Saturday, December 9, 2017

Don't Let Go

Title:  Don't Let Go
Author:  Harlan Coben
Publication Information:  Dutton. 2017. 368 pages.
ISBN:  0525955119 / 978-0525955115

Book Source:  I received this book through the Penguin First to Read program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Daisy wore a clingy black dress with a neckline so deep it could tutor philosophy."

Favorite Quote:  "... being your friend doesn't mean I betray everyone else."

Harlan Coben's books are such fun reads, and this one is no different. Okay, this is only the second one I have read, and both so far have been enjoyable. The first was part of his Myron Bolitar series. This book is a stand-alone novel. All told though, Harlan Coben has written more than 30 books, and clearly, he is an author I should have discovered much earlier in my reading.

So, what makes these books fun for me?

First, the books keep me guessing. A trail is left of the solution to the mystery, but the trail only becomes clear once the end is revealed. In this book, I am tempted to read the ending first so that I can appreciate the author's ability to leave that trail. I do not because why ruin the mystery for myself. It's fun to get to the ending and say, of course. I should have seen that coming.

Both books that I have read revolve around a current situation that relates to a mystery in the investigator's past. In this case, a woman from New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas's past reemerges. It takes him back to high school and the untimely, violent death of his brother and his brother's girlfriend. The connection between the past and the present is at the heart of this book. The movement between past and present also keeps the book moving at a fast pace.

Both books are also as much about the characters as they are about the mystery plot. That fact adds to the enjoyment of the book. This book has a fairly small cast of characters which does make the mystery a little easier to guess at. More importantly, the character development focuses on the fact that, for Nap, this mystery is personal. A brother, a mentor, an old love. The important relationships in his life all play a part in this mystery. That emotional connection take Harlan Coben's books beyond just a mystery novel and makes the stories believable.

Harlan Coben was born in Newark, New Jersey, and was raised in Livingston, New Jersey. The New York and New Jersey area makes an appearance in most if not all his books. "When I was growing up in suburban New Jersey, there were tow common legends about my hometown. One was that a notorious Mafia leader lived in a baronial mansion protected by an iron gate and armed guards and that there was an incinerator in the back that may have been used as a makeshift crematorium. The second legend - the legend that inspired this story - was that adjacent to his property and near an elementary school, behind barbed-sire fending and official No trespassing signs, there stood a Nike missile control center with nuclear capabilities. Years later, I learned that both legends were true." For readers familiar with the area, this adds another level of fun to the books. I have been to and can visualize the places that he writes about.

A familiar location, developed characters, and a fast-paced mystery that keeps me guess make me a Harlan Coben fan.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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