I’ve been stuck on Harlan Coben since his Myron Bolitar days, but I have to say that even though I miss the funny give-and-take dialogue his novels keep getting better, more along the lines of his marvelous Tell No One. Coben likes dealing in flawed characters and in delving into the emotion of loss, which colors most of his novels of late. This was the driving force of Missing You, in which there are not one, but two missing people with whose memories NYPD Detective Kat Donovan needs to contend.
Her beloved father and mentor in the police world was killed years earlier, and she’s never accepted that the man rotting in jail for his murder was the true author of that crime. Now, with the man’s death from cancer imminent, she makes a last stab to get at the truth and gets more than she bargained for, causing her to look at everyone—even her police captain who was her father’s partner—very differently.
At the same time, a good-natured jest on the part of Kat’s best friend to kickstart Kat’s romantic life by setting her up with an account on a dating site plunges her into a dark mystery when Jeff, her fiancé of 18 years ago whom she’s never stopped loving, suddenly re-appears as “available” on the site—but under a different name! Her attempt to contact him with a reference known only to the two of them falls flat, and he emails her to leave him and the past alone. Hurt, Kat is prepared to walk away when a missing woman’s son lands on her doorstep with a picture of the man who lured his mother away through that same dating site. Yup! It’s her former fiancé Jeff. Now she can’t let go, and the chase begins.
In alternating chapters, Coben lets us in on the mystery and even introduces us to the bad guys, who are very very bad, and the tension ratchets up, leaving Kat in their sights. We get to meet a fascinating character and true-blue friend in Kat’s life named Aqua, and we also watch with dismay as the tormented Kat returns repeatedly to the bottle for solace.
An excellent mystery, with fascinating characters and multiple story lines to keep us guessing.