Book Reviews

Harlan Coben Is One of the Best Suspense Novelists On the Scene Today


DON’T LET GO by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is an amazing writer. If you are not familiar with his name then get yourself to a library and start on his terrific list of titles. You can pick any of the thirty novels on the list and you will be setting yourself up for a wonderful read. You might decide to start with his latest novel DON’T LET GO and then work your way backwards.

DON’T LET GO is basic Harlan Coben 101. He starts by introducing you to characters who are interesting and intriguing. Then he flashes back to an unsolved incident in the past that is still concerning these characters at the present time. And from that vantage point the plot moves forward.

In this book we meet a New Jersey detective named Nap. Fifteen years in the past his twin brother and his brother’s girlfriend were found dead on railroad tracks near the town where Nap and his brother Leo lived. What caused their deaths has never been decided. There are several possibilities: (1) alcohol and/or drugs were involved (2) it was murder (3) it was a suicide pact. All of these possibilities have haunted Nap for the last fifteen years.

Another event also comes into play. Maura, Nap’s high school girlfriend, disappeared that night and has not been seen or heard from since. But suddenly Maura’s prints have turned up in a car involved in a murder. That definitely means she is alive, but has she become a killer?

Nap’s need to investigate his brother’s death is renewed and he goes at it with a vengeance. But with each rock upended more information is revealed. Things that Nap thought were absolute truths in his life are not. People he has trusted for years now betray his trust. Old loyalties are frayed and facts turn into fiction.

Over the pages of the book new plots and subplots are developed but the question as to what really happened with Leo and his girlfriend Diana remains the central goal. It is what ties all of the characters introduced in the story together, and it is the glue that sticks to all the unraveling threads.

Readers will be mesmerized by the story and will be rooting for Nap’s success from page one. He is one of the most likable characters Coben has created, and he has created a wide variety of males and females to populate his plots.

The only weakness in the story was in the ending. I am not going to reveal anything here but will say it was tied up too neatly for me. And it came together too quickly. I love having i’s dotted and t’s crossed but not to this extent.

Still this is a petty quibble about an excellent story. You should get this book and read it quickly. Harlan Coben is one of the best suspense novelists out there today. DON’T LET GO adds verification to that fact.

DON’T LET GO is published by Dutton. It contains 400 pages and sells for $28.00.

Jackie K Cooper

The author

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