Private investigator Nick Heller returns in “House on Fire,” dealing with a case that has personal implications in Joseph Finder’s latest thriller.
A close friend and army cohort, Sean once saved Nick’s life, but when they came back, they went on different paths. Sean became addicted to opioids, and even a stint in rehab couldn’t eliminate the cravings. Nick was devastated when he got the call from Sean’s wife that he had died from an overdose.
At the funeral, Nick meets a woman who proposes an interesting job. Sukie Kimball is the daughter of the man responsible for Kimball Pharmaceutical. The company knew the drugs had addictive properties, but buried the information. She offers Nick a chance to obtain documentation that proves her claims, and with his help she plans to be a whistle-blower. He takes the case, seeing it as an opportunity to not only avenge Sean’s death, but also protect others from dying.
Pretending to be her boyfriend, Nick goes to a family function to meet other members of the Kimball family, including her owner father. The documents he is supposed to find are located in a locked area of her dad’s office, and it’s an operation he has to pull off in a full house in the middle of the night. To add to the complications, Nick meets a girlfriend of one of Sukie’s brothers and recognizes her from his time working at the Pentagon. She’s undercover with the same agenda as Nick, and as the evening plays out, their mutual missions will collide. They will soon learn that even having the documents in hand isn’t enough to stop people and a corporation when it comes to greed.
Finder has crafted a timely and well-written thriller that engages the reader with an uncomfortable topic in unexpected ways. The author tackles the subject head-on, and by taking one of his best characters and giving him personal stakes, the intensity of the story shines. “House on Fire” will be remembered as one of Finder’s best.