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.
Amazon Exclusive Essay: Joseph Finder on Finding a Hero for Vanished
A few years ago I was in London on book tour when I got a call from one of my best sources, a senior CIA operative involved in some really secret covert operations. He said he was in London too and wondered if I was free for dinner. There was someone he wanted me to meet.
I hadn't talked to my CIA friend--I'll call him James--in a few years, so I was glad to hear from him. I always enjoyed talking with him. Over the years he'd learned to trust my discretion (I never burn my sources) and--since I write fiction instead of reporting for the New York Times or something--he knew he could tell me things he could never tell a journalist.
I didn't ask how James had gotten my cell phone number. Or how he knew I was in London. I figured that, in his line of work, he just knew stuff.
When I got to the fancy restaurant in Mayfair, I found James sitting in a booth in the shadowed recesses with some very well dressed Arab-looking guy.
This guy wouldn't tell me his name. All he'd say was that he was an arms dealer from a certain Middle Eastern country. It took a while, and several bottles of expensive Bordeaux, but he started talking. And the stories he told me about how the international arms trade really worked, at the highest levels, blew me away. It was as if there was this whole subterranean world where terrifying things happen and decisions are made that affect us all, by faceless men whose existence we know nothing about.
Later, when I thanked James for getting us together, I asked him how things were going at the Agency. And that was when I got the biggest surprise of the evening: James wasn't working at the CIA anymore. He'd gone private. Now he was doing the same sort of spy work that he used to do, only for a lot more money. He worked for corporations and politicians and foreign governments. In fact, sometimes he even worked for the CIA, as an outside contractor.
But now, since he was no longer constrained by pesky U.S. government laws, he could actually do more. Go places that were once off limits. Do things he wasn't able to do before. He was an international investigator for a private intelligence firm.
He was a private spy.
And when I heard that, I knew I'd just found the hero of my next book. My first series hero, in fact: a character who could come back in novel after novel. My own Jason Bourne or James Bond--only he'd fit right in with the real-world corporate intrigue that readers really seemed to respond to in my novels like Paranoia and Killer Instinct and Power Play. But he could also do some really amazing spy stuff. He could be an action hero, but my sort of action hero--smart, connected, funny, real.
I named him Nick Heller, and I decided to introduce him to the world in a very personal, very high-stakes adventure in which he delves into his own troubled family history and, at the same time, digs up some very scary stuff about what really happens behind the scenes in Washington, D.C.
You'll meet him prowling around a private airport outside of L.A., where he's been hired to locate a missing shipment of enormous value. You'll meet his evil father, Victor, who's in prison in upstate New York for a massive investment fraud. And his fourteen-year-old nephew Gabe, who's kind of "emo" (as my daughter would say) but actually pretty cool. And I'm pretty sure you'll be astonished by what he finds at the end of the story.
I think you'll enjoy spending time with Nick. I know I did.
Oh, and that arms dealer I met in London? He'll be showing up in one of the Nick Heller stories soon.
From Publishers Weekly
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