inside. Looks like all the planes just sit here unattended all night. Anyone could climb into one."

"That's the way it works in airports around the world, buddy. If you're cleared to get onto the airfield, they figure you're supposed to be here. It's called the 'honest-man' system of security."

I chuckled. "That's a good one. I gotta use it sometime."

Woody gave me a look.

I paced along the plane's interior. There was a surprising amount of rust in the places where there was no liner or white paint. "How old is this thing?" I called out. My voice echoed. It seemed even colder in here than it was outside. The rain was pattering hypnotically on the plane's exterior.

"Thirty years easy. They stopped making the Boeing seven-twos in 1984, but most of them were made in the sixties and seventies. They're workhorses, I'm telling you. Long as you do the upkeep, they last forever."

"You guys buy 'em used or new?"

"Used. Everyone does. FedEx, DHL, UPS — we all buy used planes. It's a lot cheaper to buy an old passenger plane and have it converted into a cargo freighter."

"What does one of these cost?"

"Why? You thinking of going into the business?"

"Everyone has a dream."

He looked at me. It took him a few seconds to get that I was being sarcastic. "You can get one of these babies for three hundred thousand bucks. There's hundreds of them sitting in airplane boneyards in the desert. Like used-car lots."

I walked to the front of the plane. Mounted to the doorframe was the data plate, a small stainless-steel square the size of a cigarette pack. Every plane has one. They're riveted on by the manufacturer, and they're sort of like birth certificates. This one said THE BOEING COMPANY — COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE DIVISION — RENTON, WASHINGTON, and it listed the year of manufacture (1974) and a bunch of other numbers: the model and the serial number and so on.

I pulled out a little Maglite and looked closer and saw just what I expected to see.

I stepped back out onto the air stairs, the cold rain spritzing my face, and I reached out and felt the slick painted fuselage. I ran my hand over the Argon Express logo, felt something. A ridge. The paint seemed unusually thick.

Woody was watching me from a few feet away. My fingers located the lower left corner of the two-foot-tall letter A.

"You don't paint your logo on?" I asked.

"Of course it's painted on. What the hell —?"

It peeled right up. I tugged some more, and the entire logo — some kind of adhesive vinyl sticker — began to lift off.

"Check out the data plate," I said. "It doesn't match the tail number."

"That's — that's impossible!"

"They didn't just steal the cargo, Woody. They stole the whole plane."

CHAPTER 2

WASHINGTON


"I think I saw her eyelids move."

A woman's voice, distant and echoing, which worked itself into the fevered illogic of a dream.

Everything deep orange, the color of sunset. Murmured voices; a steady high-pitched beep.

Her eyelids wouldn't open. It felt as if her eyelashes had been glued together.

Against the blood orange sky, stars rushed at her. She was falling headlong through a sky crowded with stars. They dazzled and clotted into odd-shaped white clouds, and then the light became harsh and far too strong and needles of pain jabbed the backs of her eyeballs.

Her eyelashes came unstuck and fluttered like a bird's wings.

More high-pitched electronic beeps. Not regular anymore, but jumbled, a cacophony.

A man's voice: "Let's check an ionized calcium."

A clattering of something — dishes? Footsteps receding.

The man again: "Nurse, did that gas come back?"

The husky voice of another woman: "Janet, can you page Yurovsky now, please?"

Lauren said, "You don't have to shout."

"She made a sound. Janet, would you please page Yurovsky now?"

She tried again to speak, but then gave up the effort, let her eyelids close, the lashes gumming back together. The needles receded. She became aware of another kind of pain, deep and throbbing, at the back of her head. It pulsed in time to her heartbeat, rhythmically sending jagged waves of pain to a little spot just behind her forehead and above her eyes.

"Ms. Heller," said the man, "if you can hear me, say something, will you?"

"What do you want, I'm shouting!" Lauren said at the top of her voice.

"Now I see it," one of the female voices said. "Like she's trying to talk. I don't know what she said."

"I think she said 'Ow.'"

"The doctor's on rounds right now," one of the women said.

"I don't care what he's doing." The husky-voiced woman. "I don't care if he's in the medical supply closet screwing a nurse. If you don't page him right this second, I will."

Lauren smiled, or at least she thought she did.


SHE FELT a hard pinch on her neck.

"Hey!" she protested.

Her eyelids flew open. The light was unbearably bright, just as painful, but everything was gauzy and indistinct, like there was a white scrim over everything. She wondered whether she'd fallen back asleep for several hours.

A hulking silhouette loomed, came close, then pulled back.

A male voice: "Well, she's responding to painful stimuli."

Yeah, I'll show you a painful stimulus, Lauren thought but couldn't say.

Actually, two silhouettes, she realized. She couldn't focus, though. Everything was strangely hazy, like every time you saw Lucille Ball in that dreadful movie version of Mame. Lauren had played the snooty Gloria Upson in the Charlottesville High School production of Auntie Mame, and she'd seen the Rosalind Russell movie countless times, but couldn't stand the Lucy one.

"Mrs. Heller, I'm Dr. Yurovsky. Can you hear me?"

Lauren considered replying, then decided not to bother. Too much effort. The words weren't coming out the way she wanted.

"Mrs. Heller, if you can hear me, I'd like you to wiggle your right thumb."

That she definitely didn't feel like doing. She blinked a few times, which cleared her vision a little.

Finally, she was able to see a man with a tall forehead and long chin, elongated like the man in the moon. Or like a horse. The face came slowly into focus, as if someone were turning a knob. A hooked nose, receding hair. His face was tipped in toward hers. He wore a look of intent concern.

She wiggled her right thumb.

"Mrs. Heller, do you know where you are?"

She tried to swallow, but her tongue was a big woolen sock. No saliva. My breath must reek, she thought.

"I'm guessing it's a hospital." Her voice was croaky.

She looked up. A white dropped ceiling with a rust stain on one of the panels, which didn't inspire confidence. Blue privacy curtains hung from a U-shaped rail. She wasn't in a private room. Some kind of larger unit, with a lot of beds: an ICU, maybe. A bag of clear liquid sagged on a metal stand, connected by a tube to her arm.

An immense bouquet of white lilies in a glass florist's vase on the narrow table next to her bed. She craned her neck just enough to see that they were calla lilies, her favorites. A lightning bolt of pain shot through her eyes. She groaned as she smiled.

"From Roger?"

A long pause. Someone whispered something. "From your boss."

Leland, she thought, smiling inwardly. That's just like him. She wondered who had ordered the flowers for him.

And how he knew what had happened to her.

She adjusted the thin blanket. "My head hurts," she said. She felt something lumpy under the blanket, on top of her belly. Pulled it out. A child's Beanie Baby: a yellow giraffe with orange spots and ugly Day-Glo green feet. It was tattered and soiled. Tears welled in her eyes.

"Your son dropped that off this morning," a woman said in a soft, sweet voice.

She turned. A nurse. She thought: This morning? That meant it wasn't morning anymore. She was confused; she'd lost all track of time.

Gabe's beloved Jaffee — as a toddler, he couldn't say "Giraffiti," the name printed on the label. Actually, neither could she. Too cute by half.

"Where is he?"

"Your son is fine, Mrs. Heller."

"Where is he?"

"I'm sure he's at home in bed. It's late."

"What — time is it?"

"It's two in the morning."

She tried to look at the nurse, but turning her head escalated the pain to a level nearly unendurable. How long had she been out? She remembered glancing at her watch just before they got back to the car, seeing 10:28. Almost ten thirty at night on Friday. The attack came not long after that. She tried to do the math. Four hours? Less: three and a half?

Lauren drew breath. "Wait — when did Gabe come by? You said — you said, 'this morning' — but what time is it —?"

"As I said, just after two in the morning."

"On Saturday?"

"Sunday. Sunday morning, actually. Or Saturday night, depending on how you look at it."

Her brain felt like sludge, but she knew the nurse had to be wrong. "Saturday morning, you mean."

The nurse shook her head, then looked at the horse-faced doctor, who said, "You've been unconscious for more than twenty-four hours. Maybe longer. It would help us if you knew approximately what time the attack took place."

"Twenty-four ... hours? Where's — where's Roger?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Vanished by Joseph Finder. Copyright © 2009 Joseph Finder. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author


Joseph Finder is the author of several New York Times bestselling thrillers, including Buried Secrets, High Crimes,Paranoia and the first Nick Heller novel, Vanished. Killer Instinct won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Thriller, and Company Man won the Barry and Gumshoe Awards for Best Thriller. High Crimes was the basis of the Morgan Freeman/Ashley Judd movie, and Paranoia was the basis for 2013 film with Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman. Born in Chicago, Finder studied Russian at Yale and Harvard. He was recruited by the CIA, but decided he preferred writing fiction. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Association for Former Intelligence Officers, he lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Vanished 3.8 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 218 reviews.
Brian_Baker More than 1 year ago
Joseph Finder - the talented author of such novels as "High Crimes" and "The Moscow Club" - enters the arena of the continuing-character series with the introduction of Nick Heller in his latest offering "Vanished". Nick Heller's an ex-Special Forces veteran of Bosnia and Iraq, with unique skills he now uses as an investigator for an executive-level "consulting" firm that specializes in solving "problems" for major corporations and other elite clients. Nick's older brother Roger has vanished, the apparent victim of a crime in which Roger's wife Lauren was beaten into a near coma. When summoned by a frantic phone call from Lauren's son Gabe, Nick determines to find his brother at all costs, and as he delves into the case he finds himself exploring a labyrinthine conspiracy involving massive sums of money embezzled from the war zone, corporate takeovers, and the world of modern day mercenary soldiers also known as "civilian contractors". Nick's a good character for a series: charming, just the right amount of insolence, and tough enough to do the job. He's somewhat along the lines of Elvis Cole, without the Joe Pike backup. I look forward to following his further adventures. But there were a few problems with this book that prevent that fifth star. First of all, the "conspiracy" was just a tad TOO involved and intricate, making it hard to follow through the story, and a bit outside the credibility limits, at least for me. Too many of the characters were hard to keep straight without a scorecard. I kept finding myself going: "Huh? Which guy was this again?". When we find out about the involvement of one of the characters (can't be more specific without revealing a major spoiler), it was so glossed over - especially as to consequences for that character - that it was a major dissonance. But in many cases, first entries of continuing series aren't the best, as the characters (and style) develop over time in subsequent books. The first Bob Lee Swagger novel ("Point of Impact") is very different from his later - and more refined - efforts. The same can be said of the Jack Reacher, Elvis Cole, Mitch Rapp, Lucas Davenport, and Harry Bosch novels. So, good entertainment, looking forward to more of this character, a solid four stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the Joseph Finder novels and am a huge Jack Reacher fan. Nick Heller, the protagonist, is right up there with the best. This is a very enjoyable escapist read with a terrific hero in Nick Heller. There is a neat twist to the plot and it appears Heller will feature in future books. Vanished and Power Play are two of his best books and will give several hours of pleasure to its readers.
taurusmoon More than 1 year ago
Joseph Finder did follow the hero rulebook with the creation of Nick Heller: Special Forces background (check) Troubled childhood (check) Has trouble with authority (check) Can punch his way out of a situation (check) Loner (check) Cracks cynical jokes when a pistol is pointed at his face (check) Tough guy with a good heart (check) What sets Nick Heller apart from the others is that Finder places him in a business environment (Heller is a corporate investigator). Heller isn't fighting against a corrupt politician with his own personal agenda or terrorists groups whose goals are to tear down the government. No, Nick Heller isn't scuffling with Bob the accountant, tossing paperclips at each other in the break room either--that would have been boring. Heller does face off with well-trained, well-armed private security personnel and must locate the individuals responsible for the abduction his older brother. There's plenty of action, suspense, good humor and mystery to satisfy everyone. The book is a quick read and Heller is a likable character. I'm looking forward to reading the further adventures of Nick Heller.
sixtyplus More than 1 year ago
Best Finder novel yet. Compelling, fast moving. Kept me turning the page far into the night. Full of action and suspense. You'll think you know what is coming next. However, it twists and turns and you guess wrong. The secrets keep piling up and it actually makes the pulse pound. Excellent thriller.
Larryb52 More than 1 year ago
Top notch reading for any mystery buff & I just couldn't sit this down on the last 150 pages or so. Lots of twists & turns and some very good character development. Written in 1st person narrative and is an exciting read with good action... tops Power Play IMHO by a small a margin, nice start to a series...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Usually I can figure out who did it at least half-way through the book. With this one, I was surprised time and time again. I definitely want to get the next book that has Nick Heller as the good guy trying to figure out what in the world is going on. I loved that he was so concerned about his brother's family and was willing to do anything to help them, even when the plot thickened and some of the family was more involved than expected. This is my first book of Joseph Finder and I will probably read more of his books as time goes on.
Robin Skinner More than 1 year ago
Modern Agatha Christie that has you analyzing each step and doesn't reveal anything more than what the main character knows. Keeps you trying to ffigure out the end game up till the last pages. Hope to see Nick Heller again. NewPortlandFan
GiovanniG More than 1 year ago
Last Sunday, I shared with you a series of novels I thought would make you laugh and cringe at the same time. This week I have a novel for you that have recently been released in paperback, Joseph Finder's Vanished. To say I am a fan is an understatement. I have read all his novels and always look forward to the next. So, if you wish, click off here, thinking I am a homer, see you tomorrow, maybe. Me being the Yankees fan I was raised to be, always can find something wrong with things in Boston,haha. Vanished is an absorbing read. I am consistently amazed by the element of detail that Joseph Finder adds to his novels. It sets him apart from others in the genre and he seems to raise his game with each new novel. The plot line of Vanished has us experiencing the collision of three fractured, damaged people, in a father and his two sons. The force and speed to which Finder narrates the story puts them on a course that would seemingly find them in an atom smasher. I personally enjoyed the whole thing. Reading about a fast moving train wreck and being an innocent bystander isn't a bad thing when there are no real life fatalities. I am hard pressed to name more than a handful of authors that are in Joseph Finders stratus in this genre. Getting a novel of his that one has not read is truly a pleasure. If you haven't discovered him for whatever reason, do yourself a favor and pick up any of his many titles. Here are a few: Paranoia, Power Play, Killer Instinct, Company Man, No Hiding Place. I don't hesitate to say to put them in your Goodreads or Shelfari -to read - lists. FYI- for Finder fans , if you didn't know, he is one of the contributing authors of a short story to the Agents of Treachery novel that was recently released. You can check our archives for my thoughts on that. Joseph Finder's newest novel, Buried Secrets, is due out in the spring of 2011, which I look forward to reading. What are you reading today? Check us out and become our friend on Facebook & Linkedin. Go to Goodreads and become our friend there and suggest books for us to read and post on. You can also follow us on Twitter, and the Gelati's Scoop Facebook Fan Page. Did you know you can shop directly on Amazon by clicking the Gelati's Store Tab on our blog? Thanks for stopping by today; We will see you tomorrow. Have a great day. http://www.gelatisscopp.blogspot.com
SHARON39 More than 1 year ago
I don't usually read this kind of book but I started the first few pages out of curiosity. I was immediately captivated with the storyline and couldn't stop reading. I enjoyed the Washington, D.C. background because I live near there and it kept my heart pounding as I tetered on the edge of my seat all the way through. Fascinating facts along the way...great imagination....Finder is a terrific writer! Well worth your time! Another book I thoroughly enjoyed recently, but it's more of a woman's book, but just as suspenseful and exciting, is EXPLOSION IN PARIS by PIRRUNG. Another book well worth your time!! EXPLOSION IN PARIS
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insanepoet65 More than 1 year ago
I love thrillers. I have usually shied away from “Corporate Thrillers” but thanks to Joseph Finder, my views have changed.  This is the first book in the Nick Heller series. He is called by his nephew to look into the attack on his mother and the disappearance of his father. Nick in an investigator for Stoddard Associates and he is the best at what he does. Sometimes the problem is he is too good at what he does. He looks for answers even after the job is done. He is going to need every bit of his curiosity, wit, and muscle to figure out what happened to his brother. This book should come with a warning label. WARNING: DO NOT START IF YOU HAVE PLANS FOR THE EVENING. It is almost like the pages are potato chips because you are not happy with just one. You will get sucked into this book and the pages will fly by to a satisfying conclusion. If you have a stack of books waiting for you to read (like I do), put this one at the top of your list!
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RonnaL More than 1 year ago
VANISHED by Joseph Finder is the first thrilling Nick Heller mystery.  Nick is former Special Services turned corporate intelligence specialist.  He's also, one of two sons of a ruthless white collar, money maker spending the final years of his life in jail.  Nick was working on a case involving billions of dollars of stolen illegal money, when his 14 year old nephew, Gabe,  called asking for help. Gabe's Mom has been attacked and is in the hospital, and Gabe's Dad is missing.  Nick flys immediately to Washington, D.C., to help his brother's family. As I've found Joseph Finder's other books to be, there are a number of seemingly unrelated paths being investigated at the same time, that keep his readers thoroughly involved in the story.  This story is deeply immersed in companies and government issues that fit right into our present national and international history,  Greed, lies, misplaced trust, misused intelligence, and family loyalties drive this mystery deep, hard and fast.  Finder definitely knows how to develop scenes with descriptions that push the thrills of his novels into heart racing reading! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in two days. I enjoyed it all the way but I felt a little disappointed at the end.. it ended up so predictable instead of a surprising twist. On the other hand I enjoy Joseph Finder's way of writing. Full of humor and combines thrilling story with funny comments and dialogues. I had fun except for the ending part. Still recommended.
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