Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Review: LONG LOST by Harlan Coben
Reviewed by Craig Sisterson
Huge sales and deserved critical acclaim don’t always (or even often) go hand-in-hand. Many great writers are unknown or overlooked by the wider public, and some big names sell truckloads based more on past glories than the quality of their latest book. Fortunately for thriller fans, Long Lost shows that international bestseller Harlan Coben remains both a big name, and a tremendous storyteller.
Coben’s latest high-octane tale brings back his popular recurring hero, sports/entertainment agent and occasional private investigator Myron Bolitar. A pleading phone call from a long-lost but never-forgotten ex-lover rocks the passionate and occasionally volatile Bolitar, and sends him, sans understanding, on a journey from his US home to Paris. What starts as a search for a missing ex-husband quickly spirals into a dangerous web of murder, murky histories, and startling complications. Coben ratchets up the tension as Bolitar and his ex find themselves on a twisting trail perhaps leading to her seemingly long-dead daughter – all the while chased by unknown assailants as well as the French police, Homeland Security, and international terrorists. It may sound far-fetched, but in Coben’s hands, it works.
Crafting a credible pulse-pounding thriller is difficult enough, but with Long Lost Coben manages even more: Bolitar is a tremendous protagonist - heroic yet human, full of flaws and frailty. The fascinating supporting characters have unique lives, voices and perspectives. Add witty narration and dialogue, and thought-provoking ideas and undercurrents – all tied up in an engrossing action-packed storyline - and you have a thriller of the highest standard.
It takes a true master to have the reader laughing out loud one moment, and squirming in their seat the next. Readers, meet Harlan Coben.
This review was originally published in print and online in the Nelson Mail newspaper in mid 2009. Due to archiving, the review is now no longer on the Nelson Mail website, so has been republished online here.