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Finder's latest book takes on drug cartels — and parent's nightmare

| Monday, June 2, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Author Joseph Finder
Author Joseph Finder

By any measure, Joseph Finder is a successful novelist. His novels regularly attain bestseller status and have earned several awards. Two of his books, “Paranoia” and “High Crimes,” have been made into motion pictures.

But after 10 novels, the act of writing a book is still daunting for the Boston-based writer. Like Tom Brady of the New England Patriots trying to win another Super Bowl, Finder finds each successive book is its own challenge.

“Your critical facility gets more refined the longer you writer,” says Finder, who will visit Barnes & Noble at The Waterfront in Homestead on June 5. “And the longer we write, the more attuned we are to what makes a good book. Every writer is a strict judge of his own output. I don't think talent necessarily increases commensurately, but I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure the books keep getting better.”

Finder's new novel, “Suspicion” (Dutton) is his first in three years. When writer Danny Goodman can't pay the tuition at his daughter's prep school, another parent offers to loan him the money. But Thomas Galvin — rich, handsome and dashing — is more than just a wealthy investment adviser, and Goodman's new friendship threatens everything he holds dear. Goodman, becomes embroiled in a story that involves drug cartels, DEA agents and the desperation that sometimes compels a man to take risks.

Finder thinks that readers, especially parents, will be able to identify with Goodman's desire to help his daughter. That Goodman is a struggling writer adds a layer of authenticity, one that hearkens to the time in Finder's life when he dreamed of getting published.

“There is a mystique to being a writer,” Finder says, “but a lot of people think it's a job where you can sit in your pajamas at home and write when the inspiration grips you. But as you know, it's a job. It's manual labor of the mind; it's hard work, especially if you're doing it right. So I wanted to puncture some of that mystique, I wanted to show the real-life pressures that writers feel.”

Less familiar, but perhaps more compelling, is the storyline about the Sinaloa drug cartel. As Goodman increasingly becomes involved with Galvin and the DEA agents, his life starts to unravel. Finder cautions that the cartel is a very real threat, one that has the potential to become a national security problem.

“Nobody really thinks about the drug cartels outside of ‘Breaking Bad,' '' Finder says. “In fact, this is a multimillion-dollar criminal enterprise that uses some ultra-sophisticated technology to evade law enforcement. They are the most brutal bad guys in the world, period. As a thriller writer, I'm always looking for great villains. For years, we had Russians. We've used Europeans a lot, and the Chinese. But, the fact is, all these people pale in comparison to the leaders of the Mexican drug cartels who are absolutely ruthless and unrestrained.”

Rege Behe is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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