Megan is a suburban soccer mom who, once upon a time, walked on the wild side. Now she’s got two kids, a perfect husband, a picket fence, and a growing sense of dissatisfaction. Ray used to be a talented documentary photographer, but at the age of 40 he finds himself in a dead-end job posing as a paparazzo, pandering to celebrity-obsessed rich kids. Broome is a detective who can’t let go of a cold case—a local husband and father who disappeared 17 years ago—and spends the anniversary every year visiting a house frozen in time, the missing man’s family still waiting, his slippers left by the recliner as if he might show up at any moment to step into them.
Three people living lives they never wanted, hiding secrets that even those closest to them would never suspect, will find that the past never truly fades away. Even as the terrible consequences of long-ago events crash together in the present and threaten to ruin lives, they will come to the startling realization that they may not want to forget the past at all. And as each confronts the dark side of the American dream—the boredom of a nice suburban life, the excitement of temptation, the desperation and hunger that can lurk behind even the prettiest façades—they will discover the hard truth that the line between one kind of life and another can be as whisper-thin as a heartbeat.
Master of domestic suspense Harlan Coben delivers his trademark combination of pause-resistant thrills and unrivaled insight into the dark shadows that creep into even the happiest communities.
©2012 Harlan Coben (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.
There are many conflicting reviews and opinions on this book. In particular, a reviewer whom I follow (and whose opinions I really value) panned this book. Being a fan of both Brick and Coben, I decided to listen to it right away and form my own opinion. I'm quite glad I did.
This book is really a 4.5 -- not a 4 but not a 5 star book. For me, the only thing holding it back from a full 5 stars was a rather so-so ending. This listen was really excellent until the last 30+ mins. At that point it just petered out. Not a bad denouement, just a lack luster one.
All of the primary characters were understandable and interesting in very different ways. Even the bad guys (at least a couple of them) had a sympathetic turn to their stories. The plot tension was well maintained; the twists and turns were entertaining and not predictable; and, each character pretty much got was coming to him/her. Frankly I enjoyed the whole listen.
Yes, and I have indeed recommended it. Mr. Coben has a reputation and he very rarely lets his standards down. I can relate to that. This book did not disappoint. I had it figured out before the end but it was still a worthwhile read. And who doesn't love Scott Brick's narration?
I haven't really thought about any other similar book. Three characters from very different backgrounds with a shared past meet by extenuating circumstances again to solve a mystery that occurred years ago. I'm sure there are other similar stories out there but, for me, it's more about the characters and the way the story is told.
Oh, yes, too many to name here. He did well, as usual. It's really difficult to not know him. I'm reading another book by another author right now who uses a different narrator than ever before and it almost spoiled the book for me. Don't lose Mr. Brick!
No extreme reaction. I did catch myself reminiscing about my own past and what, if anything, I would change if given the opportunity. The characters were kind of a sad lot but were better in the end, for me, so it was a positive ending with lots of opportunities for the characters.
Mr. Coben, keep 'em coming! This is just a good entertaining read, easy reading.
I like that I was way off track with the 'who done it' at the end of the book....
I would recommend this book, the narration was pretty good, you will think the story is a tad predictable, but, you won't see who done it coming.
The story was well told! Thanks for a great listen!
I liked the character development.
yes - I've read others and he develops plots nicely
I always enjoy Scott, and sometimes do my search on what he has narrated. I particularly like his inflections and variety for each character.
I don't like violence in a book - especially personal violence, and would not have bought the book if I knew there would be scenes where people were being tortured.
I can't tell if this was a good story or not. The narration drove me nuts. Scott Brick narrates with a sing song, overly dramatic style as though each sentence in the book is somehow deeply significant. There is no subtly, no shading of weight and meaning; nothing understated. Without these, there can be no building of suspense. It is like every sentence is underlined. Melodrama instead of drama. In my opinion, the great actors and narrators can convey so much more by doing so much less. I have heard one other book narrated by Scott Brick and I felt the same way. I will never buy another.
As an avid thriller listener and reader (I have over 400 titles in my audible library and I would say 65% or so are thrillers), I'm a bit embarrassed that I'm just now listening to Harlan Coben. This was a great listen. Even though I figured it out before the end, there were still twists and turns that kept me interested until the book was finished.
I also love Scott Brick's narration - he's one of my favorites. I never feel like he gets in the way of the story and his emphasis always seems spot on.
I'm off to find another Harlan Coben!
I think it would be the same.
All the blood that Ray kept seeing.
I like the way Scott Brick reads, he makes the book come to life.
I didn't hear any gunshots, or other noises that took away from the story. It was a fast moving book, with a very good ending, that was a great surprise
Is Scott Brick taking drama lessons? Suddenly, even the menus at fast food restaurants are filled with portends of what--food poisoning? A good reader goes rogue and spoils a slowly unfolding horror story where the every dayness and prosaic ordinariness of upper class suburban NJ unfolds to the evils of Atlantic City.Harlan meanwhile is still doing his subtle rift on Philip Roth was action set in the Pine Barrens, where a memorable Roth character once had a shack and his philosophical probing of love, loss, and the darker side of the human mind. Despite an overly long and melodramatic ending, the plot is rich with complicated characters and enough twists to make it compelling listening. Flair the attorney returns in a minor role and the dark side of Wynn is there in two characters, Ken and Barbie.
Great characters made it worthwhile but a few plot teasers like Megan's mother-in-law's supposed stalker and Dave's hidden past are disappointing.
Sounds like he has taken drama lessons and is determined to give everything great importance. It becomes distracting. More than reading, he is declaiming.
not one of Coban's best but a good story that could have been better told by both the author and the narrator
Whenever a new Harlan Coben's book is publishing, I buy it immidiatly.
Harlan Coben has a formula of smart-funny-human thrillers that I always enjoy hearing/ reading.
Opposing to some of the reviews here- I also enjoyed the narrator's performance which made the book interesting and very floating.
If you like Harlan Coben- you will enjoy this book!
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
The last review I wrote was of Michael Connelly's "The Poet" (1996). I like Connelly well enough, but I've grown frustrated that he doesn't develop his women characters well. They are strong, but one dimensional. I keep thinking, "Why would she do that? Does she think beyond the fight? Does she ever look less-than-sexy?"
Harlan Coben, on the other hand, does a great job creating strong women who have reasons for what they do, doubts, courage, and aren't model thin cookie cut outs. I liked soccer mom Megan Pierce, who has an exciting, hidden past but now juggles kids' schedules, errands and games, two teenagers whose hormonal surges run their mouths, a beloved mother-in-law with dementia, and a husband who feels so lucky that Megan loves him he never questions her past too deeply. Megan's past doesn't 'come back to haunt her' like a bad cliche - she's bored and decides to visit Atlantic City, and she's recognized by an old friend.
Ray Levine, a former war photojournalist who's deeply and unapologetically frequently at the bottom of a bottle of Jack Daniels, is back in Atlantic City. Ray works as a paparazzi for hire, bolstering the egos of wanna-be's at the cost of his own. It's soul-sucking work, but it keeps him in his basement apartment and booze.
Detective Jack Broome can't let go of the case of a man who disappeared years ago - especially when Carlton Flynn disappears 17 years to the day later. Broome's tenacious and complex. This is a 'stand alone' book, but "Stay Close" would be a good start to a Broome series.
Atlantic City, in all it's cheap, skee ball playing, gambling, dive bar and Girls! Girls! Girls! live show pathos, is a friend and a foil for Broome, Ray, and Megan.
I liked the book because it's a thinker (and not just a puzzler about 'who dunnit'), not a formulaic mystery/suspense.
Scott Brick is a good narrator. It's always clear what character he's in.
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