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Just One Look Mass Market Paperback – April 26, 2005

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Just One Look + The Innocent + Gone for Good: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 1ST edition (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451213203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451213204
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Just one look at Coben's latest stand-alone thriller (after No Second Chance) highlights the author's customary strengths (swift pacing, strong lead characters) but also his weaknesses, including limited originality and, in this case, a plot so complicated that many final pages are devoted to sorting it out. The premise is simple enough: suburban housewife Grace Lawson collects some pictures at the local Photomat; inexplicably, one is an old print depicting her husband, Jack, with other college students; when Grace shows the photo to Jack, he drives away-and disappears. Grace's hunt for her missing husband, whom we learn has been kidnapped (but why? and Coben fans will note that the author's last novel also hinged on a kidnapped family member), sweeps her back into a nightmare she thought she'd escaped: the evening years ago when she survived a rock concert rampage, occasioned by a shooting that left many dead. Meanwhile, Eric Wu, a-dare we say?-inscrutable martial-arts killer who has snatched Jack for reasons unknown, menaces assorted folk. Eventually Grace, aided by a Gotti-like mobster whose child was killed in the rampage, gloms on to Wu, as well as on to Jack's sister, a high-powered attorney who, it turns out, is representing the guy who started the rampage by firing his gun. Only he didn't start the rampage after all, and then there's the rock star who vanished after the shooting and resultant mayhem-what's he now doing on Grace's doorstep? This is all as complicated as a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle and about as hard to figure out, although in the midst of the murk there are some wonderful character touches. Coben can write thrillers that lift readers off their seats; this one, alas, will have them slumping.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

If the trick of suspense writing is to get readers to identify so passionately with the beleaguered principal character that they disappear into the story, feeling the knife points of tension themselves, then Coben is the Houdini of the form. Coben, who has won the Trifecta of mystery writing--the Edgar, the Anthony, and the Shamus Awards--likes to burst the bubble of suburban security by having his characters' well-ordered, happy lives upended in ways that mirror readers' fears. In his four stand-alone thrillers, the past comes back to bite or haunt the protagonist, or the present vanishes in one fatal moment. In this latest excursion into the dark, a suburban mother finds one picture that does not belong in the pack of family outing photos she's just picked up. The picture, showing a group of college students, seems as if it was taken 20 years ago. One of the group looks like her husband. A girl in the group has an X drawn across her face. When Mrs. Happily Married shows the picture to her husband, he seems shaken, then leaves home. Coben ratchets up the suspense of the wife trying to find her husband with another drama, that of a serial killer in the neighborhood. A tragic accident from the woman's past intersects with her husband's secrets and the movements of the killer in ways that are satisfyingly creepy. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Harvey Kojan on February 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After a sleepless night gobbling up my first Coben novel, "The Innocent," I rushed out and bought this one. And once again I was compelled to finish it in one day. Yes, the criticisms of other reviewers are valid. The plot is confusing and contrived, and the ending leaves you somewhat flat. Many characters aren't fully fleshed out. However, Coben does an excellent job with Grace and Charlaine, two strong, resourceful women. I was moved by his dead-on depictions of the special love parents have for their children. And his numerous pop culture references ring true. Most important, "Just One Look" is an exciting read that's impossible to put down ... which, in the end, is job one when writing an escapist mystery.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By SDRTX on October 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Grace Lawson has a good life, a devoted husband, two lovely children, a nice home and a successful career as an artist. One day she discovers a twenty-year old photograph in with a set of newly developed family photographs. In the old photo is a group of young people, one of which looks like her husband. Her husband, Jack, denies that it is he, but he shortly disappears. The police are no help so she delves into Jack's past herself and finds that she really did not know her husband at all. Grace also has a past. She is a survivor of a stampede at a rock concert known as The Boston Massacre. After being nearly crushed to death, Grace became the poster child for the news media. In Grace's search for her husband she discovers that her past and his past are intertwined.

Harlan Coben tells an intriguing story that is as complex as a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, but never confusing. There are many twists and turns along the way with a nice surprise ending. It is an engrossing book and was very hard to put down.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. L. Dollar on May 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This was the first Harlan Coben book I have read and after reading some of the reviews on this site, I have decided that if they thought this was not one of his best than I can hardly wait to read his other stuff. I thought this was one of the best books I have read in a while, and I am normally a very disciplined reader and can put down a book at any time and I found myself reading this at stop lights (I was almost done and driving to work)which is something I have never done before.

I found this book to be compelling, interesting and different. When you always have at least three books going, (book on tape in car, one in my handbag, and one on my nightstand) to find a new author that writes this well is exciting.
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60 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Brian Reaves TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Having seen Harlan Coben's name on the covers of novels for years, I finally broke down and decided to read one. Unfortunately, I didn't pick the right one to start with.
JOL starts out well enough. There is a good mystery, and it definitely keeps you interesting. Then things start to unravel. The truth starts coming out, and bit by bit the story starts becoming more far-fetched. By the time this one is over, you'll be sitting there scratching your head and wondering why your name was left out of this book...after all, everyone else in the world was apparently in on this deception. The closest I can come to explaining this is a soap opera. As the end was revealed, it was like "Your brother-in-law's second cousin's third wife's stepmother was married to my twice-removed uncle's niece's third child's grandson". It was just too far out to be real.
I love a complex story as much as the next guy, but even the most complex plot needs to have SOME grounding in reality--unless it's a Dean Koontz or Stephen King kind of thing. This one just stretchs the believability too far.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Craobh Rua on June 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Harlan Coben was born in New Jersey in 1962 and is best known for his Myron Bolitar novels. "Just One Look", however, is one of his was stand-alone novels, and was first published in 2004.

Although Grace Lawson is a well-known artist, she's better remembered for an incident known as the 'Boston Massacre'. Fifteen years before the book opens, Grace was in the front pit for a a Jimmy X concert - a show that had been due to start at 8:30pm. The crowd are, obviously, a little agitated when it hits midnight and there's still no sign of the singer. Unfortunately, at that point, things move a little beyond agitation when three shots are fired. The resulting mayhem eighteen people dead and Grace, briefly, in a coma - with a variety of injuries. A year later, she movea to France to study art and meets Jack Lawson there - the man who was to become her husband. It had been love at first sight for the pair, though each kept their secrets : Grace couldn't really talk about the concert (her memories were still a little fuzzy), while Jack had a falling-out with his family - the details of which he was also reluctant to share.

Grace and Jack returned to America, shortly after Grace fell pregnant with their first child. (Emma is now eight, while their more recent addition, Max, is six). Her troubles start as she picks up some freshly-developed photographs from a family day out - when she discovers a photo she didn't take in her packet. At first she thinks someone else's photo has accidentally been sorted into hers - but then she suspects it's been placed there on purpose...There are five people in the photo and, judging by the quality of the print,and the style of dress, it was taken around fifteen years ago.
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