The professional fixer, the shadowy figure who “fixes” problems and simply makes them disappear, is like the undercover spy. They are dark and mysterious figures operating on the outskirts of society. Unlike the spy, however, the fixer is a darker, more dangerous creature, not just an outcast of sorts, but frequently an actual criminal. And this creature is the hero of The Fixer.
The only name people know is Wren. No last name, no first name, no history or family, Wren is a professional fixer, the owner of a company that takes care of a variety of problems. He’s not an easy man to find – it’s not like he has an ad in the yellow pages. Instead, his work comes down the grapevine, and he’s heard that someone new has been looking for him.
Emery Finn has been searching for Wren for a while. Her cousin disappeared when they were teenagers, and she has never really come to terms with it. Now that she’s decided to start looking into the unsolved case, Emery has found the name “Wren” written in the case files. Wren is her only lead, and until recently, she didn’t know if it was a name, a place, or a random scribble.
But when she does finally find him, Wren’s the only one who can help her figure out the truth behind the mystery. When Wren insists he had nothing to do with her cousin’s disappearance, and agrees to help, Emery just doesn’t know what to believe. With a list of potential suspects, Emery doesn’t have anywhere else to turn.
Which Wren is honestly okay with, since he’s pretty much already obsessed with her.
In the process of helping Emery sort out her past, Wren has to turn around and face his own, something he’s not done in years. And he’s not entirely sure how he’s going to keep Emery safe.
This story is less about the solving the mystery of the cousin’s disappearance and more about Wren rejoining society and Emery getting past her loss as much as possible. It’s an interesting dynamic, because from a distance, it feels very one-sided, specifically when one considers Wren’s power, money and skill set. The more you get to know him though, the reader sees he is just as damaged as Emery, if not more so. No, definitely more so. He has no idea how to actually navigate social interactions, and I wondered several times if he was actually somewhere on the autism spectrum.
I loved the juxtaposition of Emery and Wren and their respective lives. Emery still tries to have a relationship with her judgmental and distant father, has a job where she reaches out into the community and helps people, and is honestly a good person. Wren on the other hand is definitely a shady character. His job is to fix problems by whatever means necessary, and the company he owns is a mix of private security, private investigators, and probably has at least one wetworks guy. Wren has no idea how to fit in with society, goes around under an assumed name, and has no family whatsoever.
Their relationship is quite lovely to watch. Wren has been fascinated with Emery for a while – he’s actually been watching her from afar since her search began – and when he does finally interact with her, he is utterly captivated. His closest friend and coworker even remarks upon it, more than once in fact, with Wren denying it the whole way. It’s a surprisingly sweet romance considering the background to the story, but both characters grow together as the relationship progresses, and they are really quite…cute. Plus the sparks between them are hot like burning and absolutely fabulous.
I did find the pacing to be uneven, though, which definitely took me out of the story at times. The mystery moments kind of dragged, which surprised me, whereas the romance flowed and felt much more cohesive. It was almost like the mystery backdrop was added simply as that, a background. While we are introduced to several potential suspects, it was pretty clear early on who the guilty party was.
I also found myself annoyed with Emery more than once. Wren is by no means perfect, but his actions make sense for his character. Emery on the other hand is basically an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. Plus, her insistence that Wren share deeply personal information (and at some of the worst moments – literally mid-sex at one point!) made me very uncomfortable. While I agree it’s important to know more about the people you are in a relationship with, it felt more like coercion than anything else. And I’m not really okay with that.
In the end, I definitely enjoyed The Fixer, and would love to read more about this particular hero (even if the heroine didn’t do it for me). As far as I know, there are no plans for further stories of Wren specifically (though it is the first in a new series, so maybe we’ll get more), but if anyone else out there decides to write a romance novel starring a professional fixer, please let me know!