It pains me to write this as I’m a huge Harlan Coben fan but this book was a disappointment. I’ve read all the author’s books and my favorites of his have always been his stand alone novels. I love the mysteries in these novels about missing people and all the twists and turns I know are coming. As a voracious reader he’s always been one of the few writers who manages to stump me no matter how hard I try to stay ahead of him. That being said this novel is not what I love about those novels. At its heart this is not really a missing person novel or about the characters listed in the description. This novel is largely overshadowed by a political story that involves money and power and all that goes along with politics. I will say Coben does it better than other authors I’ve read lately have done. I’ve been annoyed to find some of my favorite mystery writers lately ruining their books with their political obsessions. I don’t think many mystery fans want to debate the merits of the president in what should be a mystery novel. To his credit the political candidate in this book that I took to be a stand in for the president turns out to be more than a caricature. Coben actually makes an excellent point about the obsessions that come with hating a political figure and what happens when the ends justify the means. I do think he wrote himself into a problem trying to make a point by allowing certain things to happen but again this is not a one sided rant as I’ve seen in other books. But unfortunately I could not find myself caring about this large part of the novel so it fell flat for me.
I really liked a lot of the characters in this book but it just didn’t have a good enough story. The novel is from the POV of Wilde, the man with the mysterious path found in the woods as a boy or Hester, the famous criminal defense attorney, and Coben uses brilliantly to showcase her role in his last book Run Away. If you’re wondering about the case mentioned at the beginning and end of the book that’s where to find out what happened with the punch that went viral. Both characters are sympathetic and interesting but unfortunately they just weren’t enough to make this novel interesting when so much of the story is overshadowed by the political element. Again this novel is not really about Naomi or Wilde’s attempt to find her. For that reason it was a disappointment and not at all what I was expecting or would have wanted to read.