It’s clear to me after reading this umpteenth suspense stand alone by Harlan Coben that the man can write a thriller in his sleep (and perhaps does?). They go down easy—all too easy—like a big bag of chips. It took me less than 24 hours to finish this one, but I worry in another 24 hours, I will have forgotten the plot and in another 24, the main character, and a few weeks later, I will have to remind myself that I actually did read this one when I see it on the library shelf.
The last few novels have all been variations on a theme—where some past event still reverberates in the present, where the main character sees something or learns something that shatters his/her worldview in some way, and where secrets that have long been buried start to see the light of day. There are always some “big bads” and there are lots of twists and turns, red herrings, and big reveals that turn out not to be the biggest reveal. For the space of 350-400 pages, I am caught up in the plot and rooting for the hero not to die—even though I know he or she won’t—but wondering which side character that I like will end up biting it.
This latest version features Kat Donovan, a jaded, slightly alcoholic NYPD detective. In the space of a few days, Kat learns that the man who was jailed for murdering her father, also a member of New York’s finest, may have not actually pulled the trigger and she also discovers a profile on an online dating site that features photos of her former fiancé, Jeff, who broke it off, broke her heart, and then disappeared 18 years ago. Things get even stranger when the online “Jeff” doesn’t seem to know her at first. These two moments send Kat down a dark rabbit hole that, as is typical in these Coben books, will lead to secrets that may have been better left buried. However, in this case, they also lead to a bone-chilling scam that involves online dating. By the way, if you’re tempted to go away for the weekend with a Mr. or Ms. Right that you met online (but haven’t met face-to-face), uh. . . don’t.
This novel, like many of Coben’s other stand alones, is a perfectly entertaining way to spend a few hours but just like after that bag of potato chips, I finish feeling empty, vaguely dissatisfied (and a little ill . . in the case of the chips). This book is a one-night-stand and what I really want is a relationship—with Myron Bolitar.