Reviewed by Tracy L. Karol
Tracy Karol "tracylkarol.com" (Texas) - See all my reviews Vanished I like Joseph Finder. I first read him with "Paranoia" as a Kindle freebie, and that pushed me to buy "Power Play," which I thought was even better. "Vanished" is written several years later (I'm catching up) but I decided to buy it anyway. I do wish I'd waited a few days as I kept watching the Kindle price and it hovered at 12.22. Right after I finished the book it went down to 9.99. Oh well; it was still worth the money. Apparently Finder plans this to be the first in a series featuring Nick Heller, a former special forces soldier who now works for a corporate security firm. Nick is an interesting guy. He reminds me a bit of Jack Reacher, but only in his military background and his, for want of a better word, aloneness. He is stubborn and determined to do the right thing and do it himself. Other than that, he's really not like any of the current crop of heroes (he's no Mitch Rapp or Elvis Cole type, for instance). Finder has created his own unique character, which I like. Nick grew up rich, with an older brother who was smart but geeky and a father who was a crook. Think Madoff. The old man is still in prison and is famous for his crimes. The two brothers don't get along well, but Nick likes his brother, Roger's, wife, Lauren, and her son. For their sakes he makes an effort to be around. One night after dinner Roger is kidnapped and Lauren is attacked. While Lauren is in the hospital, her son calls Nick for help. There has been no ransom demand; Roger has simply vanished. The book is very intense and interesting. Roger and Lauren work for the same company, where apparently they met, and Roger makes a good living but is unhappy that he isn't doing better. Lauren is assistant to the CEO. It soon becomes obvious that Roger may be complicit, at least in some way, with his own abduction -- either by helping the abductors or by getting himself into a situation in which he was way over his head (following in his father's footsteps). Soon Nick is investigating a government/defense contractor, Paladin, that might have Roger. I don't want to give more away, but the good guys and the bad guys are not who they seem (I guessed one but was off on most of the others). "Vanished" has twists and suspense to thrill any reader of suspense fiction. I look forward to seeing how Finder works the kinks out and develops the characters in the next installment. I think he will only get better, and Nick Heller will join the ranks of Jack Reacher and others as some of my favorite series characters.