Shelter by Harlan Coben
|Shelter by Harlan Coben|
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock|
|Summary: Interwoven with the comedy and crime are poignant observations about family and friends that make this teen crime debut for author Harlan Coben something extra special. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: September 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
Mickey Bolitar's girlfriend Ashley has disappeared, the latest in a long list of things to go wrong in his life. First his father died, then his junkie mother went into rehab, forcing him to move in with his uncle Myron, and now shy, beautiful Ashley has vanished.
When Mickey is told by the mysterious 'Bat Lady' that his father is still alive, he decides to go looking for answers. With social rejects Spoon and Ema at his side, he sets out to uncover the truth behind a fifty year old conspiracy, and work out just how it involves his father and his girlfriend.
Fans of Harlan Coben will recognise the name Myron Bolitar – he's the star of his own detective series. Mickey's story is Coben's first venture into the Teen Crime genre, and hopefully not his last.
Coben serves up a fast paced story with more than a few twists in the tale. A cleverly constructed mystery that will keep you guessing til the last page.
And don't be fooled into thinking this is in any way dumbed down because of the change in demographic – Mickey's tale takes some very dark, horrific turns along the way, including savage beatings, sex trafficking and child neglect. Coben doesn't shy away from putting his characters in serious danger, and the story is all the more powerful for it. There is no glamorisation of the detective game – in more than one instance I was genuinely worried that not all the key players would make it out alive.
But equally, the series doesn't lack that distinct teenage voice that will appeal to its intended audience. Mickey, for all his fake I.D. capers and world traveller upbringing, is as real as fictional characters get. His inner monologues about class hottie Rachel Caldwell are often laugh out loud funny, and his discussion about how the word 'homework' is like the ultimate barrier against parental interference is something I imagine many teens will connect with.
But what makes this something extra special is the poignant observations about families and friendship interwoven with the comedy and the crime. The book caries a message, a subtle one, and the bitter sweet ending will leave readers thinking about that message for a long time. Highly recommendable stuff.
My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.
Fans of crime might enjoy Thieves Like Us by Stephen Cole.
You can read more book reviews or buy Shelter by Harlan Coben at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Shelter by Harlan Coben at Amazon.com.
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