Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.
But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for...but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for almost two decades, and with that fact, everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life - a time he has never gotten over - is turned completely inside out.
As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart, who lied to him, soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on a carefully constructed fiction.
Harlan Coben once again delivers a shocking novel that deftly explores the power of past love and the secrets and lies that such love can hide.
©2013 Harlan Coben (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I hope I can say enough about this horrible book that will keep enthusiastic hopefuls from spending time and money to acquire it. I cannot compare it to anything else by Coban except for "Stay Close," which was marginally readable. But this one, it's so bad, so implausible, so repetitive, so convoluted that it seems to have been written by a first year Composition student. The cliches are rampant. The love story that drives the dumb plot is dumber than that student writer's first draft. This man, this protagonist, Jake Fisher, is such a mope, such a feminized character that his described big, handsome physique seems wrong. His "fight" scenes are successful because of luck and some tricks, not because he is so enraged and impassioned that he is aggressive or cunning. His best friend, (requisite "black guy") Benedict is not as he seems. There is a sweet waitress and a crotchety old secretary. Everyone lies. There are (non-Italian) mobsters and African drug cartels. There are funky FBI agents and fence-riding cops. There is a lot of shooting and running and disguising. There are two references (in case you missed the first one) to a Lesbian couple. So Coban hit all the right notes politically. But none of that can Bandaid a shoddy story and lousy, boring characters who generate no sympathy (from me).
The ending lines actually explain the whole thing, and once you know why Natalie has disappeared, it's pretty flaccid. I still couldn't have cared less. By the time we are told why Natalie disappeared, we have been exhausted by events that do NOTHING to advance the Natalie story.
Many reviewers described this as a wild ride, high-tension, edge-of-the seat thrill. Not even a little bit of this story was so compelling. If I had bought a hard copy, I would have demanded my money back; I couldn't have sat still in one place to complete it.
Narrator: I usually love Scott Brick, but his intonation of Jake was so tired, I wondered if he was told to read it like that by the author. I will always choose Scott Brick if I have an option, but Coban won't be on my favorite authors list.
Wow... hard to know where to start....since it was boring from the first chapter. So predictable.
I never expected Coben to be a romance novelist. With an ending that included looking into my love one's eyes and saying I love you.....yuck!
Yes, Scott Brick is a good narrator, just a bit predictable in his pauses and emphasis. I try not to listen to more than one or two of his books a year because they start to sound the same.
I have read or listened to all of Coban's books. I will be very reluctant to buy another one.
Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 12-year-old daughter.
I like the way Coben injects a sprinkling of romance into his mystery/thriller novels and this one definitely fits the mold. I had difficulty unraveling the mystery until Coben revealed what was happening. Some of the reason for this was because he wove a complicated tale, but most of it was because the tale was pretty unbelievable. But there are many examples of well-written fiction that strain credulity and I have no problem suspending my belief threshold if the story holds my interest. And this story certainly held my attention. I didn't want to shut my iPod off. There were also some marksmanship issues near the conclusion of the book that put some serious strain on the aforementioned credulity, but to reveal what they were might spoil some of the fun. Coben fans will like this book.
Drop the soapy love obsession. It got old after the first few times; I found myself saying, all right already. And I really wished the guy would quit getting beat up. I wanted someone I could cheer on; instead I found myself joining the other characters who told Jake, DROP IT ALREADY!!
Oh I'll pick another Colben book since the last 3 was outstanding. This was really, really bad and I'm glad it wasn't the first I had read from Colben or I would never have bought another.
He made Jake sound stupid as well as love sick.
the second and third attack. Come on the guy is supposed to be big as well as a professor and he can't keep from being attacked???
Born with earbuds.
The book has some overarching themes (gray versus black & white, keeping promises, fresh starts) and explores these very well--sometimes at the expense of the immediate story.
The book really takes off early on when the main character realizes that the husband of the woman he loves has died and he can't wait to get in touch with her again.
Scott brings the main character's love-sick puppy qualities to the surface. This is good for some, and annoying for others. Overall, I think it is the way Coben intended the character to be so don't blame Scott.
Coben books always have solid pacing and interesting starting premises so the book was easy to keep listening to. However, at some point, it became a little tedious waiting and waiting for the payoff. The author could have added some side-plots to the story or developed the relatively flat characters further to prevent some readers getting bored. The single plot line also put too much pressure on the ending to live up to expectations. In fairness, Coben has guts to still write one-off novels rather than always writing series books.
The book is definitely worth reading, and is entertaining despite its flaws. If you have read all Coben's books, you will find this one a bit below par. The negatives are a main character that's only moderately likable and whose actions are only moderately plausible. Most of the main characters best traits seem borrowed from Myron Bolitar such as sarcastic self-talk.
The constant whining about his lost love, made me want to slap the crap out of him.
The broken and damaged man telling the story. He went on and on about how he found the perfect woman and much she broke his heart. I have not heard someone whine this much since I got a midnight drunken call from an ex boyfriend. Who has time for it.
I have heard him narrate other books and he is ok. I am not sure if he was trying to set the stage or mood of a story about a whiny many you want to hit or if he just was having a very bad day or something.
Annoyance, feeling like I was babysitting and not getting paid.
Some say women do this, but I find more often than not that men are just as bad when it comes to broken hearts. If you enjoy listening to someone constantly talk about their broken heart after so many years and not have one friend of their's tell them they need professional help, this is the story for you. It is like dealing with some obsessive freak and everyone else reacts like it is normal when you feel like you are taking crazy pills.
JAKE WAS SO PATHETIC !!!! ARE MEN VERY PATHETIC REALLY ABOUT L O V E ???
I HOPE MEN ARE NOT THIS ANNOYING ABOUT THEIR LOVE
IT IS VERY DISTURBING AND REALLY UNREALISTIC.
I WANT TO PUKE SPECIALLY WHEN JAKE TALK ABOUT HER??????? AND HIS LOVE FOR HER AND TALK TO HER.
ALL OF IT
I WANT TO RETURN THIS BOOK
No. There are other forms of torture that I would find preferable to slogging my way through that drivel.
The characters are unrealistic, the writing is terrible, the story drags on & on. It was like a poorly written and performed Raymond Chandler novel. Old fashioned, one dimensional, trash.
It was overly dramatic, his attempts at reading the female-spoken dialog was hideous. I listened for quite some time, trying to figure out if it was poorly written or poorly read and finally decided it was both.
I kept listening for a while because I wanted to know what happened, so there was a good mystery for the first few chapters. Then I stopped caring and when I found myself yelling at the book I realized there was no point in continuing.
I really hoped they killed both Jake & Natalie. Horribly.
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