Fast-paced thriller 'The Finder' is a keeper

Colin Harrison's complex plot centers around a New York firefighter who finds that millionaires are involved in the exploitation of illegal immigrants.

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Think "Bonfire of the Vanities" meets "The Firm," with a 21st-century dash of global menace in the form of a corrupt Chinese speculator thrown in for good measure. Though a few of the bad guys drift into parody, Colin Harrison has written a satisfying thriller canvassing and connecting New York's hedge-fund billionaires with illegal immigrants scraping by on menial labor.

A few pages into the story, a young Chinese woman, Jin Li, witnesses the grisly murder of two Mexican girls. The killers are really after Jin Li, who heads a cleaning company that handles document-shredding and other services for Manhattan firms. That role allows for all manner of discreet snooping – and fuels the illegal stock speculating ring led by her brother back in Shanghai. A forlorn firefighter who survived a nightmarish assignment inside the collapsed World Trade Center towers on 9/11 serves as the novel's hero. He's capable, brooding – and often lost in the maze of subplots. When he's on the stage, though, he grabs the reader's attention, as does Bill Martz, a conniving and captivating billionaire who's been burned by a mysterious plunging stock price engineered by You Know Who. Harrison mostly moves his pieces around the board in expert fashion and, Wolfean tics (exclamation points run amok!) aside, writes with a crisp authority. He's done his homework, too, as the detailed aside on sewage services will attest. "The Finder" is a keeper.– Erik Spanberg

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