In his latest novel, Guilty Minds, author Joseph Finder proves once again that when it comes to literary strength, his biceps are big enough to make even John Cena jealous.
Returning is private spy Nick Heller, Finder’s series protagonist who first appeared in Vanished (2009), before starring in Buried Secrets (2011). In his third time out, Heller is tasked with his biggest challenge yet–discrediting a news report that claims Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin has been sleeping with an expensive, upscale prostitute.
The website running the “hit piece” article is called Slander Sheet, which is a step below Gawker (who knew that was even possible!) and TMZ. You know, the kind of site that everyone checks out on a near-daily basis but will never admit to. Similar to how nobody ever admits to eating McDonald’s, even though they sell like six million burgers a day. Hey, we all have our secret guilty pleasures!
Heller is called in to meet with a Washington legend who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., and has golfed with every president since Lyndon B. Johnson–and who also happens to be close friends with Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin. He’s told about the article that Slander Sheet is set to run, then hired to discredit the call girl’s testimony.
Short on time, Heller gets right to work but soon discovers that the story itself may just be the tip of the iceberg. An even bigger conspiracy is hidden deep within Slander Sheet‘s report, one that nobody–not even Nick Heller–could have possibly seen coming. From there Finder takes the reader speeding down a path of twists and turns, with nonstop action and suspense along the way.
Guilty Minds is a blistering tale of deceit, corruption, and power–and Finder dazzles by delivering a story that seems all too possible in today’s world. To say the pacing is fast would be like saying Brad Pitt is just a “good looking” guy. The book starts off like a drag race and doesn’t slow down for even a second. If you love thrillers, then clear your schedule and strap in… you’re in for one heckuva ride!
Why I loved it
Without giving anything away, several plot lines mimic current news stories so closely that Guilty Minds proves yet again just how good Joe Finder is at beating headlines and keeping the plot of his novels relevant, which is one of his greatest strengths.
Another of Finder’s strengths as an author is writing compelling characters that are instantly likable, which is essential considering that most of his books are standalone stories–like last year’s The Fixer, which was fantastic. He’s also known for perfectly balancing tension and suspense, leading to a big climactic or twist ending. This year, he’s put all of his strengths on full display–Guilty Minds is Joseph Finder at his absolute best!
Why you should read it
Guilty Minds is like a buffet for thriller fans, and I’m not talking about the crappy Saturday morning buffet at Denny’s. I’m talking about the dinner buffets you’ll find at the casinos in Vegas. It has a little of everything, and it’s all cooked and seasoned just right.
Finder offers everything you could possibly want, including action, politics, spy-like elements, and an exciting mystery. He’s even packed in some historical tidbits (I never knew that the Supreme Court was modeled after the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World) and a hint of romance.
Simply put: Nick Heller is a great character, and Guilty Minds is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.
Reading the first two books in the series will certainly enrich the overall experience, as Finder crammed in plenty of things that nod to earlier events, but it’s not really necessary if you’re a newcomer. Anyone can pick this book up and jump right in without missing a beat, and I certainly recommend that you do!
Author: Joseph Finder
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
Release Date: July 19, 2016 (Pre-order now!)