The international number-one best-selling author of Tell No One and Six Years is back with a thriller that grips and twists and turns - and, just when you're not expecting it, twists once again.
©2016 Harlan Coben (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks
The story line is quite good but unfortunately the author has done what seems like every other author of late has done - gone for a story that has the main character as a super woman. The flood of books with female characters that are penned as invincible heroes while still exhibiting the purest of female qualities is just plain tedious and starting to become rather predictable if not intellectually painful. Bottom line - the main (unbelievable) character got in the way of what could have been a decent original plot.
"Unraveling instead of reveling"
The first female main character in a Harlan Coben is a bit of a cheat, apart from being described as female all else in her life is basically a male action hero prototype, military helicopter pilot, ptsd, gun fanatic, ace shooter and a loner that asks for no help and explains very little.
She is frequently complimented on her beauty but she shows no interest in any of the male characters except for a very brief description of how she met her husband.
Do not expect to discover, or figure out the secret because you do not have all the cards Mr Coben is holding the entire deck. The other thing this is not even remotely is a procedural, it has the most ridiculous lineup of suspects in a precinct I have ever experienced in writing or movie, very much unacceptable at his level of writing or writer.
If you read it fast and ask no questions or think for too long you may get some enjoyment out of this story otherwise not good enough.
"Not usual Harlan Coben"
She reads well in a way that makes no difference whether she is a man or a woman
Up to a point
I was disappointed. I usually like HC's books a lot but I could not care about this woman. I don't like characters who continually refuse to answer others' questions or explain themselves. I did enjoy the reference to Win Lockwood from the Myron Bolitar books
I have read many of this author's books and have generally found them decent whodunnits, good for some escapism. This book, however, is shockingly bad. Poor characterisation, laughably unrealistic twists, and a weak "good versus evil" plot. Don't waste your time on this one.
"Not Quite the Real Deal"
Although I haven't read many of Coben’s previous books I was interested to see what he would make of this one with a female lead. In truth the book kept me entertained throughout and it had many of the touches I’d liked from my previous experiences of the author. The twisting plot relying mainly on the tension of possible violence rather than the graphic description of it and the paranoia of not knowing who to trust were fairly well done.
The main problem I had was the lead character, Maya. First let me say I have absolutely no issue with casting a female lead as a helicopter gunship pilot! When you look at inspirational real-life figures such as Vernice Armour it’s obvious that this is a character type that’s real, contemporary and so very well worth exploring. All that should have made Maya a genuinely stand out lead for the story. So maybe I was expecting too much but Maya didn’t quite add up to me. It felt as if Coben had created this female lead character but didn’t want to go so far out of his comfort zone that she had to act much differently to many of his male leads.
When you see and listen to people like Vernice Armour it’s clear she is first and foremost a woman. Yes, she’s an incredible human being of immense character and as a woman she has succeeded in not one but two male-dominated worlds. The thing is she didn’t do it by becoming just like a man. This is a hard distinction to make but it’s the best I can do to describe it. Maya just didn’t resonate with me.
That aside, the book did keep me entertained well enough. After all there are enough male characters out there that I happily follow for whom you do have to give a little shall we say in order to believe them!
My enjoyment was in no small part due to the high quality narration by January LaVoy. I used to prefer my thrillers narrated by men, I liked my tough guys to sound suitably “crunchy” but narrators like LaVoy and the likes of Lucy Price-Lewis and Lisa Coleman carry a story supremely well with a deft subtlety that I have genuinely come to enjoy.
So, an eye-opening book and one I enjoyed reading but my struggles to “get” the lead character took some of the enjoyment away and have left me unable to give this one a genuinely ringing endorsement.
"The first 70mins was torture enough"
Be warned this is nothing like as easy a read as the rest of the author's output
The extremely slow pace coupled with an extremely American subject - a woman who has had to leave the forces because of a video A woman whose sister and now her husband have been killed A woman who has nothing in common with the other suburban moms
A woman who flexes her hands to make sure she doesn't overstep the mark and "attack the soccer coach"
Oh and in the background there may be the start of a plot - a red car may be following her
Couldnt last any longer to find out
Good luck with this one
"Not one of his best!"
I usually love everything Harlan Coben writes. This is the first time I have listened to one of his books rather than read it. I wasn't keen on the narrators voice and I find a woman speaking for a man in any audible book is quite off putting but that's probably just me. ( they sound weak and limp) Maybe this was why I didn't love the book.
The lead character is Maya or maybe Mia (being an audible book I didn't see it written down) and I just didn't like her at all, in fact the only slightly likeable person was Shane and he isn't a huge part of the book.
For me it's important to like a character so I care about what happens to them. I really didn't care with Maya but maybe that is exactly what Harlan wanted. I did consider returning it at one point but stuck with it.
The story overall is good, just unlikeable characters!
I will just buy the kindle or paperback in future!
"The narration was great but the story was a little choppy and lack lustre."
Felt the story telling was a little jumbled and the twist ending a bit forced. The clues didn't really flow and I felt like the author had too many ideas that she didn't know how to put together. With books like this it's fun to read/listen to again once you know the twist to see if you can spot the signs but I feel like all you would get is plot holes.
"Not Coben's best"
I've read pretty much everything that Harlan Coben has published and particularly loved the Myron Bolitar books. Sadly, this one left me cold. Whilst it had the usual complex, multi-layered story, with several twists and turns, it missed some of the key ingredients that usually make Coben books great. I had trouble liking or remotely caring for any of the characters and the total lack of humour was also an element that I missed from previous books by this author. I whizzed through it, but ultimately could find very little to like about this book.
"Slow, repetitive and not for me."
Maybe I picked the wrong book. The narrative seems monotonous to me, and the story thin! Sorry Harlan Coben, I know it takes effort and skill to craft a good novel! I will watch the reaction of others with interest, but certainly not a book I would recommend.
One of my favourite authors, never fails to draw you in and keep you guessing. One I'll be reading again on holiday.
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