Harlan Coben is going from strength to strength. He is a number 2 SUNDAY TIMES bestseller in both hardback and paperback and a regular NEW YORK TIMES bestseller as well. His sales are now approaching the half million mark for EACH new book. Harlan's novels appeal to all readers, both inside and outside the crime genre. No one since Grisham has done this so effectively. His emotional punch and never-ending pace are second to none. This new novel will be another breakthrough. Harder-edged, faster and more chilling than ever before, but never losing the human touch. The quality of this novel and
Harlan Coben was the first ever author to win all three major crime awards in the US, and has established a bestselling series of crime novels starring his powerful creation, Myron Bolitar. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.
Just one look at Coben's latest stand-alone thriller (after No Second Chance) highlights the author's customary strengths (swift pacing, strong lead characters) but also his weaknesses, including limited originality and, in this case, a plot so complicated that many final pages are devoted to sorting it out. The premise is simple enough: suburban housewife Grace Lawson collects some pictures at the local Photomat; inexplicably, one is an old print depicting her husband, Jack, with other college students; when Grace shows the photo to Jack, he drives away-and disappears. Grace's hunt for her missing husband, whom we learn has been kidnapped (but why? and Coben fans will note that the author's last novel also hinged on a kidnapped family member), sweeps her back into a nightmare she thought she'd escaped: the evening years ago when she survived a rock concert rampage, occasioned by a shooting that left many dead. Meanwhile, Eric Wu, a-dare we say?-inscrutable martial-arts killer who has snatched Jack for reasons unknown, menaces assorted folk. Eventually Grace, aided by a Gotti-like mobster whose child was killed in the rampage, gloms on to Wu, as well as on to Jack's sister, a high-powered attorney who, it turns out, is representing the guy who started the rampage by firing his gun. Only he didn't start the rampage after all, and then there's the rock star who vanished after the shooting and resultant mayhem-what's he now doing on Grace's doorstep? This is all as complicated as a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle and about as hard to figure out, although in the midst of the murk there are some wonderful character touches. Coben can write thrillers that lift readers off their seats; this one, alas, will have them slumping. Agent, Lisa Erbach Vance at the Aaron Priest Agency. (May) Forecast: This will hit lists hard, pushed by a Today author appearance and major ad/promo, but readers looking for the kind of thrills found in No Second Chance won't be happy. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In Coben's latest (after No Second Chance), a snapshot turns a dedicated wife and mother's suburban fantasy life upside down. While flipping through a set of newly developed photographs, Grace Lawson comes across an old picture of four people, one of whom resembles her husband, Jack. When she shows him the photo, he denies being the person or knowing anyone involved. Later that night, with the photo in his possession, Jack flees the house and promptly vanishes. When Grace uncovers proof that one of the strangers in the picture is now dead, her picture-perfect life starts to unravel. With each thriller, Coben just gets better and better. His latest is terrifying on several levels, offering so many questions with intricate and complex answers. The pages fly until the last piece of the puzzle falls neatly into place. Just one look, and you will be hooked. For all fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/04; a Mystery Guild, Literary Guild, and BOMC main selection.] Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.