I've read / listened to and enjoyed other Coben books, but anyone claiming this is Coben at his finest must have a high tolerance for pain. The author and his characters spend long tedious hours self-absorbed and ruminating about their various neuroses and spoiled children. I still have five chapters to go and I don't think I can take much more. The plot - such as it is - is now painfully obvious and really wasn't worth it. No one thinks or behaves like these freaks ... don't waste your time and precious credits. Oh, and the narration is exhausting as well. His voice and affect seem to overly dramatize every idiotic, self-absorbed line of dialogue, as if each is pregnant with deep meaning. It's almost as if Coben is using the characters to spew out his own feelings and editorial observations on society today ... about which he seems to actually know very little.
I enjoyed this book, not as much as The Woods, but still very good. However, Scott Brick has to be the most annoying narrator I have encountered. His whole read was over the top. Doesn't he know the suspense and thrills are in the words not how he says them? I would definitely read more Coban but never another read by Brick.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
A missing son, school bullying, prescription drug abuse, teen suicide, a child in need of a kidney transplant. Not to mention rape, revenge, war crimes, and a sadistic psychopathic killer. All in the nice suburban burg of Livingston, New Jersey (where author Harlan Coben and his childhood/high school friend Chris Christie grew up, right around the corner from where I went to high school in Hawthorne, which gets a mention here).
Harlan Coben always come back to the theme of family bonds -- what you would do for your kids, your siblings, your parents, your friends, even your in-laws, for good and sometimes for ill, all in what would normally be considered safe locales like suburban Livingston, or a small liberal arts college, summer camp, or wealthy Connecticut enclave in the other three Coben books I've read. Coben cleverly turns the paradigm on its head in the end.
Then there are the secrets. Always secrets, always long held, always ruinous. All of these slowly emerge as family ties are tested and widely divergent plot threads converge. Not only has this formula not worn down, for me it gets better with each title. Contrary to what I said in my most recent Coben review (Missing You), I am now ready after reading this excellent novel to elevate Coben to my list of favorite authors.
The only downside remains the narrator, Scott Brick. A female narrator read Missing You, so I forgot about Brick for a moment, but he reads most of Coben's audiobooks. Just about everyone has had it with Brick and his overwrought style. Can we initiate a moratorium on Scott Brick? If I'm on the fence about a book and I see Scott Brick as the reader, I won't get it (just as I'll try anything Wil Wheaton narrates).
The technical angle of Hold Tight could be a downside, but I thought it was hilarious. Coben starts off telling us that the technology used in the story is real -- GPS and spyware. Now commonplace. Written less than ten years ago, Coben relies on applications that are already passe -- IM, Mapquest, MySpace rather than text or Twitter, Google maps or Waze, Facebook or Instagram. Amazing how fast things change -- a book written today highlighting the latter set of apps will no doubt seem comical ten years from now.
This was my first Harlan Coben novel, picked mostly because I'm reluctant to delve into one of the myriad series novels that are so prevalent in the mystery/thriller genre. I was pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns of the plot, and I immediately looked for another Coben novel as soon as I finished this one.
Unfortunately, it looks like most of Coben's novels are read by Scott Brick, whose narration of this one was SO bad that I kept wondering how this guy even got a job as a narrator. 99.9% of the sentences are delivered in a ridiculously over-dramatic way. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster with each one, starting out slowly and quietly, then louder and more DRAMATIC at the top, then settling down toward the end. For example, "Carol went to the REFRIGERATOR and TOOK OUT a BOTTLE of SODA! and then closed the door and turned away." (My sentence, not Coben's, although even the most ordinary sentences were delivered this way).
The narration was so distracting that I considered dropping this book many times. But the story was compelling enough that I slogged through.
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
I listened to this book all in one sitting. I stayed up all night and into the morning. I just couldn't stop.
Adam is a 16 year old teenager who is in high school. He and some of his other friend's begin to frequent a club that encourages kids who are too young to bring any prescription drugs that they can find at home. Adam's father is a transplant surgeon who has prescription pads in his study.
Spencer, a friend of Adam, commits suicide and is found on the roof of the high school. Pictures were taken while they were up on the roof. Someone, who is seen in the picture, is stopped by Spencer's mother as he leaves school.
Tia and Mike, Adam's parents don't understand what is going on with their son. He doesn't talk, he's losing weight and stays out late on any day of the week. His parent's talk heatedly about what they can do to help Adam. There is one solution, to have someone put a spy program on his computer. Adam's dad repeats over and over that spying is an invasion of his privacy. However, his mom convinces Mike there is no other solution.
There is a message left on the computer that disturbs Adam's parents. The message reads, there will be a party at a friend's house, who lives just a few houses down from them. Adam's parent's do not like the friend nor his father. What will Tia and Mike do? Maybe one of them will call the friend's house to speak with Adam or go to the friend's house to get Adam and bring him home.
The book is filled with action and suspense. Hold Tight, kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the book until the end. There were many character's and each with personalities that were well developed. Scott Brick, the narrator, did a great job. Brick did get a little carried away but I've listened to many of his narrations and I've heard this one before. I settled back and listened. I've read quite a few of Harlan Coben's book and this book was one of his best. Don't miss listening to this book because you'll be making a big mistake. There a many things happening but let me tell you, many of those things made me sit up in disbelief. Purchase this book!
Reading allows me to travel through time; to visit the world's unique and stunning places. To become somebody I am not... It is glorious.
The pacing was quick and tense. The story kept me guessing until the end. I am usually a fan of extremely well-defined characters where the novel is driven by character more than plot. But this story is different. The story kept my interest even though I wished to learn more about the main characters.
Scott Brick is outstanding with his narration. And the pairing of Scott and Harlan is superb. The narration added so much to the development. At times I do not like audio books because the narrators get the voices of women so wrong. Not here. Scott doesn't try too hard to speak with a high voice which comes off wrong. It is easy to listen and get lost in the plot because Scott never takes me out of the story -- which happens when the voices are wrong.
The narrator was the first disappointment. I will never buy another book that he reads. He is FAR too dramatic and he did not take a break when scenes changed. Left you wondering what was going on? You finally realize he has started talking about other people and other places. Just a little break would have helped make that transition.
Leave out at least 10 of the characters. At least.
Scott Brick has a good voice, but he is overly dramatic and I can't believe the police speak to suspects with such distain/hatred ESPECIALLY when they are interviewing a doctor. At the first of the book he was so overacting ... it got better, but it was still so over the top ... about 3/4 of the way through I wasn't sure I could finish it. His over enunciation and "attitude" just drove me to distraction ... made it hard to concentrate on the words he was reading.
There are so many, I don't know where to start. Moe would be one. He had a small part, so why have him? Honestly it would not matter who you cut out, the story was still so unbelievable. This was my first Harlan Coban book ... and probably my last.
Before I bought, I read the reviews ... "You'll be sitting in your garage listening to this one." No, you won't. Save your credit.
There were too many characters and story lines for me to keep them straight. I couldn't remember who'd done what to whom and who sent that devastating email - or one of them. I suppose all the stories were brought together in the end but by that time I was too confused to care.
The basis of the main characters' story seemed thin to me; why so much angst over monitoring their teenager's computer? I would think it's the responsible thing to do, especially if you think he may be involved in dangerous activities.
Another thing that made the book confusing was the one narrator. I felt that the men's voices were all the same, except for the couple of African American characters for whom he did affect a "black" accent. The women all sounded alike; very much like a man trying to sound like a woman by using a soft whispery voice. I think that there should have been 2 narrators, maybe 3. One for men, one for women and maybe one for teens and children if the other 2 couldn't handle it.
The reader Scott Brick seems to be reading this novel in a strange, overwrought fashion that sounded to me like a parody of the text. It doesn't deserve a parody: the story is a good plot with attractive and interesting characters. I deleted this audiobook and another Coben read by Scott Brick. I'm reading the text of "Hold Tight" as an ebook instead. Coben is a popular writer and deserves a better reader.
Scott's performance as usual is annoyiing with the way his voice is always so sing-song. Every sentence the tone goes up and then down - it sounds like a soap opera and is distracting from the story since it doesn't track with what is important in the text.