THE ENTERTAINMENT CRITIC BOOK REVIEW, BY JAMES MYERS
By Harlan Coben
Published by: Dutton, a Division of The Penguin Group (USA)
Publication Date: April, 2008
Five Star Rating *****
HARLAN COBEN (BORN JANUARY 4, 1962) IS A JEWISH AMERICAN AUTHOR OF MYSTERY NOVELS. THE PLOTS OF HIS NOVELS OFTEN INVOLVE THE RESURFACING OF UNRESOLVED OR MISINTERPRETED EVENTS IN THE PAST (SUCH AS MURDERS, FATAL ACCIDENTS, ETC.) AND OFTEN HAVE MULTIPLE PLOT TWISTS. BOTH SERIES OF COBEN'S BOOKS ARE SET IN AND AROUND NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY, AND SOME OF THE SUPPORTING CHARACTERS IN TWO SERIES OF NOVELS HAVE APPEARED IN BOTH. HIS NOVELS ARE MOST POPULAR IN THE UNITED STATES AND FRANCE
LAST 7 NOVELS HAVE APPEARED AT THE TOP OF ALL MAJOR BEST SELLER LISTS, INCLUDING THE NEW YORK TIMES, BOOK SENSE, THE TIMES (LONDON) LE MONDE, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, USA TODAY, & THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
THE WOODS WAS ON THE BEST SELLERS LISTS ACROSS AMERICA AND ALONG WITH PROMISE ME WAS NAMED ONE OF THE BEST THRILLERS OF THE YEAR BY LIBRARY JOURNAL
HIS BOOKS HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN 38 LANGUAGES AND OVER 40 MILLION COPIES HAVE BEEN SOLD WORLDWIDE
HOLD TIGHT PUBLISHED IN THE US ON APRIL 15, 2008 QUICKLY ASCENDED TO THE TOP OF THE NY TIMES BEST SELLER LIST THE WEEK OF MAY 1-8, 2008
AWARDS: 2001-TELL NO ONE: NOMINATED FOR EDGAR, ANTHONY, MACAVITY, NERO, BARRY, AUDIE, # 1 HARDCOVER ON BOOK SENSE 76 LIST, MOST DECORATED THRILLER OF 2001
2003-NO SECOND CHANCE FIRST EVER INTERNATIONAL BOOK OF THE MONTH FOR BOOKSPAN
SINCE 1995: WON AN EDGAR, SHAMUS, AND ANTHONY ---FIRST WRITER TO WIN ALL 3
ON THE SHORTLIST FOR THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS AUTHOR OF THE YEAR (OSCAR OF THE BOOK TRADE). THE 1ST AMERICAN TO MAKE THE LIST
FILMS: TELL NO ONE RELEASED AS A FILM IN FRANCE IN 2006, GROSSED OVER $32 MILLION; TO BE RELEASED IN US IN THE SUMMER OF 2008; VARIETY CALLS THE FILM, “A SHARP, EFFICIENT PACKAGE.”
TELEVISION: FOX TV HAS PURCHASED THE RIGHTS TO THE POPULAR MYRON BOLITAR SERIES FOR A PILOT BY BONES
“The van was white with tinted windows. The back doors were open like a mouth waiting to swallow her whole. And standing there, right by those doors, now taking hold of Marianne and pushing her up inside the van, was the man with the bushy mustache.
Marianne tried to pull up, but it was no use.
Mustache tossed her in as if she was a sack of peat moss. She landed on the van’s floor with a thud. He crawled in, closed the back doors, and stood over her. Marianne rolled into a fetal position. Her stomach still ached, but fear was taking over now.
The man peeled off his mustache and smiled at her. The van started moving. Straw Hair must be driving.
“Hi Marianne,” he said.
She couldn’t move, couldn’t breath. He sat next to her, pulled his fist back, and punched her hard in the stomach.
If the pain had been bad before, it went to another dimension now.
“Where’s the tape? he asked.
And then he began to hurt her for real.”
“HOW MUCH SHOULD PARENTS REALLY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR KIDS?”---Dutton Publishing
One of the greatest thriller writers in history is back with a provocative new novel, Hold Tight. Harlan Coben weaves of tale that combines intrigue and technology in this incredible page turner. Seemingly divergent plots weave a tale of sex and death in the best edge of your seat story of 2008. Coben has a knack for taking the mundane occurrences in life and turning them upside down into scary thrillers that are among the most compulsive page turners in writing history. He singled handedly has invented what has been referred to as “the family thriller.” The family thriller involves tingling situations where ordinary people are forced to confront modern day fears when they are placed in situations that rapidly become beyond their control. You always have that, “but for the grace of God, there go I,” feeling when you read Coben’s books. His newest effort, Hold Tight is just such a book. Coben boldly expands on the family thriller in this joyride of a book.
Hold Tight asks the simple questions: what would you do to keep your kids safe? Are you willing to spy on your kids to keep them for harm? How far is too far? How far is not far enough? Are there things you do not want to know about your children? In this book, Coben takes unforeseen events and weaves multiple plots into an amazing climax, all the while asking the question: How do you weigh your child’s privacy against the parent’s right to know? Do parents have ‘the right or the duty’ to spy on their children to keep them safe? How can you tell what is normal rebellious teenage behavior from an out of control cry for help? In his 15th novel, Coben addresses these questions and scares the dickens out of us, in this well-crafted thriller.
Tia and Mike Baye have a normal family, (kinda like Ward & June Cleaver) complete with an 11 year old precocious daughter, and a hockey loving teenage son. But sixteen year old Adam suddenly becomes distant and sullen after his best friend, Spencer Hill suddenly commits suicide. The parents become more and more concerned. Finally, out of desperation, they install a spyware program on Adam’s computer, the will appraise them of every e-mail, IM, and text message he sends and receives. When a message comes to their attention, “Just stay quiet and all safe,” they are jolted. Spencer Hill supposedly died alone, but Spencer’s mother, Betsy Hill, discovers that Adam may have been with Spencer the night before his death. Before anyone can get to the bottom of just what Adam knows about Spencer’s death, Adam disappears. Mike Baye, a doctor and Tia Baye, a lawyer, are not the types to just sit around, so action is taken to find Adam. Long hidden secrets in the neighborhood and among its children begin to surface. At the same time, one woman is found dead and another is missing, and somehow the police suspect all of these matters are connected to Dr. Baye and his missing prescription pads. This could cost Dr. Mike everything.
As if Mike Baye isn’t dealing with enough, he also learns that Lucas Loriman, the sweet kid who grew up next door, is in urgent need of a kidney transplant. As the boy’s doctor, Mike suddenly finds himself in possession of an explosive secret that threatens to rip the Loriman family apart.
Eleven year Jill Baye is sticking by her best friend Yasmin after a teacher at school made such a devastating remark to her, that her classmates have teased her to the point where Yasmin and her hard-luck, single parent father are considering moving away. This is something Jill does not want to happen.
Mike’s best hope is to track Adam by using the GPS on his phone. Somehow Adam is connected to a strange teen club in Manhattan and a killer who is on the loose named Nash who takes a little too much pleasure in his work. Randomly, yet selectively killing women in the neighborhood, the police seem to think these women knew each other. “We're not even sure what he's trying to accomplish: just that he's very, very good at it; and very, very scary.” Nash is the scariest character I’ve read so far this year.
This is by far and away Coben’s best book to date. He spins several plotlines that at first seem disconnected and then slowly weaves them into a tale that is frightening, and intriguing at the same time. In this book, we are witnesses to a master storyteller who takes us on a giant thrill ride from start to finish. This is the freshest family thriller of 2008, and Coben is clearly at the top of his game. Don’t let anyone interrupt you when you read this one. There is too much going on to answer the phone. Gripping and thrilling, this one is masterful. Harlan, clear off a few spots on that award shelf at home, you’re about to collect some more hardware. Nearly a perfect book, this one is almost a 6 star effort. The inventor of the family thriller is at the top of his craft, and if you read only one book this summer…