Alexandra Marcus – teenage daughter of hedge fund titan Marshall Marcus – has been kidnapped. But it’s no ordinary kidnapping – and it’s not even clear what they want. She’s been abducted by professionals and buried alive in an underground casket. A video camera is streaming her desperate pleas live over the internet. With only a limited supply of food and water, her time is quickly running out.
A close friend of the family, Nick is more determined than ever to catch the perpetrators. But when Marshall is arrested for fraud, Nick uncovers some powerful enemies and a conspiracy that reaches up to the very highest levels of government. Faced with opponents well-protected by wealth and position, Nick must play a dangerous game if he hopes to flush out those responsible before Alexa is buried for good…
I have heard great things about the first Nick Heller book, Vanished, so when I got the chance to review Buried Secrets I jumped at it. I was a little unsure of whether not having read Vanished would put me at a disadvantage for enjoying Buried Secrets, but it certainly didn’t seem to. Whilst I’m sure there may have been little references that I missed but I never felt confused or as if I’d missed anything.
The plot is pretty gripping, we’re introduced to Alexa first and get to know her a little before she is kidnapped and buried alive. Her story is narrated in the third person, and I think this works well – reading the descriptions of both what is happening to her and what her kidnapper is doing lends itself to the narration. I found some of the passages describing her situation challenging to read, it really felt tense and claustrophobic.
Nick is introduced after Alexa is kidnapped, we get to see him dealing with a client before he gets the call about her case. I liked this, it meant I got a feel for him before he was thrown into the kidnapping case. In contrast to Alexa’s story the Nick thread is narrated in the first person. I sometimes find shifts in storytelling like this a bit clunky and awkward, but Finder pulls it off brilliantly. I think again that it works well for the type of narrative, I liked being able to follow Nick’s thoughts as he progressed through the case.
The plot is pretty involved, Nick has to uncover layer upon layer of lies and cover ups. I think Finder just about gets away with some of the more extreme plot points, though a couple did make me shake my head a little. It certainly felt like Nick had some convenient contacts and inside knowledge. That said, the reveal at the end of who was behind everything did work for me.
The need at times to suspend belief didn’t affect my enjoyment of this book at all, once I’d started reading it I found it very hard to put down and finished it in two sittings. I loved the occasional mentions of comic books, I always enjoy geeky references in the books I read. I’m certainly going to be going back and reading Vanished, and I’m sure I’ll probably give some of Joseph Finder’s other books a go too.
Buried Secrets is published in paperback by Headline in the UK priced £13.99. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.