I recently finished reading Harlan Coben’s newest thriller, Fool Me Once. As many of you know, Harlan is my favorite author. However, does his latest novel live up to his tremendous reputation? Watch my book review below to find out whether or not you should pick up a copy of Fool Me Once:
Want to hear something strange? I met Nelson DeMille twice before reading one of his books. Seriously! I met him at a Harlan Coben book signing and then I met him at ThrillerFest last year, so I finally decided it was time to read one of his books – especially since I’ve heard such great things about them. The one I decided to start with was Plum Island. Read more…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Harlan Coben is my favorite author. His novels are replete with well-developed characters, believable dialogue, great humor, and they have more twists and turns than a steep mountain road. Coben’s last thriller, Six Years, was my favorite of 2013 and I just finished his new book, due out this Tuesday, Missing You. So, how does it measure up to last year’s offering? Read on, my curious friend.
My favorite part of Missing You is the inspiration for it’s title – the #1 1984 hit song “Missing You” by John Waite. Being a fan of all things ’80s, this brought a smile to my face and made me want to listen to John Waite, which, by the way, I’m doing right now as I write this review.
But let’s get back to the book. While it’s not quite as spectacular as Six Years, Missing You is a solid thriller that delivers the goods. The story’s protagonist, Kat Donovan, finds her ex-fiance on an online dating site and, as expected, things aren’t what they seem. This is an interesting premise and it pulled me in right from the start. In typical Coben fashion, there are multiple plots that eventually overlap, and he handles them deftly.
But where he really shines is the romantic scenes. For my money, Coben is the best author when it comes to writing a scene that conveys characters’ spoken – and unspoken – feelings toward one another. His books always move me at some point, and Missing You did so on numerous occasions.
The novel features a nice balance of dialogue and action, and the scenes where “business picks up” are edge-of-your-seat fun. If you’re a fan of thrillers or love Coben’s previous work, I think you’ll enjoy Missing You. It’s head and shoulders above the competition and the most fun you’ll have outside of listening to a John Waite song. I highly recommend it.
Below is the official synopsis, as well as the “Missing You” music video by John Waite that inspired the title of this book:
It’s a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.
Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.
As the body count mounts and Kat’s hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancé, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.
I recently finished Steven James’ latest novel, Singularity, the sequel to a book I enjoyed quite a bit, Placebo. So, how does this measure up to the last one in the Jevin Banks series? I’d say it’s just as good, if not a little better, than Placebo.
Having already become acquainted with these characters, I was happy to see them grow and mature in Singularity. As a matter of fact, I’d say character interaction and development is what James does best. While the sometimes-too-long scientific descriptions took me out of the story, the terrific dialogue, humor and dash of romance made up for it. Similar to Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar and his sidekick Win, James has an equally compelling dynamic duo with Jevin and Xavier. And the supporting cast is wonderfully nuanced and intriguing, especially Fiona and her brilliant children.
Other than the copious amount of scientific information, the only other detractor for me from the story was the amount of sub-plots. Several times in every chapter there are breaks and the reader is transported to a different storyline. I understand that this was done because the storylines eventually overlap, but if you don’t plan on finishing the book in a sitting or two, or if you stop in mid-chapter, it might take you several pages to remember what happened last and what’s happening at that given moment. To me, I really only cared about the main cast of characters, not the tertiary ones, so I think keeping only one subplot would have made for a cleaner read.
Regardless of my stylistic quibbles, Singularity is a solid novel that tells a compelling story featuring charming characters whom I’ve grown to like even more than I did after reading Placebo. If you’re not sure what to read next, give this book a shot. It’ll keep you engaged from start to finish and whet your appetite for the next installment in this promising series.
Below is the book’s synopsis, and make sure to check out my interview with Steven James too.
When his friend is murdered, illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what really happened. Drawn into a web of conspiracy and top-secret research on human consciousness, Jevin won’t stop digging until the truth is revealed. Soon he uncovers a dark secret–one that could change the very fabric of human life on the planet.
It’s hard to believe but I read 54 books in 2013. Since I love books in all forms, this includes audiobooks, print books and e-books. You can check out the full list of what I read here. Below are a few of my favorite books, categorized by genre, that I read this year.