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Publisher's Summary

Theirs was a marriage made in tabloid heaven, but no sooner had supermodel Laura Ayars and Celtics star David Baskin said “I do” than tragedy struck. While honeymooning on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, David went out for a swim - and never returned.

Now widowed and grieving, Laura has a thousand questions and no answers. Her search for the truth will draw her into a web of lies and deception that stretches back 30 years - while on the court at the Boston Garden, a rookie phenom makes his spectacular debut....

©2010 Harlan Coben (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

Harlan Coben is the Master

At the beginning of this book, Mr. Coben tells readers if they have not read another of his novels, stop and return it. This is one of Mr. Coben's first novels that he only recently released. I am forever thankful that he did. I am an avid fan of Mr. Coben's novels and this one did not disappoint. From his great character development to the twists and turns, it will keep you riveted and not let you put this one down. Thank the heavens Mr. Coben stuck with his true talent and did not follow in the family business. You will not regret this fantastic read.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I love Harlan Coben, but...

Mr. Coben is a good storyteller (the reason I actually finished this book), who's writing has matured considerably since he wrote this book. Note to Mr. Coben: Just because you are famous now is not a reason to publish a sub-par book that you wrote years ago. I purchased it right away, not realizing that it was an older book, and suffered through 17+ hours. In this book:

1. All the women are either the most beautiful woman in the world, or fat cows, and their beauty seems to be their reason for existence. All is accepted and forgiven, even some serious character flaws that would get those fat cows booted out in an instant.
2. Everyone, especially the women, is supposed to be a smart business person, doctor, or cop, yet they are so stupid that I found myself continually yelling at them.
3. One of the main characters is a cop, but he acts more like a mobster, lying, threatening, etc.
4. The writing is so melodramatic that when combined with the reading of Scott Brick (who I usually enjoy), it was so annoying that I couldn't wait for it to be over.

Yes, I finished it. As I said before, the story was interesting. I also hate not finishing a book that I paid for. I finished it, but I was glad when it was finally over.

55 of 64 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Give him a break! This is pretty good...

Yes, this book is one of Harlan Coben's first releases. He states that in the book's preface. As an early contribution, I expected a lot less from Play Dead than I got. Ok, it was obvious from the onset who the new blonde basketball superstar was, so the pussy-footing Coben did on this was unnecessary; however, I liked the twists and turns throughout the book. I didn't know who the murderer was, nor did I guess the motive. Overall, I was quite pleased with the story. Of course, Scott Brick can read the phone book and make it interesting, so I am to the point where I'll buy a book that Scott is reading, because I figure that he's choosy enough to pick only good works. Buy and enjoy!!

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 02-11-12

Mistake!

I picked this up without checking the reviews because I have always enjoyed Harlen Coben's stuff when I have been in the market for a light read. Mistake!

Coben introduces it by telling us it is the first book he wrote, evidently only recently published. Sounded like a fun opportunity to track a writer's development. After all, it could not be too bad or he would not have put it in print, right? Mistake!

It is tedious, transparent and therefore completely lacking in suspense, written in the language of amateur enthusiasm, and excruciatingly drawn out. By the end I was literally moaning, "Please, God, let it be over." But I finished it because I dislike reviews written on partial reads, and I really felt a duty to write this cautionary tale. Probably a mistake!

One thing about the book does fascinate me, however. That a young author who wrote such an irredeemable piece of tripe could later develop into a competent professional with a nice facility for turning out enjoyable mysteries is interesting. It suggests that anyone with the requisite desire and persistence can develop into a decent writer of fiction, right?....Nah! Mistake!

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 12-04-15

A different Harlan Coben novel!

Play Dead is not the only novel Coben has written about a basketball star; indeed, his Myron Bolitar series is about a basketball star. In this book Boston Celtics star David Baskin dies in while alone in the ocean in Australia on his honeymoon. This is a story of twists and turns as his wife seeks to find out what happened.

Play Dead has been criticized as being to long, being like a soap opera, being melodramatic, etc. I disagree with all except for the book being to long. It is an excellent mystery story well told.

Two reviews of the audiobook complain about Scott Brick's narration. I disagree most with that criticism.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Kris
  • Australia
  • 05-02-16

Fooled

I thought I had picked the twists and turns from the start, but that's just what Coben wants you to think! I didn't see the final twists coming.

Some of the literary devices Coben uses in this one (such as giving people labels based on their role in the story) get a bit annoying when you think you have it figured out, but they are there for a reason and work pretty well.

Despite the disclaimer by the author at the start that this book is one of his first and not to start your Coben adventure with this one, I think it might be one of my favourites of his!

I'm not entirely sold on Scott Brick's Australian accents, but they weren't too bad. As always, he is a good narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Murrieta, CA, United States
  • 08-23-11

Not your normal Coben

I am a Coben fan so I decided to try the re-release of his first novel. I guess some things are just better left on the shelf. Play dead is in a word, tedious.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Ambivalent feelings

I have never written a review before but felt compelled to comment on this book. The narrator has a dramatic style of delivery that becomes a little wearing over time. Add that to the fact that this book is an exercise in hyperbole and it is all just too over the top! I did finish it because the plot was intriguing and kept me listening to find out who-done-it, but I periodically had to shout at my iPod about how stupid some of it was. If I hear the words stunning or gorgeous again it will be too soon. Sorry to say so because I have liked his other works, although they all have a hint of the hyperbolic style and holding back on obvious clues that mar this book.

17 of 24 people found this review helpful

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My last Harlan Cobin book....

What disappointed you about Play Dead?

Scott Brick delivers every word as though it is "the" most thrilling word in the book, no ups or downs, just high drama and innuendo - even about the most mundane developments, exhausting and unnecessary, every character sounded the same. Meanwhile, Harlan, whose writing has become so formulaic as to be ridiculous, loses a somewhat captivating plot, with a plethora of unnecessary phrases such as "looking for a parking space at this time of day was like trying to find a white man at a KKK rally". Offensively distracting.

By leaving absolutely no detail to my imagination I had little choice but to go where he took me. I've listened to a number of his books but this is my last. Difficult to follow too when the narrator gives every character the same exaggerated tone - and even fourth party narratives (woman reading aloud a diary written by another woman in which she recounts what someone else said to her) delivered as though the source of the story was speaking for himself. Absolutely nonsensical. But all the characters were ridiculous so they all merged into one.

What other book might you compare Play Dead to and why?

I cant honestly think of one. The only reason I finished it was because I kept hoping it would get better.

Would you be willing to try another one of Scott Brick’s performances?

I have enjoyed him in the past, but this one really turned me off.

What character would you cut from Play Dead?

All of them

Any additional comments?

no

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Good Early Days Book

Good book but did struggle to finish it! Harlen Cohen's is indeed a good story teller and this was a good story. I didn't appreciate the sex that seemed to have been put in because the author thought it would sell, a young author's attempt to people please. I read every Harlen Coben book and appreciate each one to date. True to HC's style it was hard to decipher till the end who the killer was, the plot was intricate but took forever to unravel itself. HC has come a good way since. Good narrator - enjoyed the Australian accent, but did not like the Women's voices, sounded like some sleazy guy mimicking a woman, the romantic and sensual tones were sad funny.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Margaret
  • 01-11-17

Thought the story was a bit shallow

Any additional comments?

I think the author was paid by the amount of time he used 'beautiful'! Rather shallow storyline, with an over dramatic delivery by the narrator.