House on Fire (Nick Heller #4), by Joseph Finder

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Joseph Finder and Penguin Group Dutton for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

As Joseph Finder returns with a fourth Nick Heller novel, the reader is pulled into the centre of a wonderful story with action that does not dissipate. When Nick Heller learns that an Army buddy of his has died from an overdose, he is stunned and rushes to help however he can. Learning that Oxydone, a nasal inhaler, is likely to blame, Heller heads to the funeral slightly upset that it was a VA prescription that ended his friend’s life so early. After the service, Heller is flagged down by a mysterious woman, Susan ‘Sukie’ Kimball, daughter of billionaire Conrad Kimball. It would seem that Kimball’s pharmaceutical company, which manufactures Oxydone, might have buried studies that showed the addictive nature of the drug, releasing it to an unsuspecting public. When Susan brings Heller to her father’s birthday party, he hopes to find a hard copy of the report and blow Kimball Pharma out of the water. It would seem others are looking for dirt on Kimball, but everything remains smoke and mirrors. Another birthday guest turns up dead and Heller can only wonder if there is a killer trying to silence any information leaks. Determined to find the report, Heller embarks on a mission behind high-security, unsure what else he will uncover. Inching ever close, Heller will have to put himself in harm’s way to get to the truth, but can never be sure it will yield the ultimate prize. Prepared to bring down the House of Kimball, Heller must ensure he is not a casualty in the larger scheme. A nail-biting thriller that will keep the reader enthralled until the final reveal. Recommended to those who love a good thriller, as well as the reader who enjoys plots pulled from the headlines.

I have long enjoyed the work of Joseph Finder, as it pushes the boundaries of the genre in new and exciting ways. Finder has been able to keep his readers intrigued as he touches on social issues in a relatable way with an exciting narrative. Nick Heller remains a great protagonist with this piece, his substantial backstory finding new ways to make it into the narrative. Heller is passionate about protecting the reputation of those close to him, even if he finds himself helpless to their foibles. A trained PI, Heller has numerous ways to get to the bottom of a situation, sometimes sacrificing his own well-being to get the needed information. Gritty and never afraid to rock the boat, Heller finds himself in many situations that push him to the brink. There are others who find themselves influencing the narrative in a variety of ways, helping to push the story along which enriching the overall reading experience. In a piece whose primary focus is drug addiction and overdose, Finder turns to Big Pharma and points the finger there, as many have found themselves hopelessly addicted. Another poignant social issue receives its due here as the reader is pulled to the centre and forced to decide for themselves. Finder has a knack of delivering just what is needed at the perfect moment.

Kudos, Mr. Finder, for another winner. I hope others find this one to be just as exciting.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: