The Finder
Colin Harrison
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Buy *The Finder* by Colin Harrison online

The Finder
Colin Harrison
336 pages
May 2009
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Click here to read reviewer Luan Gaines' take on The Finder.

Harrison's New York City as nexus of money and power is a city where the masters of the universe of a bygone era of greed-is-good capitalism pull strings and make deals happen, while earlier versions of themselves from distant parts of the world attempt to get in on the action by any means necessary. One such man is Chen. He and his sister, Jin Li, are so hungry for a seat at the table of plenty that they are willing to do anything, pay any price. But the pre-crash New York City is a treacherous intersection of the global flows of capital where those who make but the slightest error may expect to pay more than a full price.

Inevitably, this dog-eat-dog milieu requires the participation of men who have the skill set to incentivize the reticent and punish those who transgress the unwritten rules of this hidden world of awesome money and unlimited power - men like Richie and his sewage truck used so expertly in the gripping but gruesome opening murder of two Mexican girls who, like so many, come to the city not to compete for the brass ring but merely to make a living.

Ray Grant is a man haunted by his past and in search of a life. A former fireman injured in the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11, he spent a number of years working as a relief worker in dangerous parts of the world in an attempt to put the trauma of the events of his past behind him. But his father's terminal illness brings him back to New York, where he also finds a pretty young Chinese woman named Jin Li.

Li, however, has a lot that she's keeping from Ray. Ostensibly a supervisor of a data disposal crew, her true mission is to steal sensitive corporate data before it is sent to the shredders. The man in charge of this clandestine corporate intelligence-gathering organization, her wealthy brother Chen, uses the stolen data to make millions in stock market manipulations. The operation seems to be going smoothly and running airtight. Chen certainly appears to take elaborate precautions: in order to avoid the possibility of the U.S. or Chinese governments getting wind of his little money-making scheme, Chen has the stolen data put on a disc that then makes its way to China via a shipment of computer magazines. In an age when billions are spent on systems that scan email and other electronic communications for keywords and patterns, Chen goes the low-tech route to good effect.

The operation is also very low-profile, staffed by the invisible, and does not actually involve stealing anything that could easily be discovered missing; Jin Li never takes any documents that are not already consigned to the trash bins. Despite all this, however, someone seems to be on to Li and her Mexican girls. Somehow, someone has detected the evidence of their actions.

One night on the beach, the smooth-running corporate espionage operation collides with the dark side of the capitol of capital, courtesy of hit men with a waste disposal truck. Li and her two Mexican girls are out on a night of fun. They park their beater facing the beach and smoke some weed and relax. Only sheer luck spares Li the others’ fate. While she skulks around in the bushes in an attempt to relive herself, two trucks pull into the empty lot, trapping the poor Mexican girls. What follows is a dramatic and disturbing end of two young lives and Jin Lin on the run from unknown forces that want her dead.

Shortly after these murders and Li's subsequent disappearance, Ray's life of tending to his dying father is rudely disrupted by Chen's goons as they scoop him out of his home and bring him into the domain of their master. Chen demands that Ray look for Li, holding his father's life in the balance as incentive.

Ray is not the only one looking into the matter. Chen's actions have cast ripples upon the waters, subtle yet noticeable waves of disturbance. There's Tom Reilly, a Good Pharma dealmaker and troubleshooter who suspects that someone in the night office-cleaning crew might be putting their hands in the cookie jar of secret information about the Good Pharma product line. Bill Martz, the big-shoes investor who lost a cool hundred million thanks to Chen's manipulations of Good Pharma stock, will do anything—anything—to get his money back. Martz is more savvy, and therefore more dangerous. Using a private investigation firm, he uncovers Chen's handiwork and Li's complicity. Victor, a small-time thug, dreams of moving up in the world. By the end of the battle between these forces, someone will end up dead in a secret horror chamber, someone will lose all, and someone else still will find a new life.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © A. Jurek, 2009

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