Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Audiobook Review: Shelter by Harlan Coben

Shelter by Harlan Coben is the author’s first foray into young adult fiction. It’s also the first of three books in the Mickey Bolitar series. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because this series focuses on the nephew of Myron Bolitar, best known as the lead protagonist in the majority of Harlan Coben’s thrillers.

I chose to listen to the audiobook version of Shelter, and below is the official synopsis:

Mickey Bolitar’s year can’t get much worse. After witnessing his father’s death and sending his mom to rehab, he’s forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools.

A new school comes with new friends and new enemies, and lucky for Mickey, it also comes with a great new girlfriend, Ashley. For a while, it seems like Mickey’s train wreck of a life is finally improving – until Ashley vanishes without a trace. Unwilling to let another person walk out of his life, Mickey follows Ashley’s trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that this seemingly sweet, shy girl isn’t who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey’s father. Soon, Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it makes high school drama seem like a luxury – and leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.

First introduced to readers in Harlan Coben’s latest adult novel, Live Wire, Mickey Bolitar is as quick-witted and clever as his uncle Myron, and eager to go to any length to save the people he cares about.

As noted above, this isn’t the first time readers have met Mickey. If you’ve read Live Wire, then you’ll be familiar with him.

So, how does this book compare to Harlan Coben’s adult thrillers? It’s pretty good. As anyone who has read Harlan Coben will tell you, he’s got a great sense of humor, and that jocularity permeates this book too. The narrator does a fine job, bringing a likable, youthful sound to the story. The production is crystal clear and there are no discernable hiccups in the recording. Some lesser audiobooks, embarrassingly, do have flubs and retakes in the final product. Thankfully this one does not. Brilliance Audio, the publisher of Shelter is a top-tier company, so I can always trust that their audiobooks will sound excellent.

I’ve said it before and I’ll it again, Harlan Coben is my favorite author. Like many authors, he has gone from great to good over the years, presumably because it’s got to be hard coming up with a brilliant plot every single year that doesn’t feel like you’re retreading old terrain. This time around Harlan chose to write a book targeted at an entirely different audience, and I think he did a fine job in the process. If you’re interested in getting this audiobook along with the other two in the series, you can do so here. Happy listening!

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