Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Finder, by Colin Harrison (trade, $14)

Colin Harrison already has a few outstanding thrillers to his name: Manhattan Nocturne and The Havana Room, to name two. The Finder is another thriller which begins with a breath-holding scene in which young women office cleaners are murdered in an organized hit – by being suffocated with sewage. A young Chinese woman who escapes the murder, Jin Li, suspects she was the real intended victim but cannot fathom why.

Her recently ex-ed boyfriend, Ray Grant, is "the finder" and is the real focus of the book. (The reader slowly learns what he finds and why, and it is a moving tale.) He is unceremoniously commissioned to find Jin Li, who has gone into hiding, by her brother, a Chinese tycoon. Ray is assisted by his dying father, a former police detective, from his death bed. Harrison mixes together the mob, international financial deals, industrial sabotage, graphically detailed violence, and 9/11. Sometimes it seems just too much, especially when it detracts from Ray's and his father's stories, the true heart of the novel.

Despite the distractions, The Finder is a definite page-turner crafted by a writer who can capture many different voices and regional nuances. It has received many accolades and award nominations.

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