So following a somewhat dense history book it’s time to get on to another thriller where following the threads is important but I mainly feel comfortable. (Guilty pleasures.)
I’ve read a number of Coban’s books and the ones narrated by Scott Brick are almost over-the-top with suspense what with Coban’s narrative talents and Brick’s ability to make any string of words sound suspenseful. But they’re usually fun.
by Harlan Coben
2008 / 444 pages
read by Scott Brick 12h 3m
rating: / crime-suspense
A woman is drugged, killed and dragged to a very bad area of town where she is left in clothes and in a position to look like hers was a prostitute’s death – therefore, not high on the priority list with the police or news priority. That’s the Prologue – the story plays out as a thread from time to time during the main story. The names are Nash, Pietra, and Marianne.
Meanwhile for the main story, the news of Spencer Hill’s suicide is a shocker to his parents, the neighbors, and the boy’s friends. He was only 16 years old and not terribly popular, but his loss did create a hole in the lives of people close to him and there was the questions of why, and how did it happen. There were apparently drugs involved.
It also created a lot of fear in Doctor Mike Baye and his wife Tia Baye, the parents of Adam Baye, Spencer’s classmate and neighbor. They set up a computer surveillance system on their son’s computer because of Tia’s great fears.
Of course there are a couple of other threads – one man is not the father of his very sick son who needs a transplant, a girl has been harassed by a school teacher, a man is protecting his son from possible criminal charges. There’s a theme here about parents protecting their children – and sometimes can’t protect them.
The friends all said that Spencer had been alone the night his body was found. But he wasn’t – and Adam’s mother finds out via the computer and sees a photo which shows that Adam was also there.
Another woman is snatched. Mike goes to find Adam at a party they find out is going on. The cops get wind of the murdered woman’s disguise. And the action/suspense continues – switching threads is a huge suspense builder.
Actually, too many suspenseful threads here – like a bunch of short stories interwoven through a main story. 1. the serial killer and his women (cops on their trail); 2. the doctor and his missing son; 3. the parents of the boy who committed suicide; 4. the girl who has been shamed in class and her angry father (mom is absent); 5. the parents of the boy who needs a donor – dad is not father and: 6. the guys who are snatching the women have a bunch of issues. All this makes for a bunch of unseen twists to the plot.
All the threads are individually suspenseful and alternate throughout the book. By the end they get wound together in various ways. (Everything is connected, I guess.) Most all of the threads concern children and the desire of parents to protect them.
So it makes for difficult reading sometimes with all those threads creating a multitude of characters with normal names and all pretty much in the same situation of concern for their children. (Dangers to children is the theme!) There is no break between most chapters. This takes awhile of reading before it really gels.
And it’s a bit dated – the events occurring after cellphones but before smart phones. That feels weird because the action would certainly have been conducted on an iPhone after about 2010 or so.
Another idea is about the question of true or inner nature of people. Do circumstances force people to act violently or do circumstances free people to act as they really are? The nature of evil – is it incremental or explosive or what? Also, responsibility is considered quite a lot – whose responsibility is it?
Coben doesn’t shy away from violence and another thing about Coben is that he is careful to describe the physicality of men as well as that of women. Women think that men are handsome, keep their body trim except for …, have nice hair or eyes or whatever.
- Michael “Mike” Baye – a transplant surgeon, Tia’s husband and Adam and Jill’s father.
- Tia Baye – a lawyer, Mike’s wife and Adam and Jill’s mother.
- Adam Baye – a 16-year-old boy who has a mysterious problem, Mike and Tia’s son and Jill’s elder brother.
- Jill Baye – an 11-year-old girl, Yasmin’s close friend, Mike and Tia’s daughter and Adam’s younger sister.
- Yasmin Novak – an 11-year-old girl, Jill’s close friend.
- Marianne Gillespie – Yasmin’s mother and Guy’s ex-wife.
- Guy Novak – Yasmin’s father and Marianne’s ex-husband.
- Spencer Hill – Adam’s close friend.
- DJ Huff – Adam’s friend.
- Ron and Betsy Hill – Spencer’s parents.
- Neil Cordova – Reba’s husband.
- Reba Cordova – Neil’s wife and Marianne’s close friend.
- Susan Loriman – Lucas’s mother.
- Dante Loriman – Susan’s husband.
- Mo – Mike’s close friend.
- Anthony – Bouncer.
- Curtis Lewiston – Joe Lewiston’s brother.
- Joe Lewiston – a primary school teacher.
- Nash – Cassandra’s widower and Joe’s brother-in-law.
- Pietra – former actress who becomes Nash’s partner.
- Rosemary Mcdevitt- Owner of club jaguar.