"The Fixer" starts by introducing the reader to Rick Hoffman, a former investigative reporter who sold out to write puff pieces for a ritzy magazine. Unfortunately, he has just lost his kooshy job, gorgeous apartment and beautiful fiancé. With no real choices, he moves back into his father's old house. His lawyer father had a stoke eighteen years ago and is now in a nursing home, leaving his home to become dilapidated and uncared for. Rick takes advantage of the fact it's a free place to live and he thinks if he renovates the old house he may be able to sell it and get back on his feet.
With the help of his next door neighbor Jeff, Rick rips apart an upstairs closet to see just what damage might be behind the home's walls. What Rick finds isn't the squirrels he expects but a huge pile of money. Now Rick has to figure out where the money came from and who owns it. In the process he will discover that he didn't know his father at all and as Rick digs deeper into the mystery of who his father was and where the money came from, his life will hang in the balance. The question Rick has to ask himself is whether the truth is worth the price.
I found, in the end I really liked the book but it took time for me to get over my initial dislike of the main character, Rick. In the beginning he's portrayed as an incredibly superficial and annoyingly self centered man. But the author also says Rick was unusually bright and it was thought he'd become the next great investigative reporter. But Rick lives an unexamined life; he has ended up where he never wanted to be all because his love of what having money and fame does for him. Even losing his position in society along with his posh job and fiancé doesn't deter Rick from coveting the money in his father's house. The main character puts himself in grave danger as he tries desperately to hide the money.
The problem that I had with the first part of the book is that Rick seems to leave his brain in his pocket and ignore the obvious dangers around him. It is only as the reader gets to the second part of the book does Rick start to use the brains God gave him. This is the turning point in the book that made the mystery enjoyable. But because of the disconnect with the main character from the first half to the second half of the book, I have to only give "The Fixer" three out of five stars. If you're a fan of Joseph Finder you'll still enjoy this book, I just wouldn't start with this one if you're a first time reader of him, he did better with "Suspicion". Don't get me wrong, by the end of the book I thought the mystery had become a four star, it is brought down by the first half.
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