The separation lasted only a few seconds, 10 at the most, but Mike would never forget the spike in his blood and the terror of those brief few moments.
Tia and Mike Baye never imagined they'd become the type of overprotective parents who spy on their kids. But their 16-year-old son, Adam, has been unusually distant lately, and after the suicide of his classmate, Spencer Hill - the latest in a string of issues at school - they can't help but worry. They install a sophisticated spy program on Adam's computer, and within days they are jolted by a message from an unknown correspondent addressed to their son: "Just stay quiet and all safe."
Meanwhile, browsing through an online memorial for Spencer put together by his classmates, Betsy Hill is struck by a photo that appears to have been taken on the night of her son's death...and he wasn't alone. She thinks it is Adam Baye standing just outside the camera's range, but when Adam goes missing, it soon becomes clear that something deep and sinister has infected their community.
For Tia and Mike Baye, the question they must answer is this: When it comes to your kids, is it possible to know too much?
©2008 Harlan Coban; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio
"Parents will find this compulsive page-turner from Edgar-winner Coben...particularly unnerving." (Publishers Weekly)
Don't you just love a great story well told?
I was disappointed, so many rave reviews I expected great things - this was not a "fun" thrill, more just a scary dark "thriller". The book is no ringing endorsement of parenthood. It is certainly reflected in the words of many characters. The primary plot point is about spying on children using state of the art software. But it quickly veers off in so much darker areas. In the end it resorts to the old system of primary characters explaining what happened! (Like an Agatha Christie book.) I had to listen to the entire thing twice the plot is so thick, so filled with seemingly unrelated thing,and so many bad things happen nearly pointlessly (of course, only to move the plot) to such good people that one feels a complete lack of fairness by the author for many of his characters. One of my favorites - a teacher's one comment overblown beyond any verisimilitude, or even much common sense on the family's part. This book really stretches even my very wide contrivance limits. I did finally enjoy the last ten minutes or so - small reward for so much time.
Hold Tight was a book that made me think about life and the way we live it now. Generally I read or listen to a book, enjoy it at the time, and move on to the next one. I have listened and read several books since but I keep coming back to some of the ideas that were explored in Hold Tight. This book is somewhere between mystery/thriller (my genre) and novel (find those boring) in that it wasn't as action packed with as much criminology as a typical mystery story and did a little exploring of people’s lives as seems to be typical of ‘novels’. But there was enough mystery and action to keep me listening and then thinking about the underlying theme of privacy invasion.
This is not about ‘big brother’ type spying but people investigating and spying on the lives of their friends and family. As we know, sometimes in trying to prevent something we take actions or behave in ways that we wouldn't have otherwise, and then by our own behavior we bring about that which we are trying to avoid.
As mentioned in the publisher review this basically starts with a couple asking themselves if they will do more or harm or more good by spying on their child. This theme comes up again and again, in several different guises, and with varying results. It really makes you think and wonder if we don’t already have way too much access to the private thoughts of our loved ones.
I don’t know if it was the author’s intent to explore this concept so deeply. I got the feeling that it could have been something on his mind at the time he was writing the book and it kept creeping in. It does not hit you over the head but over the course of book it really makes you think.
Perhaps not being a parent made this story easier for me to bear, to not internalize the story so deeply. There is much sadness and fear and existential angst in this book. It's a story about every day people coping with every day stuff. There is a twist thrown in with the murderer but aside from that, the conflicts and questions are those that we all deal with - how many secrets are there between those who love each other, how much love is too much and how far do you let things drift before you lose touch altogether. It's about parents and children, teachers and students, husbands and wives, friends and siblings.
And yet, as difficult as all this sounds, I still am glad that I read the book. It made me think about a lot of those questions. I liked the people and related to them. I've only read a couple of Coben stories before which were lighter fare and I think he's a very talented author.
The main downside with this recording is the narrator who reminded me of no one so much as Charleton Heston at his most overwrought, perhaps as Moses handing down the tablets. I don't like to be unkind but wow, Scott Brick wrings every sentence out, stamping down hard on every phrase, up and down like riding a horse with a really jarring trot. It's so bad that it becomes almost comical and is completely unsuitable for this story. However, the story was so gripping that I stuck with it. Not sure that I can actually recommend this particular recording but the book is great.
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.
The Path Between the Seas to The Great Bridge ~ Kagan's Peloponnesian War to Gaddis' Cold One ~ Mornings on Horseback to a River of Doubt ~ Tom to Huck ~ Lennie to Charley ~ Cadfael to Cross ~ Rhyme to Reacher ~ Blomkvist and Salander to Wallander and Wallander ~ Moving Cheese or Eating Frogs ~ On the Road and Into Thin Air ~ The End of History to A Short History of Everything to ... well ... everything else.
Harlan Coben is a fine writer with an impressive range ~ from Hold Tight's dark mystery to his lighter Myron Bolitar fare. His audios are always worth a listen.
Scott Brick is the finest narrator working today and, it turns out, the most prolific. He handles this audiobook, with its impressive cast of characters, with skill. If you haven't heard his work before, you will be impressed.
The story here is solid (4 1/2 stars from a 5 star writer). It's probably not Coben's best, but his second-best still tops the vast majority of mystery writers working today. Having written that, let's quickly add that the story is more than sufficiently engaging to hold your interest right to the end, particularly if you are a parent of teens or 'tweens. Parent or no, you will find yourself shivering and nodding in turn as you follow ~ audibly ~ the various ways the concept of "family" can play itself out.
Family is the touchstone here, but not in the platitudinous way the notion is so often treated by the politically or socially correct. Here we see the consequences of family touched by madness, by tragedy, by infidelity, by horror, by violence, by corruption and, finally, by love. All these manifestations interact ~ sometimes with predictable consequences, sometimes not. The good do not always win, although, as is often the case in Coben's novels and in life itself, the good and the evil both suffer mightily before any resolution is granted. And rest assured, Coben's deft hand ties all the familial threads together before the final credits play.
A credit-worthy listen, with something to think about when its over.
Another perfect book by one of my all-time favorite authors, Harlan Coben. I was sad Coben's latest book did not include my fictional dream man, Myron Bolitar, however, this unsettling story made up for it, hitting very close to home. As the young mom of a teenage daughter, I was profoundly disturbed by the hauntingly realistic themes. 'Would you want your parents to know all that about you?'" Technology and our children can be dangerous and scary. I highly recommend this book.
This was the first Harlen Coben book I've tried, and I found it exciting and intricately plotted. You're never quite sure what path he'd going to lead you down next! The characters all come across as real people, complete with foibles and inconsistancies. Highly recommended!
I have listened to every one of Mr. Cobens books and I thought this one was wonderful as usual. He keeps you going until the end and then there is always a twist that you would have never thought. That's what keeps me waiting for the next one. So, please don't make us wait too long. Thanks so much for keeping your fans entertained. This one is well worth the read and wait. I also hope there will be more Myron Bolitar.............
You'll need a scorecard to keep track of the story lines in this book. Great advice on raising teens mixed with another of Harlens' really bad guys. And you have to listen to Scott Brick...for a long, long time.
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.
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