After being abandoned by his parents at eighteen and betrayed by both his childhood best friend and his boyfriend at twenty-one, August Goodson is content with the life he has created around his ability to hear the calls of the desperate—fixing items in his store and blowing off steam in bars with random hookups when the consequences of finding (usually dead) people become too much to bear. However, when a beating victim who called out to him opens up new avenues in an ongoing serial killer case, it also puts August into closer contact with his long-time crush, Detective Luke Williams. As he and Luke spend more time together and August becomes more entangled with the case and its one living victim, he is forced to evaluate whether his self-imposed isolation protects him from being hurt by others as well as he thinks it does or if it simply leaves him unwilling to listen to his instincts and blind to what is right in front of him.
Though I was initially attracted to The Finder by the premise, I was compelled to keep reading because of August’s journey to find himself, which is actually the heart of the story, rather than the serial killer plot line or even his mysterious gift. Since August can be “called” at any time, he has built a flexible career around it and dedicates his life to trying to do the right thing, but after all the pain he suffered, he lost himself. His life basically consists of fixing and finding. He only trusts his best friend, Cherry, and having no real interest in learning how to trust again, he doesn’t/can’t allow himself to make any kind of emotional connections with new people.
Not only has August isolated himself from getting to know anyone new, he even does it with those he cares about by keeping his emotions locked down. Even when he wants to communicate with his loved ones, the words remain buried, and other times, he simply turns away from the truth. Anything that reminds him of being weak and vulnerable, that reminds him of the void left behind when those he trusted and cared for the most abandoned him, he suppresses or lashes out at. It also keeps him from truly seeing the people around him for who they are— only as he perceives them, which is usually negatively to keep them away. One such person is Luke. Luke has admired August’s strength and dedication for years, and with them spending more time together, August is forced to see who Luke is—not who August thinks he is. Their relationship is not quite a slow burn, but it moves slowly, which makes sense given the nature of story. Slow or not, Luke and August’s relationship is intimate, warm, and hopeful, and it’s one of the most enjoyable personal developmental aspects of August’s journey.
I found August’s character and progression to be written in an interesting and clever way that I don’t seem to find often in first-person POVs. While August’s perspective on his life and his interaction with his best friend and others seems reasonable, as the story progresses and I learned more about him and those closer to him through their conversations, I could see August’s own perspective and thoughts begin to shift and reevaluate. Lorin uses the strong character dynamics to motivate self-reflection in stages, and it makes August’s development and self-discovery seem more natural and less jagged and unnecessarily angst-ridden. Not to say The Finder isn’t emotionally heavy at times. It’s just not done as heavy-handedly as it could have been. There is A LOT going on in the story; for me, it’s one of those “not quite what I thought it was going to be, but I like what I got” books.
As I mentioned before, The Finder is more about August and his growth, so while the serial killer plot line is a constant conflict throughout and brings persistent tension and pressure to August’s life, I’m not sure it will for readers since I was not as emotionally invested in the “mystery” aspect. However, since the story is written well (even if the reader knows who the killer is or has that moment of “really???” later on at what seems like blatant contrivance), experiencing August’s gift and his reaction to the trauma and pain of the reality of his ability and the mounting terror of the killer’s presence in his life is well done. So, if you’re looking for a high-tension suspense thriller that will keep you guessing, or something with a supernatural bent or a clean explanation for August’s ability, this may not be for you. However, if you are looking for an engaging story about a young man using his unique gift to help others when he can, and finding himself, love, and family along the way. . . and stopping a madman, then I recommend The Finder.