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The Woods might just be the best thing Coben has written. . . . A gripping story, filled with fine characters and dark secrets. Chicago Sun-Times
Gripping. . . . The characters are authentic, the writing spare, and the courtroom drama so riveting. Boston Sunday Globe
Harlan Coben has been keeping me awake at night. . . . I devoured his latest bestseller The Woods. . . . Fortunately you wont have to worry about navigating impenetrable woods. Coben is the perfect guide, clearing all the hurdles with maximum speed and efficiency. The Orlando Sentinel
Harlan Coben is the bestselling author of sixteen previous novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers "Long Lost" and "Hold Tight." Winner of the Edgar Award, the Shamus Award, and the Anthony Award, Coben lives in New Jersey with his family.
Harlan Coben has a tendency to create mulitiple plot threads that never seem like they will ever come together. This book is no exception.
In his new book, Coben, explores a problem in today's society. Privacy. He explores how the internet changed everything. Now, that anyone can post anything they want about you and there isn't much you can do.
At the center of these themes is the Baye family (pronounced "by"). Mike and Tia have recently installed a spy program to keep an eye on their sixteen-year-old son, Adam. They do this after a friend of Adam has recently commited suicide. After a cryptic IM, Mike tries to keep Adam home but then he runs away. So begins the search for the teenager. The search takes Mike into the seedy part of the Bronx.
Meanwhile, a killer is at large and killing what seems to be random women. The reason behind it all will keep you guessing until the end. Also, a patient of Mike and his partner needs a kidney transplant and the mother holds a devestating secret. A father tries to come to terms with the fact that he cannot keep his daughter from harm after a popular teacher embarrasses her in class. We also see the police working the killer's case.
All threads converge very nicely into a sweet bow. Some are a little too forced but all in all, the suspense never relents and Coben once again keeps you guessing until the very end when the final secret is revealed.
Harlan Coben specializes in writing intricate and suspenseful mysteries that keep you turning pages late into the night. His first (and to my mind, his best) standalone murder mystery was "Tell No One". Since then he has written several more novels which have been increasingly similar in plot. I was pleasantly surprised that "Hold Tight" marks a departure in formula, in that it doesn't center on an ancient murder case or the long ago disappearance of a family member. While this does mean that the book struggles a little to find its own momentum, at least Coben is trying something different instead of giving us more of the same.
"Hold Tight" juggles a number of different stories, all of which in some way center on the theme of parents trying to protect and/or understand their children. While initially they seem to be quite disparate plotlines, eventually the connections between them become apparent and it is this process of putting the jigsaw pieces together that is the most satisfying part of reading "Hold Tight". One of the things that I really like about Harlan Coben's writing is that there are never any loose ends or things that get left unexplained.
"Hold Tight" is a little slower in pace than his other novels and at times it gets confusing keeping track of so many people, but it's still is a satisfying mystery that keeps the suspense going right until the final pages.
I have read all of Harlan Coben's books - I was totally addicted to Myron, Win & Esperanza and at first, was disappointed that his new books did not include these favorite characters. But once I read the first non-Myron book, I had a different opinion about Coben's literary skills. I believe he not only develops interesting and pertinent plots and subplots, but does so with a commanding literary skill. I do not believe the Myron books were as skillfully written as his recent books.
I could not put this book down once I started reading. It took hold within the first pages and I felt this is the best book he has written. I especially like how he develops subplots that seamlessly come together until there is only one plot. I also like the way he chose a topic that is very prevalent to every parent today - internet, text messaging. Before the advent of this technology it was easier to keep track of your child/teenager without totally invading their privacy. With this technology, it becomes almost impossible to know what your child is doing. I can't wait for his next book! or the TV series being developed on Myron.
Hold Tight is definitely one of Harlan Coben's top three books -- and it may be his best yet! It is a book that grabs your attention from page one and never lets go until the last word on the last page. Hold Tight is largely plot-driven, although Coben's characters are mostly interesting and ones that people, and particularly parents, will be able to relate to. They are not characters, however, whose visual profiles came strongly to life for me. Further, if you have read Coben's Myron Bolitar series, I think you'll consider the characters of Mike Baye and his friend Mo to be pretty reminiscent of his characters, Myron Bolitar and his friend, Win. As I said, the strength of this book is its plot, not its character development. But what a plot it is! Basically, the book revolves around two story lines: (1) Mike Baye and his wife trying to deal with the increasing withdrawal of their 16-year-old son after a friend's suicide, and (2) a pair of brutal, seemingly unrelated killings, which serve to highlight the domestic troubles that ensue and draw the Baye family, their friends and neighbors in a sea of tragedy. In addition to Hold Tight's exciting plot, Coben wraps the story around the following highly relevant ethical questions that most parents have to wrestle with: How do you weigh a child's privacy against a parent's right to know? How do you differentiate normal teenage rebelliousness from out-of-control behavior? When and how do you intervene if suicidal signs appear? Be prepared to put off whatever you were planning to do once you start Hold Tight, as you won't want to put this book down. I highly recommend Hold Tight to all readers of exciting, suspenseful plot-driven thrillers.
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