Michael Cavacini

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Archive for the tag “Tell No One”

Book Review: Six Years by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben - Six YearsI recently finished reading Harlan Coben’s new novel, Six Years. I had high expectations because of its excellent early reviews, as well as what I learned during Coben’s recent book signing. I’ve read almost all of the author’s novels, and Six Years is easily one of his best.

As you’ll read in the official synopsis below, this book is focused on the relationship between Jake Fisher and his true love, Natalie. For my money, no author has the ability to create vivid characters and palpable relationships the way Coben does. This story was told in the first person and done so effectively. As I was going through it, I felt just as confused as Jake, wondering what was true and what was false. I also felt his love for Natalie and his anguish over losing her, not to mention the roller-coaster-ride of emotions Jake experienced throughout the rest of the story.

The first Harlan Coben book I read was The Innocent, and it’s my favorite, quickly followed by Tell No One. Six Years is one of Coben’s best novels. It grabbed me from the first page and never let go. Filled with compelling characters and mysterious circumstances, this twisting tale of suspense is a must read.

Synopsis 

Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.

But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for . . . but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for more than a decade, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life—a time he has never gotten over—is turned completely inside out.

As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart—and who lied to him—soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on carefully constructed fiction.

Harlan Coben once again delivers a shocking page-turner that deftly explores the power of past love and the secrets and lies that such love can hide.

Free Preview 

You can read the first chapter of Six Years for free here, and below is an excerpt from the audiobook.

When I Met Harlan Coben

Me & HarlanI recently met one of my favorite thriller writers for the second time: Harlan Coben. With more than 50 million books in print and his last five consecutive novels debuting at the top of The New York Times Bestseller list, Coben is one of the most successful and skillful authors. He rose to fame with Tell No One, which was turned into an award-winning foreign film, and Coben is also well known for his popular Myron Bolitar novels. If you enjoy thrillers or mysteries in any capacity, I urge you to pick up one of his books. They’re tremendous.

But back to the book signing. So there I was at Barnes & Noble with my girlfriend, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Harlan Coben. I was telling her about his sense of humor and how he doesn’t read from his books during these events. My goal was to make sure she understood this was not going to be a boring book signing. Having read three of his books prior to going, I had a feeling she would leave with a greater appreciation of the man and his work.

Book DisplayWhen Harlan was introduced, I cringed as the book seller butchered Myron Bolitar’s name calling the fictional character Byron Molitar. It’s a strange name, no doubt about it. But either she or the person who typed up the sheet she read off of mercilessly destroyed Myron’s name. Who’s to blame? The world may never know.

Upon his arrival, Coben was met with a wave of applause and he shared the good news that Hugh Jackman is set to appear in the film adaptation of his new novel Six Years. Considering the book just came out, I though it was a heck of an accomplishment. Coben went on to say, “Working with Hollywood is like being separated by a barbed-wire fence. I throw the books over and they throw the money over. Then we both run in opposite directions. Until I’m at the movie premiere, I won’t believe it’s real.”

Q&AOne of the most interesting pieces of information to come out of the evening was Coben’s criteria for what makes a good writer. “You need to have three things: inspiration, perspiration and desperation.” By this he meant, first and foremost a writer needs an idea to write about, following by a strong work ethic. Moreover, Coben feels that writers like himself are fearful of “having to work a real job” if their writing fails. This is where the desperation comes in. “I’m not fit to do anything other than write,” Coben said as fits of laughter echoed through the room.

I had the opportunity to ask Coben a question during the Q&A portion of the event, and he graciously answered. It was about his thoughts on audiobooks, and he went on to tell us about his experience narrating one of his own books. “The producer in the studio told me to slow down and that I didn’t understand the characters. I wrote the characters,” Coben said with a chuckle. He also spent a great deal of time with fans signing books, answering questions, listening to their stories and posing for photos. There’s a reason why I go see Harlan Coben when he’s nearby. Not only is he a great author, he’s a great person. Similar to Lisa Scottoline, he’s genuine. If Coben comes to your neck of the woods, make it a point to attend. You’ll enjoy yourself.

Tell No One: A Great Novel And Film

Harlan Coben and me (right) at a book signing for Stay Close in March 2012.

Those who know me well are aware of my love for Harlan Coben’s work. He’s won numerous awards and sold millions of books, but most importantly, he’s a damn good author. While The Innocent is my favorite book of his, maybe because it was my first, Tell No One is arguably his most famous; published in 2001, it was Coben’s first book to appear on The New York Times Bestseller list. In 2006, Tell No One was turned into a hit French film, and Ben Affleck is going to direct the remake for American audiences.

According to the description on Harlan Coben’s website:

“TELL NO ONE is a story of loss and redemption. It begins innocently enough. Dr. David Beck and his beloved wife, Elizabeth, are celebrating the anniversary of their first kiss in the quiet of Lake Charmaine. They grew up together, first kissed at age twelve, and now, twenty-five years old and married less than a year, they return for an idyllic weekend away.

Tragedy shatters their solitude. Elizabeth is abducted and murdered, her body found in a ditch. Her killer is caught and brought to justice. But for David Beck, there can be no closure. Eight years pass. He never gets over Elizabeth’s murder. He loses himself in his work as an inner city pediatrician.

But everything changes on the eighth anniversary of Elizabeth’s death. Two unidentified bodies are found at Lake Charmaine, unearthed years after their deaths. But even more disturbing, Beck gets a bizarre email that mentions a specific phrase – a phrase known only to him and Elizabeth. The email also tells him to click a hyperlink the next day at a specific hour – “kiss time” – 6:15PM.”

Unlike most film adaptations, the movie did a fantastic job of bringing the story to life on the big screen while still remaining faithful to the book. Will Ben Affleck’s version be just as good? Who knows. We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, check out the trailer below for the French film and pick up the book. Both are excellent and worth your time.

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