Don’t Let Go: Harlan Coben

SPOILER ALERTS

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.

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Turbo 23: Janet Evanovich

Reading an Evanovich book is like eating Victoria’s Secret shaped cheezies, but you neither enjoy eating them that much at the time or look forward to the next time, all the while knowing you’ll be at them again soon.

Evanovich had a great formula when it was fresh. Unfortunately, that freshness ended about a dozen books ago. This one is called “TURBO” for reasons I can’t fathom, as it has no connection to the book except it matches the formula of using an alliterative word that goes with the book number.

Evanovich has franchished out that formula under different series to a large number of affiliated writers and they follow it religiously.

Check out the GOODREADS reviews and you’ll notice identical plot summaries with different alliterative numbered titles written under so many affiliated writers that the series has gotten as lame as recent THE BIG BANG episodes.

It’s too bad Evanovich doesn’t have to follow the Grafton model and give up on a title with “Z.” Unlike the alphabet, numbers are infinite.

As I said, the formula was a good one when it was fresh, much like wearing a nice Hermes blouse to a great party, but it gets stale and stained after wearing it 48 straight days.

The Plot Against America: Philip Roth

The problem with this book is that it’s neither fish nor fowl. Roth is a literary writer. He’s trying to write genre fiction: alternative history. In Roth’s hands, the two don’t mix. The result is as appetizing as mixing soy sauce into coffee and trying to enjoy it. The result is foul.