Coben’s recurring Myron Bolitar series remains my favourite of the Coben books, but each of his standalone novels contains the kernel of what makes all of his characters so compelling: unrelenting, pure, unresentful, selfless love for the others in their lives, be it child, parents, siblings, husband, wife or partner.
In many ways, Napoleon Dumas, French-born New Jersey cop, is the mirror image of my favourite Coben character, Myron Bolitar (who actually makes a two-line cameo in the book; cool). Mirrored because in some ways they are so alike, but in others so different. Both are loyal to a fault to their friends and family, and have an internal moral compass that isn’t going to change for anyone. Nap’s moral compass runs a little less true than Bolitar’s, however. And that makes all the difference.
Coben is the master of describing average, ordinary people’s lives thrown awry from one small minor incident and DON’T LET GO is no different. As usual, the characters and story are mostly solid. I did roll my eyes over the vastly over-used trope of high school lives ruined from casual recreational drug use.
SPOILER ALERT: it was refreshing to finally see a story where former high school sweethearts actually have a happy ending.
Coben is an amazing writer, one of our best contemporary scribes.
His stand-alone books are always good, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the Myron Bolitar series, which he got away from for a while.
Many mystery/thriller series often get increasingly convoluted and unbelievable as the author tries to keep up the pace and suspense and there is a tad more of that than I liked here, but man oh man did I miss Myron and Win and Esperanza and Big Cyndi and El Al and all the rest of them.
The only writer that might be better than Pronzini at taking the banal, mundane everyday lives of ordinary people and launching them into previously unknown depths of anxiety and terror on a dime is Harlan Coben,
If Harlan Coben didn’t exist, I’d probably enjoy Linwood Barclay’s stories of an everyday man who loves his family but gets caught up in escapades beyond his job title. Unfortunately, Coben just does it so, so, so so much better.