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on March 22, 2012
I usually love Coben - the Myron Bolitar books are must reading for me. His stand alone novels have always been winners as well. This book just didn't have that 'can't put this down' feeling.

The story is a simple one - two people affected by an event in the past are on a collision course with the truth. Ray is a down and out photographer who can't get the images of one night seventeen years ago out of his mind. Megan is a soccer mom with a secret past.

When an Atlantic City man goes missing the pattern is just too familiar. The police link the current case to a man who went missing seventeen years before. Following the clues brings together a group of people who share a shady lifestyle and personal secrets.

There were some cliche characters and the writing lacked the snappy, crisp dialogue I have come to expect from Coben. I thought the story bogged down at times.

Just ok.
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I had pre-ordered this for my Kindle several months ago, and I had cleared the deck of my reading material two days before the release as, after all, I didn't want to be in the middle of reading something when it was released.

It was more than well-worth the wait, and probably one of the better Harlan Coben books I have read.

Coben does his usual job with his non-Myron Bolitar series with twists and turns, several things going on at once, then weaving it all into one big plot line: just when you think you have it figured out he hits you with a baseball bat, takes a hard right turn, and brings in a new plot twist that you didn't see coming that leave you with an "a-ha" moment.

One thing that makes Coben stand out (to me at least) is how he can quickly get you into the head of not only the main character, but the supporting cast as well. I don't know how he does it, but you can personally relate to most of the characters as some type of vision of yourself, or extensions of the circle of friends and acquaintances you have in your life.

Kindle purists will probably slam this book for being priced more than $9.99, but believe me when I tell you that you will get more than $9.99 worth of value with this book - I certainly did. Coben has solidified his mastery of the mystery and thriller genre with this title, and I would absolutely love to see more of these standalone thrillers than a continuation of the Bolitar series!
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With the exception of Miracle Cure, I've read all of Coben's adult audience books and enjoyed them all, albeit some more than others. This string of praise-worthy books has come to an end for me with Stay Close.

I won't provide a plot summary as this can be gotten from the Amazon Book Description above. I'll just say that Coben's latest standalone, which is set primarily in Atlantic City and the Pines Barrens in New Jersey, involves the violent intersection of several lives that are overshadowed by past events. Broadly speaking, this plot concept has been used by Coben in several of his other books and, though no longer very original, he succeeded in executing them quite well in the past. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Coben's ability to execute his plot concept in Stay Close left me pretty unfulfilled.

Overall, I consider Stay Close to be just an okay read -- at best. What makes me judge this book as "okay" (and not worse) is attributable to Coben's narrative skills and plot pacing, which kept me turning the pages at a brisk pace from beginning to end. Coben gets a lot credit from me on this point because I felt Stay Close had little else that deserves strong praise. In particular, I felt the plot execution lacked credibility and much excitement, and the characters were mostly thinly developed, unlikable, and failed to make me care what happens to them. And, while on the subject of characters, Coben's Ken and Barbie-like team of professional thugs came across to me as laughable and ridiculous and, as a consequence, unthreatening.

If you've been a long-time, loyal Coben fan you're likely going to want to read this book regardless of my review and other reviews giving Stay Close a three star rating or lower. While I don't think Stay Close is a bad book, it's not one that I'd recommend you rush out to read. I cannot recommend books that are just okay, at best.

I hope this review provides some help in deciding if Stay Close is a book for you.
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on March 28, 2012
As a long-time Harlan Coben fan, I eagerly awaited this book. Sadly it was a huge disappointment. His books have always hooked me right from page one and that didn't happen this time. I found the characters unlikable. Why would an ex-stripper who has pulled herself up out of that hard life find herself missing that? I could not bring myself to care about Megan or root for her in any way. A few times I swore I couldn't read any more but I struggled to stay with it - hoping it would pick up and he would give us some of the old Harlan. But finally I gave up - something I rarely do - especially after spending $15 for the Kindle edition. I just couldn't make myself read any more. I hope Mr. Coben tries again as he has always been my favorite author. Sadly this book just didn't measure up for me.
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on April 8, 2012
Nope, just cannot recommend this Coben. Absolutely and thoroughly disappointed and I was waiting on tenderhooks for the day I could download onto my Kindle Fire. The two main characters were totally unbelievable and unlikeable and his story much too farfetched. Hopefully, Coben hasn't fallen into that trap that far too many authors who rise to the top fall into: they think they can publish anything because their publisher tells them they can. However, it just ain't so because those of us who demand a good story will simply move on to the next new author, i.e. read Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott.
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on August 23, 2012
I recently finished The Woods and No Second Chance by Harlan Coben and liked them so much I decided to try another of his stand alone books. I'm halfway through and decided to check out Amazon reviews because I really can't stomach another page without some encouragement from other readers that might offer me some hope of a reason to go on. The first two chapters were interesting introductions to down-on-his-luck photographer Ray and soccer-mom-with-a-stripper-past Megan, but from there the story devolved into laughable stereotypes, confusing character exposition, and then sickening psychopathic Ken and Barbie came on the scene.........and I'm outta here! I almost never leave a book unfinished, but in this case, I'll make an exception. Sorry Mr. Coben.
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on April 6, 2012
I have been a Harlan Coben fan for years...even after finding out that he and Harry Reid are great friends!!!

I have never been disappointed with his novels..until now. I anxiously awaited this books arrival . I picked it up this morning and started reading. The first 3 chapters, where the main characters are introduced, were underwhelming. As I pushed on thru the chapters, I felt as though I were reading an entry in a "Who Wants to be a Novelist" contest...and I was not reading the winner.

The storyline is stilted, the cast of strippers with golden hearts, AC cops, suburban husbands are one-dimensional and trite. The dialogue is stilted and descriptive phrases just plain silly. I found myself HATING the characters. Not because of the lives that they lead, but because they were BORING, PREDICTABLE and corny.

i could not wait to finish this book just to get it over. You will figure this one out before you finish the first 10 chapters.

Had I been given this book , told to read it and had to guess the author, I NEVER would have come up with Coben.

Not worth the time it takes to read.

Time for some more Bollitar!
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on February 27, 2013
Harlan Coben is my favorite author. I have read all his books and some of them more than once, which is very rare for me. There are hundreds of good writers out there and hundreds of bad ones also, but very few whose books I will read more than once. I have read all the negative reviews of "Stay Close" and totally disagree. This may not be Coben's best book, but it is certainly a very good read. I won't go into any details of what the book is about since there have already been several reviews that do that, but ignore the negative reviews and read the book. This is still the Harlan Coben we all love. If you like the Myron Bolitar series, don't miss "Promise Me". Of his stand alone novels, although they are all great, the best is "Caught".
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VINE VOICEon March 25, 2012
I won't rehash the story here, as you can read that in the book's "product description" on the main page.

I've been a Coben fan for what seems like forever, and he's dependable; he does know how to entertain, and weave a yarn. The Myron Bolitar books are always highly entertaining, but I cut my Coben teeth on his stand-alones; "Tell No One", "Gone For Good", etc.

Tight plots, vivid characterizations, hidden motives, surpise endings... all characteristic of Coben's best works. Plus, there was always some menacing undertone - a certain dissonance - the purpose of which never became clear until the final plot reveal at the end.

That last characteristic is what's missing in this particular work, at least to me.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed reading this book, and found it entertaining. But it wasn't up to the level of his better books. This particular book reads more like an episode of the "Criminal Minds" TV show than one of Coben's masterworks.

It also had a tendency to get draggy periodically, and repetitious, particularly when any of the three lead characters were anguishing over their past mistakes. We need that backstory to flesh out their characters and understand the plot, but there can be too much of a good thing. There is in this book, sadly.

Nonetheless, I can recommend it as light reading fare.
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on April 9, 2012
stay close is the worse harlan corben i've read -- and i've read all his books. i found myself not enjoying it at all and after the first few chapters still wasn't really feeling it, so jumped on to amazon to read the reviews. I'm glad to see i'm not the only one who finds it a disappointment. Generally, when I start one of his books I don't put it down until i'm done. I've been plodding thru this for for the last 5 days and have had to force myself to read it. after seeing these reviews i don't think i'll finish the book. it's not worth my time, and i don't want to lose all respect for mr. coben. everyone has a bad day sometimes -- he must have had a few when he conceived, wrote and sent this off to the publisher! I'm surprised they (editors and publishers) let him get away with such a badly written story.
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