Audiobook Review: Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder

21 06 2011

Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder (Nick Heller, Book 2)

Read by Holter Graham

MacMillan Audio

Genre: Thriller

Quick Thoughts: Finder continues his Nick Heller series with a clever plot, intriguing characters and another excellent performance by narrator Holter Graham.

Grade: B+

Buried Secrets is the second novel in Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller series, and coincidentally it is the second Joseph Finder book that I have listened to. I am not exactly sure why I hadn’t listened to Joseph Finder before Vanished, the first Nick Heller novel. I had heard of him. I knew he wrote Intelligence Thrillers, which is a subgenre that I hadn’t totally embraced, but occasionally would dip my toe into. I’d seen his books on genre lists, and other sources. Heck, I’d even seen High Crimes, a mediocre yet watchable movie based on one of his novel. Yet, it wasn’t until I heard that he was starting a new series did I jump on the Finder bandwagon. Perhaps the idea of getting into a series on the ground floor was what attracted me to Vanished. Most of the thrillers I read are part of series. If I find a writer and a character I like, I usually try to listen to the series in in order of publication. So, despite Joseph Finder’s well regarded Stand Alone novels, it wasn’t until he developed a series character that I began to listen.

A good thriller series lives or dies on its main character and Finder has a winner in Nick Heller. After the events of Vanished Heller, a former intelligence agent and corporate fixer, has branched out on his own in Boston. Heller is quick witted and charming, full of resources and a strong moral code. He has a sort of Boy Scout with an edge persona, yet, as the story progresses the edge begins to dominate the Boy Scout. In Buried Secret’s the teenage daughter of a family friend is kidnapped, and Heller is called in to try and find the girls. Not surprising, in thriller land, the client is less than open with Heller, and this leads to clashes with Federal Agents, and various shadowy bad guy types. Finder hasn’t created the most unique plot, yet he does quite a lot of clever things with it. Each piece that Heller unveils only leads to more questions, and the few answers he gets doesn’t help him in his ultimate goal. Finder constantly pushes the pace, never allowing the novel to become stagnate, but applying mounting tension which pushes Heller to the end. Finder wins points for allowing us to see the cracks on Heller’s façade and showing us that he is not some sort of superman. Finder moves us to a satisfying and thrilling conclusion complete with some surprising twists. What more can you ask for in a thriller?

Holter Graham has a great voice for narration and he uses it well here. Graham captures the character of Nick Heller perfectly, giving him a bit of snark when needed, as well as allowing us to hear the pressures of the case piling on his shoulders. Graham also does a great job handling the various foreign languages and accents. His Russian accents aren’t just cookie cutter, but each Russian character, or those of other cultures are given their own succinct voice. Grahams light crisp voice worked well with the overall pace of the novel. His clear descriptions of the action allowed the listener to follow the tense scenes well. Together, Joseph Finder and Holter Graham provide us with the perfect summer listen which has everything you want in a good thriller. In fact, I enjoyed it enough where I have started to add Joseph Finder’s back catalogue to my “To Be Listened to” list.


Note: I won a prelease copy of Buried Secrets during Audiobook Week hosted by Jennifer from Devourer of Books. Special thanks to MacMillan Audio for participating in Audiobook Week.



4 responses

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25 08 2011
Ian Knight

Sorry but Holter Graham……no no no. I have listened to the greats, Jeff Harding, Richard Ferrone, Will Patton, Paul Thornley, and one thing they all have in common is that they don’t try to take over the book with their own interpretation. Graham’s own ego just can’t behave itself. He has a good voice, of the Scott Brick/Tim Machin style but then he gets all hysterical and over eggs the whole thing. He needs to calm down a bit and remember that the book is the star, not him. I like Joseph Finder but when I see Holter Graham as the narrator I am disappointed.

25 08 2011

Differing opinions on narrator styles is understandable. I never found Holter Graham’s style to overpower the prose. Even if it does, I don’t believe it’s indicative of a character flaw such as an inflated ego. I know that Finder himself enjoyed Graham’s narration, not that that means much, but I think if anyone would be in a position to judge distorting the plot it would be the author.

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