Buried Secrets (Nick Heller Series #2)

Buried Secrets (Nick Heller Series #2)

by Joseph Finder

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Buried Secrets (Nick Heller Series #2) by Joseph Finder

Joseph Finder introduced Nick Heller, a "private spy" who finds out things powerful people want to keep hidden, to widespread acclaim from the critics and wild enthusiasm from the readers, in the New York Times bestselling novelVanished. Now, in Buried Secrets, Nick Heller returns, finding himself in the middle of a life-or-death situation that's both high-profile and intensely personal.

Nick has returned to his old home town of Boston to set up his own shop. There he's urgently summoned by an old family friend. Hedge fund titan Marshall Marcus desperately needs Nick's help. His teenaged daughter, Alexa, has just been kidnapped. Her abduction was clearly a sophisticated professional job, done with extraordinary precision. Alexa, whom Nick has known since she was young, is now buried alive, held prisoner in an underground crypt, a camera trained on her, her suffering streaming live over the internet. She's been left with a limited supply of food and water and, if her father doesn't meet the demands of her shadowy kidnappers, she'll die. And as Nick begins to probe, he discovers that all is not quite right with Marshall Marcus's business. He's being investigated by the FBI, he has a lot of shady investors, his fund is in danger and now he has a lot of powerful enemies who may have the motivation to go after Marcus's daughter. But to find out who's holding Alexa Marcus hostage, Nick has to find out why. Once he does, he uncovers an astonishing conspiracy that reaches far beyond anything he could have imagined. And if he's going to find Alexa in time, he will have to flush out and confront some of his deadliest opponents ever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250000361
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/03/2012
Series: Nick Heller Series , #2
Pages: 483
Sales rank: 149,116
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.50(d)

About 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.

Read an Excerpt



If this was what a prison was like, Alexa Marcus thought, I could totally live here. Like, forever.

She and Taylor Armstrong, her best friend, were standing in a long line to get into the hottest bar in Boston. The bar was called Slammer, and it was in a luxury hotel that used to be a jail. They’d even kept the bars in the windows and the huge central rotunda ringed with catwalks, that whole cell-block effect.

She was checking out this bunch of guys behind her who looked like MIT frat boys trying too hard to be cool: the untucked shirts, the cheap blazers, all that product in their hair, the toxic fumes of their Axe body spray. They’d stumble home at two in the morning, puking on the bridge to Cambridge, bitching about how all the girls at Slammer were skanks.

“I’m loving the smoky eye,” Taylor said, studying Alexa’s eye makeup. “See? It looks amazing on you!”

“It took me like an hour,” Alexa said. The fake eyelashes, the black gel eyeliner and charcoal eye shadow: She looked like a hooker who’d been beat up by her pimp.

“Takes me like thirty seconds,” Taylor said. “Now look at you—you’re this totally hot babe instead of a suburban prepster.”

“I’m so not suburban,” Alexa protested. She glanced over at a couple of skinny Euro-looking guys smoking and talking on their mobile phones. Cute but maybe gay? “Dad lives in Manchester.” She’d almost said, “I live in Manchester,” but she no longer thought of the great rambling house she grew up in as her home, not since Dad had married that gold-digger flight attendant, Belinda. She hadn’t lived at home in almost four years, since going away to Exeter.

“Yeah, okay,” Taylor said. Alexa caught her tone. Taylor always had to let you know she was a city kid. She’d grown up in a townhouse on Beacon Hill, in Louisburg Square—her dad was a United States senator—and considered herself urban and therefore cooler and more street-smart than anyone else. Plus, the last three years she’d been in rehab, attending the Marston-Lee Academy, the tough-love “therapeutic boarding school” in Colorado where the senator had sent her to get cleaned up.

Good luck with that.

Every time Taylor came back to Boston on break, she was rocking some different Girls Gone Wild look. Last year she’d dyed her hair jet black and had bangs. Tonight it was the skintight black liquid leggings, the oversized gray sheer tee over the black lace bra, the studded booties. Whereas Alexa, less adventurous, was wearing her ink skinny jeans and her tan Tory Burch leather jacket over a tank top. Okay, not as fashion-forward as Taylor, but no way was it suburban.

“Oh God,” Alexa murmured as the line drew closer to the bouncer.

“Just relax, okay, Lucia?” Taylor said.

“Lucia—?” Alexa began, and then she remembered that “Lucia” was the name on her fake ID. Actually, it was a real ID, just not hers—she was seventeen, and Taylor had just turned eighteen, and the drinking age was twenty-one, which was way stupid. Taylor had bought Alexa’s fake ID off an older girl.

“Just look the bouncer in the eye and be casual,” Taylor said. “You’re totally fine.”

*   *   *

TAYLOR WAS right, of course.

The bouncer didn’t even ask to see their IDs. When they entered the hotel lobby, Alexa followed Taylor to the old-fashioned elevator, the kind that had an arrow that pointed to the floor it was on. The elevator door opened, and an iron accordion gate slid aside. Taylor got in along with a bunch of others. Alexa hesitated, slipped in, shuddered—God, she hated elevators!—and just as the accordion gate was knifing closed, she blurted out, “I’ll take the stairs.”

They met up on the fourth floor and managed to snag a couple of big cushy chairs. A waitress in a halter top so skimpy you could see the flower tattoo below her armpit took their order: a couple of Ketel One vodka sodas.

“Check out the girls on the bar,” Taylor shouted. Models in black leather butt-baring shorts and black leather vests were parading around on top of the bar like it was a catwalk.

One of the MIT frat boys tried to mack on them, but Taylor blew the guy off: “Yeah, I’ll give you a call—next time I need tutoring in like differential calculus.”

Alexa felt Taylor’s eyes on her.

“Hey, what’s wrong, kid? You’ve been acting all depressed since you got here.”

“I’m fine.”

“You think maybe you need to change meds or something?”

Alexa shook her head. “Dad’s just, I don’t know, being all weird.”

“Nothing new about that.”

“But like he’s all paranoid all of a sudden? He just had these surveillance cameras put in, all around the house?”

“Well, he is like the richest guy in Boston. Or one of the richest—”

“I know, I know,” Alexa interrupted, not wanting to hear it. She’d spent her entire life dealing with being a rich kid: having to play down the money so her friends didn’t feel jealous. “But it’s not his normal control-freak mode, you know? It’s more like he’s scared something’s going to happen.”

“Try living with a father who’s a friggin’ United States senator.”

Taylor had started to look uncomfortable. She rolled her eyes, shook her head dismissively, looked around the now-crowded bar. “I need another drink,” she said. She called the waitress over and asked for a dirty martini. “How about you?” she asked Alexa.

“I’m good.” The truth was, she hated hard liquor, especially vodka. And gin was the worst. How could anyone voluntarily drink that stuff? It was like chugging turpentine.

Alexa’s iPhone vibrated, so she took it out and read the text. A friend at some rager in Allston, telling her it was epic and she should come over. Alexa texted back sorry. Then, abruptly, she said, “Oh my God, oh my God, did I ever show you this?” She flicked through her iPhone applications until she came to one she’d just downloaded, launched it, held the iPhone to her mouth. When she talked into it, her words came out high pitched and weird, like one of the Chipmunks: “Hey, babe, wanna come back to my dorm and take off our clothes and do some algebra?”

Taylor squealed. “What is that?” She tried to grab the phone, but Alexa yanked it away, swiped the screen and started speaking in the creepy voice of Gollum from The Lord of the Rings: “Must have preciousssss!”

Taylor shrieked, and they both laughed so hard that tears came to their eyes. “See—you’re feeling better already, right?” said Taylor.

“May I join you?” A male voice.

Alexa looked up, saw a guy standing there. Not one of the frat boys, though. Definitely not. This one had dark hair and brown eyes, a day’s growth of beard, and he was totally a babe. Black shirt with white pinstripes, narrow waist, broad shoulders.

Alexa smiled, blushed—she couldn’t help it—and looked at Taylor.

“Do we know you?” Taylor said.

“Not yet,” the guy said, flashing a dazzling smile. Late twenties, early thirties, maybe? Hard to tell. “My friends ditched me. They went to a party in the South End I don’t feel like going to.” He had some kind of Spanish accent.

“There’s only two chairs,” Taylor said.

He said something to a couple seated next to them, slid a vacant chair over. Extended a hand to shake Taylor’s, then Alexa’s.

“I’m Lorenzo,” he said.


Copyright © 2011 by Joseph Finder

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Buried Secrets 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
MerleG More than 1 year ago
Just when you thought he was at the very top of his game, Joseph Finder rocks the thriller world again with yet another best seller-to-be in BURIED SECRETS (June 21, 2011) All fears that you could possibly imagine are rolled into one emotion-packed page turner, as a rebellious teen named Alexa is kidnapped by a ruthless killer and buried alive in a coffin....ten feet underground. A video camera mounted over her head allows her distraught father, Marshall Marcus, and the reader to witness every terrifying, anguished moment of Alexa's torurous experiences. Nick Heller, hero of Joseph Finder's latest best-seller, Vanished, is asked by Marshall Marcus, a friend of his father, Victor Heller, for his help in finding his daughter. As the reader experiences in very vivid detail, the horror of Alexa's captivity, the mental and emotional torture that is inflicted on her by her deranged captor, Nick races against time, to put together pieces of the puzzle to find and save Alexa before it is too late. If you have claustrophobia, this book will leave you gasping for air...if you don't have claustrophobia, before the end of the story, you will! Buried Secrets is going to take you on one "HELLer" a ride!
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy books by James Patterson or James Rollins, then you will definitely like this novel. The beginning is a bit familiar. Rich girl gets drugged, kidnapped, and buried alive, while waiting for her wealthy father to pay up. But it turns out the kidnappers are not asking for money. The hero, Nick Heller, presently working out of Boston after leaving a high profile job with a D.C. company, is a slick investigator ready for almost any eventuality. When Nick gets a call from an old family friend saying that his daughter is missing, he doesn't hesitate. The author takes this premise and runs with it. Providing us with plenty of twists and action to keep us glued to the pages till we find out just who the kidnappers are and what they really want. I especially liked the author's gradual development of the character Dragomir. Slowly adding layer upon layer to the evil nemesis.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just before readong this book I have read Joseph Finder's "Vanished". I'm glad I did because it made me easily know Nick Heller's background. This book is far better than Vanished I must say. A real page turner all they way to the end. I love the way he writes with humor especially his funny comments and descriptions over almost anyone or anything. My favorite writer is John Grisham no matter what but I sure consider now that Joseph Finder will be one of the legal thrillers I will always follow. Stay funny Joseph. Good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joseph Finder writes the best intrigue books. Hooks you from the start and keeps you up nights. Enjoyed the mystery and the way the plot and characters kept evolving.
Reads_Alot_Reviews More than 1 year ago
I was very skeptical when I read the cover flap of BURIED SECRETS. I didn't know if I could read a storyline about a kidnapped girl that as buried alive for ransom. Just a chilly feeling. But Joseph Finder did a great job making me feel uncomfortable but not claustiphobic. I always root for his heroine Nick Heller. And fortunately you know that everyone is going to make it out alive, although there were some twists to who got killed. Another great Joseph Finder.
bobbewig More than 1 year ago
Whenever I read a Joseph Finder thriller -- and I've now read all eleven of them -- the only question for me is HOW good will it be; it has never been an issue of will it be good. Regarding Buried Secrets, my answer is that it is a VERY good book and it serves to foster my opinion of Finder as one of the best of the best of today's thriller writers. Buried Secrets is the second book in the series featuring Nick Heller, a former high-powered private intelligence company operative with Special Forces training who has now gone "private." In this book Heller is hired to find the kidnapped teenage daughter of a family friend, who happens to be a billionaire hedge find titan (think Bernie Madoff-type). The girl's captors are very canny and ruthless, but Heller -- with the help of his tech expert employee, Dorothy, and ex-lover, FBI special agent, Diana Madigan -- is able to force his way through layers of deception and manipulation to uncover the buried secrets behind her kidnapping. Without going into more detail, let me just say that in addition to its suspenseful and exciting plot, Buried Secrets has all the other important ingredients that should keep you glued to your seat from beginning to end -- interesting and credible characters, realistic dialogue and a fast-paced writing style. To be honest, however, Buried Secrets is not flawless but the few flaws it has are too unimportant with which to take up your time. All in all, if you haven't heard of Buried Secrets, I hope this review lets the secret out of the bag for you.
PattiBascomb More than 1 year ago
"Buried Secrets" by Joseph Finder 'Nightstand Book Reviews' by Patti Phillips What's the definition of a 5-star book? "Buried Secrets," by Joseph Finder. Totally, slam-dunk, 5-star thriller! Ratings can be subjective, but I think everyone would agree that certain elements are apparent in each reader's choice for a 5-star book, whatever the genre. 5-star books have characters so compelling that it's impossible to forget them. Nick Heller is a former intelligence officer with Special Forces background. Heller is excellent at uncovering secrets, is loyal to his family and friends and has an ache in his heart for an old FBI flame. He has a secretary who can hack into anything and contacts going way back. And a look that you defy at your own peril. Even Heller is not always immune to 'the look.' A family friend, evasive billionaire Marshall Marcus, asks for Nick's help when his daughter, Alexa, is kidnapped. Alexa is a troubled, intelligent teenager with an earlier kidnapping experience that colors her fear of small spaces. This time, she has been buried alive with limited food and water. Finder has drawn Alexa so well that I felt her terror as she pushed against the coffin, as she tried to stay calm and lost it, as she pleaded for release, as she screamed. 5-star books can't be put down until the last word is read. I carried "Buried Secrets" everywhere. I read it while waiting in line, while eating. I just couldn't abandon Heller while he dealt with the constantly lying father, the rule conscious FBI, the sick kidnappers, the layers of secrets, the pulse-pounding race against time. A 5-star book makes me want to buy the author's next book or backlist title right away. I purchased "Vanished," the first Nick Heller novel, the day after I finished "Buried Secrets." Joseph Finder has several award winning titles to his name, as well as "High Crimes," upon which the Freeman/Judd movie of the same name was based. I'm going to read them all. A 5-star book pushes 'tell-all' buttons. I wanted to tell everyone about it. I gushed about compelling characterization and riveting storylines, achieved realistically. A 5-star book is saved, whether on an e-reader or in hardcover, so that it can be relished, studied and enjoyed again. My copy is a hardcover edition. Best thriller I've read in a long time!
Suspensemag More than 1 year ago
What secret could be so important it might cost a girl's life? In Finder's latest mystery, ex-intelligent operative Nick Heller seeks to answer this question. With a cast of expected characters (the rich man in dire straits with a closet full of skeletons, the terrified innocent teenager, the ruthless bad guy and an array of contacts, each with his or her own specialty) "Buried Secrets" takes you down a path strewn with corruption, lies and mortal danger. Along the way, layer by layer, you discover revelations for which some people will kill. Nick Heller is hired by billionaire Marcus Marshall to rescue his kidnapped seventeen-year-old daughter. Right away, Heller knows he isn't being told the entire truth. Marshall, a friend of Heller's family, has gotten into some bad dealings with some very nasty individuals and somebody wants a piece of highly important information apparently only Marshall can provide. With the assistance of computer gurus and a "sort of" ex-girlfriend working for the local branch of the FBI, Heller slowly tracks both the location of the girl and the individuals behind the kidnapping. The mystery deepens when Heller uncovers secrets nobody should have and a sociopath starts playing by his own rules. This starts as your average kidnapping mystery and if it continued along the same vein with a few common surprises thrown in, I was going to be disappointed. Heller is not your typical detective. He's also not the know-it-all. He's had special-forces training, but possesses very little computer savvy. A little witty, dedicated and determined, he can think logically, but most of his knowledge is obtained from his many contacts. I hoped the story would rise up to the level warranting the intensity shown by the kidnappers. I hoped the story would give reasons for the tempering of the serious situations with bits of dry humor. If you're a fan of Finder's previous work, you'll hope this one holds up to your standards. It does. Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, author of "Beta" for Suspense Magazine
Zot79 More than 1 year ago
This thriller is about as fine as they get. It has a gripping plot, interesting and distinct characters, unexpected twists, and realistic action. The clock is ticking from the very first page and doesn't let up until the satisfying end. The story is told from both the first person and third person limited points of view. But the reader is never confused about why or where they are. The setting is, for the most part, confined to a few locations in the immediate vicinity of Boston--unusual for a thriller these days, which tend to range a bit wider afield. Perhaps it was done this way to emphasize the confined world of the buried girl. It works. The prose is smooth and easy on the inner ear. This is a great summer read.
Alla_S More than 1 year ago
"Buried secrets" by Joseph Finder is the second book where Nick Heller (the first was "Vanished") tries to uncover a crime and find a missing person. The missing person in this book is Alexa Marcus-the carefree daughter of a Boston billionaire, who disappears after she gets drunk in a nightclub and is given a ride by a handsome stranger. Nick's suspicion immediately falls on Alexa's best friend Taylor, who was also present at the nightclub that night and introduced Alexa to the stranger. Also suspicious is Alexa's father Marshall Marcus, who has the FBI after him and is obviously not telling Nick something. Marshall's young wife Belinda, Alexa's stepmother, is no better-claiming she loves Alexa, while Nick's own nephew Gabriel-a friend of Alexa's--claims she always hated her. Then there's David Schechter, Marshall Marcus's lawyer and an acquaintance of Taylor's family-a man who knows more secrets than he lets up. As Alexa winds up buried alive, while some strange files are demanded from her father, the succession of shady characters continues. I thought the setup of the story works well. Overall, it was an engrossing read.
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
Alexa Marcus, the teenage daughter of multimillionaire Marshall Marcus is kidnapped and Marshall asks old family friend Nick Heller to find her before she is killed. Nick pulls no stops in trying to locate the young girl who is buried alive with time running out. The ransom demand is something that Marshall cannot or will not give to the kidnappers. This fast paced story is so intense that you won't want to put it down. I couldn't help but wonder if Nick would be to save the girl and the day! A truly powerful read with twists that you won't know who to trust or believe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the Heller character. Understated and effective.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr Finder is one of a handful of writters that I don't bother to read what it's about! Just when you think he is at the top of his game, he delivers another outstanding book. Many twists and turns. Warning: Once you start, be prepared to read long into the night. Highly recommend!!!!!!!
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