The Stranger (2015) by Harlan Coben is an engrossing read that holds your attention throughout.
The book’s protagonist is Adam Price. He is married to Corinne and together they have two sons. But then the stranger arrives and informs him that his wife lied about being pregnant a few years back. When he brings it up with Corinne, she goes missing and much of the book centres on his search to find her. As he searches, more and more layers begin to unfold. The background for the family is very well-written and really makes you as a reader root for them. A very suspenseful read with many twists and turns in pure Coben style and as always with Coben, the ending is not obvious.
The concept/plot of this book is incredibly intriguing. A stranger comes along revealing secrets that he has figured out through the internet. When people thought their secrets were safe through the net, they really weren’t. There is a great commentary on how our lives are never really anonymous even when we might think they are. So there was a great plot Coben thought out with many intriguing avenues the story might go down. This book covers a few different stories but each are connected to this mysterious stranger who pops up out of nowhere as the bearer of bad news.
Much of the plot asks the question of whether honesty is always the best policy. And whether it is anyone’s right to reveal the secrets of others. The story also deals with the consequences of secrets being opened up and the heartbreak they can cause to people. How maybe there is a good reason why some secrets should probably remain hidden. What Coben does with this starting point is brilliant as the story progresses. He shows how the opening up of the can of worms can often lead to further secrets from those with much to protect or spurred on by greed.
A really good book with much mystery and the mundane of life mixed together in a wonderful crime cocktail.
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On False Move (1998) by Harlan Coben is the fifth novel in the Myron Bolitar novel.
In this book, we meet Norm Zuckerman who is the CEO of Zoom sports manufacturing company. He tells Myron about his key basketball player Brenda Slaughter who has been getting threats to her life. Myron eventually agrees to look out for her. Myron was a friend of her father Horace and Horace coached Myron in his basketball career. As the book progresses, Myron begins to fall in love with Brenda which causes him to rethink his relationship with his girlfriend Jessica who he is living with. As the mystery continues, Myron is faced with wondering whether the source of Brenda’s threats and Elizabeth Bradford’s death is far from home or nearer to home.
We begin to learn more and more about Brenda’s background as the book continues. She tells Myron that her mother left when she was younger and talks of her past up to this point in her life and it helps give the reader a sense of who she is and helps deepen the mystery. This book also deals with the issue of racism very well. The ending was a surprise to me. I didn’t get the killer/s but it was a great ending. Very unexpected which I love about Coben’s writing. As always Win is back and is excellent as always. The banter between Myron and Win is as always on point. Win has such great wit and always brings a smile to my face. Great humour.
An absorbing read with very interesting and well-rounded characters. Very gripping.
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Promise Me (2006) by Harlan Coben is the eighth book Coben wrote which follows sports agent Myron Bolitar as he solves yet another crime.
In this book, Bolitar is trying to find out where and what happened to missing teenager Aimee Biel who is the daughter of his friends. He has made a promise to Biel that he will be there for her any time day or night whenever she needed help without any questions asked. And she takes him up on his gesture of good will putting the book into action.
The night before she disappeared Bolitar drove Biel to a cul-de-sac where she told him that her friend lived. But it soon becomes apparent that wasn’t true and Bolitar not only finds himself in a search to find out what happened to Biel but he also must clear his own name when he is accused of having something to do with her disappearance. Help is on hand from his friend and my favourite character Win, who is very interesting and witty, as the case unfolds.
Wonderfully written, Coben takes us on a real journey with his protagonist throughout this book. Coben’s reveals are always unexpected and this one was no different. There is two twists and turns before we reach the actual verdict of what happened and without giving too much away, there is a social commentary alongside the outcome which deals with a very topical issue. The way Coben weaved this into it was seamless and incredibly interesting.
Fast moving and packed with so much plot, this book keeps you reading as the various suspects join in the plot and you wonder if Biel is alive and if so, will Bolitar be able to save her in time? And by consequence save himself.
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