Joseph Finder’s plan was to become a spy. Or maybe a professor of Russian history. Instead he became a bestselling thriller writer, and winner of the Strand Critics Award for Best Novel for BURIED SECRETS (2011), winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel for KILLER INSTINCT (2006) and winner of the Barry and Gumshoe Awards for Best Thriller for COMPANY MAN (2005).
Born in Chicago, Joe spent his early childhood living around the world, including Afghanistan and the Philippines. In fact, Joe’s first language --- even before English --- was Farsi, which he spoke as a child in Kabul. After a stint in Bellingham, WA, his family finally settled outside of Albany, NY.
After taking a high school seminar on the literature and history of Russia, Joe was hooked. He went on to major in Russian studies at Yale, where he also sang with the school's legendary a cappella group, the Whiffenpoofs (and likes to boast that he sang next to Ella Fitzgerald, an honorary Whiffenpoof). Joe graduated summa cum laude from Yale College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, then completed a master’s degree at the Harvard Russian Research Center, and later taught on the Harvard faculty. He was recruited to the Central Intelligence Agency but eventually decided he preferred writing fiction.
His first book, published in 1983 when Joe was only 24, was RED CARPET: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE KREMLIN AND AMERICA'S MOST POWERFUL BUSINESSMEN, the first book to reveal that the controversial multi-millionaire Dr. Armand Hammer, the CEO of Occidental Petroleum, had worked for Soviet intelligence in the 1920s and 1930s. (This book is no longer in print.)
But RED CARPET was only part of the story that Joe wanted to tell. So he wrote his first novel --- the only way he could legally tell the whole Armand Hammer saga. Published in 1991, THE MOSCOW CLUB described events whose factual truth would only be revealed many years later. THE MOSCOW CLUB was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the 10 best spy thrillers of all time and was published in thirty foreign countries.
What followed were three more critically-acclaimed thrillers – EXTRAORDINARY POWERS, THE ZERO HOUR (sold to Twentieth-Century Fox for a record sum) and HIGH CRIMES, which became a 2002 Fox film starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman. Joe was invited on the movie set and even cast for a nonspeaking role as a JAG prosecutor.
Published in 2004, PARANOIA represented a major turning point in Joe’s career, landing on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists, among others. It was his first book to use the ruthless drive, corruption and conspiracy of the corporate world as riveting plotline. PARANOIA was called “fun...movie-ready...[with] twists aplenty...” by Entertainment Weekly. A major motion picture based on PARANOIA was released summer of 2013 and starred Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford.
Joe’s next three novels --- COMPANY MAN, KILLER INSTINCT and POWER PLAY --- were all bestsellers in which things were decidedly not business as usual. He was quickly hailed as “the CEO of suspense.”
In VANISHED, published August 2009 by St. Martin's Press and an immediate bestseller, Joe introduced his new continuing character, "private spy" Nick Heller. Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator --- exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden. He's a guy you don't want to mess with. He's also the man you call when you need a problem fixed. The second novel in the series, BURIED SECRETS, was published June 2011.
Joe’s next book will be published by Dutton in early summer 2014. SUSPICION is a stand-alone novel about a single father who, to protect his daughter, makes a choice with dire consequences.
In addition to his fiction, Joe does occasional work for Hollywood, is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and Council on Foreign Relations, and has written on espionage and international affairs for a number of publications, including TheDailyBeast.com, Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Republic. In an April 2006 New York Times Book Review article, Joe discussed his fascination with ambition as a subject for fiction. He roots for the Boston Red Sox and lives in Boston with his wife, daughter, and a needy golden retriever, Mia, a dropout from seeing-eye-dog school.