Home by Harlan Coben
|Home by Harlan Coben|
|Reviewer: Lesley Mason|
|Summary: Myron Bolitar is back, but this time it's Win taking the lead as the search for a child missing for over ten years reaches a possible resolution. As twisting a tale as you'd expect from one of the best thriller writers on the block. The Bolitar books are slightly tamer than the stand-alone stories, but still a deeply satisfying read that makes you question all of your assumptions.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: September 2016|
|External links: Author's website|
Fresh from reading Fool Me Once – a stand-alone novel by Coben – I was offered Home, the latest in the Myron Bolitar series. Resistance is futile as someone once said. Coben is probably the best thriller writer in the market at the moment. It's not that all of his books are better than anyone else's – they're not. Lee Child on the top of his game is streets ahead of Coben's weakest offerings. Coben has the edge as writer because of his virtuosity. The Bolitar series takes its place around the other work, and even within the series you can't be guaranteed to get the same take every time.
A missing boy, missing for ten years, steps into the light, such light as there is in a Kings Cross underpass. He is watched…by someone who has been searching for him all of that time. Our narrator is clearly not a Brit. He is clearly also not a good person. I have seen depravity that most would find difficult, if not downright inconceivable, to comprehend – and some would argue that I have administered the same. Whoever this person is, he intends to seize Patrick Moore, the missing boy: seize him, free him, take him home…but when Patrick went missing, when he was six years old, so did his playmate Rhys. Our watcher has not yet seen Rhys, and he he needs them both.
He has a plan. The plan goes wrong. Three men end up dead, and Patrick vanishes again.
This time, it is Windsor Horne Lockwood III calling on Myron Bolitar for help. Normally it is the other way around. Myron for his part is settling into something like domesticity, which he is about to make official, shortly to be married. Win has been off the grid for some long while. There are rumours about him having lost the plot, become a recluse.
He started those rumours.
He has, in fact, been searching. The second boy who went missing is his cousin's child. This one is personal.
Bolitar is immediately flown to London and with Win's inestimable wealth behind him, joins in the search and rescue mission. What looks like a partial success, simply throws up a raft of whole new questions. Who exactly is the young man that Win took to be Patrick…and where is Rhys?
From London to Rome to New Jersey the web is woven and unpicked. The dark web, money laundering, pimping, trafficking form the backdrop but none of them fully explains the original abduction and no-one can say what has happened in the intervening ten years. The au pair who was the only one present at the time, returned to Finland almost immediately after the event, the parents of one child split up, the other couple carried on regardless, but how does any parent deal with the inconclusive loss of a child?
In typical Coben fashion the story twists and turns. The clues are there for the picking, but so are the red herrings. The story strands are slowly knotted together with potentialities excluded one by one, but then occasionally the exclusionary factor might be explained away so they come back into play.
Win's chapters are told in the first person, with Bolitar's depicted at one remove in the third person – both techniques serving to make this much more Win's story than Bolitar's – a complete turnaround on the norm. The insight it gives us into Win's character made me understand him a little better, but like him a whole lot less. He'd be cool with that. He is what he is.
As ever, the pace is fast. Pages rattle past, largely in dialogue. Scene setting is kept to a minimum on the whole, but just when you least expect it, the author feels the need to tell you exactly what a place is like. One such place is New Jersey…a succinct but by Coben standards long description of the place and its place in the world and the how and the why of it, capturing the essence… I was disappointed when he said in so many words what I'd already figured out, that you'd find the definition in a Springsteen song. The boss gets more than one mention in the book – and it doesn't make a bad soundtrack to be fair.
Naturally, if you liked this you will love anything else by Coben – I understand that his YA offerings are also on a par and fill in some of the back story, so you might want to check out Found. You will also, if you can put the film adaptations out of your mind, get a real kick out of the Lee Child Jack Reacher stories – like all the best series, there's no harm starting in the middle, try Make Me.
You can read more book reviews or buy Home by Harlan Coben at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Home by Harlan Coben at Amazon.com.
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