It would be enough just to hear Boston-based crime novelist Joseph Finder read from his newest book, the Boston-set “Buried Secrets,” when he appears, courtesy of the Friends of the West Roxbury Branch Library, at the library on Oct. 11. But Finder, who has quite an interesting back story himself, will also partake in a question and answer session after the reading.
The Chicago native has always loved telling stories, and has plenty of them to share, with topics spanning from why he learned to speak Farsi before he knew any English to tips on the best way to grow heirloom tomatoes and what his favorite guns are to use on the shooting range.
An avid reader from childhood, he has credited author Eleanor Cameron (“The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet”) with getting him interested in books, but lists Ian Fleming, Eric Ambler, and Robert Ludlam as the folks responsible for him thinking about becoming a spy. In fact, after graduating from Yale (where he sang with the Whiffenpoofs), and then earning a master’s degree at the Harvard Russian Research Center, he was recruited by the CIA, but found that the agency’s idea of analyzing intelligence was quite different, and less exciting, than what was going on in those novels he loved.
So he decided to write his own, beginning with “The Moscow Club” in 1991. His 1994 novel, “Extraordinary Powers,” was adapted into the 2002 film “High Crimes,” starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd; and the film of his 2004 book “Paranoia” will be released in September, 2013, starring Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, and Liam Hemsworth.
In “Buried Secrets,” Finder brings back Nick Heller, the “private spy” protagonist he introduced in his 2009 book “Vanished.” The twisting plot has Heller returning to his old stomping grounds in Boston, where a longtime pal contacts him and asks for help in finding his kidnapped daughter, who has been buried alive, with a limited supply of food and water, and a camera streaming her situation live on the Internet. The story goes far beyond a simple ransom demand.
If that doesn’t provide enough fodder for people to ask questions of Finder at the library event, here’s a bit more: He’s a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, has won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel for “Killer Instinct,” as well as both the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller for “Company Man,” and likes to listen to music while writing. Rumors still abound that director Bruce Beresford will be making a film of “Killer Instinct.” Now’s your chance to ask him.
Joseph Finder appears at the West Roxbury Branch Library on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. for a reading, Q&A session, and book signing. Sponsored by the Friends of the West Roxbury Branch Library, the event is free, and refreshments will be served.