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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vanished by Joseph Finder

Vanished (Nick Heller, #1)Vanished by Joseph Finder

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Nick Heller is tough, smart, and stubborn.  And in his line of work, it's essential.  Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator--exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden.  He's a guy you don't want to mess with.  He's also the man you call when you need a problem fixed.

Desperate, with nowhere else to run, Nick's nephew, Gabe makes that call one night.  After being attacked in Georgetown, his mother, Lauren, lies in a coma, and his step-dad, Roger, Nick's brother, has vanished without a trace.

Nick and Roger have been on the outs since the arrest, trial, and conviction of their father, the notorious "fugitive financier," Victor Heller.  Where Nick strayed from the path, Roger followed their father's footsteps into the corporate world.  Now, as Nick searches for his brother, he's on a collision course with one of the most powerful corporations in the world--and they will stop at nothing to protect their secrets

Please allow me to emphasize, I read this as an audiobook.  Much of my impressions may have been influenced by the narrator - audiobooks are like that.  A mediocre book can become stellar by a voice, and stellar book can be tedious.

This was a interesting book with a narrator who's voice bugged me, the result of which more often than not I was left sniggering and snickering at the book or banging my fists against the steering wheel in frustration.  My main contention was with the female character - Lauren.  Classic damsel in distress and just...stupid.  Stupid repetitive questions - a tendency to repeat the question being asked back as a question.  She was portrayed as being helpless, stupid, and a grade one liar to boot.   From the prologue, I despised her as a character which was only compounded by the narrators voice for her and the character grated on my nerves.

Add in Lauren's 14 year old son, Gabe, also depicted with a nasally whiny voice, and I was ready to start skipping chapters. I could find no empathy for anyone in the Heller household.

The only redeeming factor was the main character Nick Heller, our very human hero.  He was portrayed as witty, sarcastic, headstrong, subject to doubts, could be easily mislead and screw things up, but overall a fairly well rounded character.  His point of view was the only thing that kept me reading the book instead of tossing my iPod across the room.  That and I didn't want to break my iPod.

I will probably try book two in the series, as this was book one and sometimes writing and characters need a bit of time to develop.  So, Vanished is recommended with reservations.

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