Joseph Finder disappoints with “Vanished”

Vanished by Joseph FinderStart with the author’s acknowledgments at the end of Vanished, and you’ll get a sense of the complexity of this story and the extent of the research he conducted. Like many of Joseph Finder‘s other novels, Vanished is an accomplished thriller — a proverbial page-turner that uses all the tricks of the writer’s craft to draw the reader from one minuscule chapter to the next. (There are 99 chapters in this book.)

Vanished (Nick Heller #1) by Joseph Finder (2010)

@@ (2 out of 5)

Unfortunately, unlike other of Finder’s novels that I’ve read, this book is disappointingly flawed by what in the film industry would be tagged as egregious errors of continuity. These errors rob the story of its already marginal credibility, given the exaggerated competence of its hero, former Special Forces soldier and investigator par excellence, Nick Heller.

At one point, Heller refers to visiting his father in prison at a time he’d noted only a few pages earlier that the old man was in hiding overseas. There are other, lesser slipups as well, and if these were the only flaws in the story, I would be less disgruntled with the book. Unfortunately, in the story’s climax, a large number of police officers show up to save the day mere minutes after having been called — to a location at least half an hour away from their station.

I’d picked up this novel with great anticipation, having been enthralled with three of Finder’s earlier thriller, all of them about industrial espionage. I’m hoping Finder is less sloppy in future efforts.

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