Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Joseph Finder ’80

A Yale degree in Russian studies—earned while the Cold War still raged—plus a master’s from Harvard would seem like good preparation for the CIA. But Joseph Finder ’80 tried that and decided that writing spy novels was more fun than the real thing. The bestselling author of Paranoia and Killer Instinct has just come out with his latest, Vanished, about Nick Heller, a shadowy corporate fixer (i.e., private spy) in search of his estranged brother, who has lived up to the title. Naturally, Nick makes “shocking discoveries about his brother’s life” and finds himself up against “a powerful and deadly conspiracy that will stop at nothing to protect its secrets”—so we won’t give them away either. Dubbed an auteur of “Dilbert noir,” Finder nonetheless breaks out of his business-thriller niche on occasion—writing, for example, an intriguing though anonymously sourced nonfiction piece on recent CIA travails, and appearing on TV to opine about swine flu. There’s no evidence, however, that this former Whiffenpoof has been called upon to sing. Would that make him a stool pigeon?

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