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The Finder: A Novel Paperback – May 26, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jason Culp's narration adds edge to this tightly plotted corporate thriller about the deadly chain of events launched by a pharmaceutical firm executive after he discovers that a paper-shredding firm is stealing financial secrets from his wastepaper baskets. Harrison delights in providing descriptive nuggets about the buildings and culture of New York City. In the wrong hands, these could become dull, but Culp delivers the exposition with vigor and never allows the pacing to flag. When voicing dialogue, he produces an array of convincing accents, and subtly indicates gender with slight shifts in pitch. The novel's action scenes—particularly a short, vicious fight involving a pair of hedge clippers—develop an especially visceral impact when Culp narrates them. In sum, the gripping story and the deft reading make for a solid listening experience.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Brilliant . . . recalls Tom Wolfe's best-selling The Bonfire of the Vanities, but this is a far darker story and a far more interesting one. Harrison's Big Apple is rotten to the core. (The Washington Post)

Brutally effective . . . Harrison spins a fast-paced NYC crime novel. . . . Start reading this book and prepare to cancel all other plans for the next seven hours or so. (Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A))

Harrison writes like Rambo on meth and throws in enough black humor to prove he's more brains than brawn. . . . The Finder's a keeper. (USA Today)

Colin Harrison's New York is an eye-for-an-eye, dog-eat-dog Darwinian world with similar map coordinates to Tom Wolfe's Manhattan and the Los Angeles of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy. . . . A chilling, high-speed roller coaster of a ride that doubles as a sardonic sightseeing tour of the seamier side of New York City. (The New York Times)

A satisfying thriller canvassing and connecting New York's hedge-fund billionaires with illegal immigrants scraping by on menial labor. (The Christian Science Monitor)

Some of the best writing being done today . . . Harrison displays a depth of reportorial knowledge to awe Tom Wolfe. . . . Perhaps the equal of Richard Price. (Sun-Sentinel (South Florida))

Colin Harrison writes shrewd thrillers that probe the far reaches of New York society. . . . An uncommonly astute writer. (The Seattle Times)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031242888X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312428884
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Those of you who remember movies like "Naked City" or fancy the noir crime thrillers of the late 1940s will feel immediately at home with Colin Harrison's "The Finders", which is frankly one of the best urban noir novels I've read in years.

New York, with its endless contrasts between rich and poor, elegance and crass, conflicting cultures all trying to get their piece of the American pie is the perfect setting for noir fiction and Harrison, a Brooklynite, plays it for all its worth. And, man, does he ever do it well!

In the high-rise office towers of Manhattan where "Masters of the Universe" contend for billions, young illegal Mexicans scurry about cleaning the detritus of the business at night under the supervision of Jin Li, a young, beautiful Chinese woman. Jin Li is more than she appears to be. She is, in fact, a key player in a global power play, something that becomes apparent when she takes an after work, middle of the night ride with two of her Mexican female workers. They part in a remote Brooklyn park when disaster in the form of truck bearing a load of excrement comes on the scene.

Jin Li escapes death and is pursued by a growing cast of characters. The good guy is Ray Grant, Jr., Jin Li's recent lover who still pines for her. Grant, Jr. is backed by his father, who is dying of cancer, a near-retirement NYPD detective and that's it. Against them and Jin Yi is a surprising number of bad guys, all of whom Harrison introduces flawlessly, each one racheting up the suspense level.

There are few writers with Harrison's skill and the ability to keep layering on plot twists.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on July 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Colin Harrison writes intelligent thrillers w/o a serial hero, maybe except New York and the wonders of globalization.
I liked the Havana Room a lot, and the Finder has the additional attraction of a China connection. The plot doesn't need to be summarized again, that has been done by Amazon and other reviewers.
CH has the ability to tell a not so unusual story in a fresh and surprising way. He stays away from the cliches and the stereotypes that make me drop many thrillers on similar subjects lost in boredom.
I deduct a star because I am not 100% convinced that the plot driver here would work in real life: the office cleaning company as industrial spy agent who feeds investors half around the world with the info that they need to manipulate the share prices of small startup companies in Wall Street. Well, I don't know. Also, there are some minor blunders about things Chinese, eg his handling of names.
But he hits the right tone for me and his protagonists make sense. Even the Chinese ones, though Li Jin's brother bothered me a bit. He looked too simplistic at first glance (the supersmart but overexposed criminal stock manipulator from a formerly poor family), but then, if you look at the bios of similar real life men and women, they are like that apparently.
And the underworld is remarkably diversified. We also meet the more conventional business models of the Mafia and the Mexican drugring.
The suspense is fueled by more than one line of uncertainty: what is happening to Jin? who is her hero Ray, really? which of the different ethnic gangs is the most evil? possibly the local rich boy?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TheReader23 on June 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My introduction to Colin Harrison began with Manhattan Nocturne followed by The Havana Room and then one of his earlier books, Break and Enter (which most of his readers didn't love yet I enjoyed immensely). So I'm definitely a fan and look forward to reading anything by him. I think I would put this one on par with The Havana Room.

I read this on a recent trip to Vegas on a flight that should have taken four hours and ended up taking seven with all of the runway delays. Consequently, the book was started and finished in that one trip. There's nothing I like better than books that keep you on the edge of your seat, even though this time I was wearing a seatbelt so I knew I was secure.

This novel explores the far reaching effects of crime as its tentacles reach as far as China where the wheels begin to turn in a scheme involving a cleaning service and stealing information. It's elaborate and well thought out and it will take a firefighter, in the form of Ray Grant, Jr., to get to the bottom of it. Yes, you heard me right....he's a firefighter but his father was a former NYC detective, whose days are now numbered as he wages his war with cancer.

Harrison is very adept at drawing out his characters and introducing new characters who add to the story as opposed to confusing it. This one gives us a good mix but it's Ray Grant and Jin-Li, his ex-girlfriend, who will lead the charge, trying not to be found in her case and trying to find her in his case.

Usually I would give this book five stars but there was just something missing that I can't exactly put my finger on. It was gritty and riveting but, in the end, it did not find me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thriller Lover VINE VOICE on May 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Colin Harrison specializes in "literary thrillers" -- his novels are essentially works of suspense, but he spends a huge amount of time developing his characters and describing the realities of urban life. I've read a few of his novels, including his debut BREAK AND ENTER (awful) and THE HAVANA ROOM (very good). I think that THE FINDER is the best Harrison novel I've read so far.

THE FINDER is a relatively fast-paced novel about a complicated business scheme to steal confidential business information. Something goes wrong, leading to a series of murders and other violent incidents. The plot is remarkably silly if you take the time to think about it, but Harrison is a good enough writer to make things believable and compelling.

Some people have compared this work to BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES and I find that a very apt comparion. In many ways, the story simply serves as an excuse for Harrison to introduce a multitude of characters in New York City and describe (usually in minute detail) how they perceive the world. Even the minor supporting characters get this treatment, which will either delight or exasperate the reader. For the most part, I was delighted by Harrison's descriptions, which seemed highly cynical yet true to life.

Harrison is also interested in how things work -- are you curious about how a gas station makes money? Or how documents are disposed of by large corporations? Harrision spend pages of THE FINDER describing these processes in great detail. I found this material fascinating, but I'm guessing that other readers will find themselves bored.

In the end, I found this novel highly entertaining, despite the lack of a truly sympathetic character (a character named Ray Grant comes closest, although he's a bit of a cliche). Harrison is an incredibly gifted writer, and I recommend this novel to people who enjoy books that take the time to fully flesh out their characters and situations.
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