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The Innocent Hardcover – April 26, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 425 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Matt Hunter made a mistake when he was 20 years old and paid for it with a four-year stint in prison that left him with a determination never to be locked up again. Finally, his life is back on the promising track he was taking before he accidentally killed a man: He has a good job, a newly pregnant wife he adores, and is about to close on the home of their dreams. Then he gets a couple of bizarre photos on his cell phone that seem to show his wife in a compromising position with a black-haired stranger. But before he can sort out who sent the anonymous pictures and why, he's running from the law--especially from the cop who was his best friend in grade school, and a sharp young detective who's stepped right into the middle of an FBI investigation spurred by the discovery that a dead nun who wasn't who she claimed to be is somehow mixed up in Matt and Olivia Hunter's life. Coben deftly wields a complicated plot involving a missing stripper, a dead gangster, an incriminating videotape, and a couple of agents who aren't quite who they seem to be, while Hunter manages to hold onto his faith in Olivia despite her clouded past and uncertain future. Like all Coben's protagonists, (including the hero of his popular series starring sports agent turned detective Myron Bolitar) Hunter is a nice, middle-class New Jersey boy who's still the innocent of the title, despite the miscarriage of justice that sent him to prison. Or was it? That's the moral question at the heart of this tightly constructed thriller, which will no doubt shoot directly to the top of the bestseller list, and deservedly so. --Jane Adams

Amazon.com Exclusive Content

A Bit of Bolitar: An Exclusive Essay by Harlan Coben

Beloved series character Myron Bolitar appears in a new short story included with Harlan Coben's latest thriller, The Innocent. In this Amazon.com exclusive essay, Coben shares his thoughts on Bolitar's return.

From Publishers Weekly

Coben seems to delight in making bad things happen to good people (Tell No One; Gone for Good; etc.), and he does it again in this, his best book to date. A paralegal, devoted husband and soon-to-be father, Matt Hunter has a not-so-secret past: when he was 20, in an attempt to break up a fistfight, he killed a man and served four years in prison for it. He's been out five years, living in his New Jersey hometown, and life is pretty good. But when his beloved wife, Olivia, goes away on a business trip, he receives 15 seconds of digital video on his camera phone showing her in a hotel room with another man. Meanwhile, Loren Muse, Essex County homicide investigator, is working on an unusual case: an autopsy of a nun reveals breast implants, which hint at a previous, not so holy life. After the FBI is called in, evidence links Matt to the nun killing. Like all of Coben's stand-alone thrillers, this is a long, extremely complex tale with plenty of gunfire, betrayals, late-night chases and good people forced to go on the lam. All the characters have extensive, interesting histories, which makes their actions believable under the extreme circumstances that engulf them. Some readers have felt that Coben has been treading water with his last two outings, but this one should re-establish his credentials. Major ad/promo. (Apr. 26)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; First Edition edition (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525948740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525948742
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (425 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #515,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Harlan Coben is a total master of his craft. In "The Innocent" Coben weaves a very complex plot, populates with believable characters and, at the end, leaves you disappointed that the book has drawn to a close. You want more. More of Matt Hunter, who accidentally killed someone in a college brawl. More of Loren Muse, the intelligent, conflicted investigator who thinks Hunter is involved with current murders. More of Olivia Hunter, Matt's pregnant wife who wants nothing more than an ordinary life. And more of all the characters Coben creates.

He is that good.

The story is not simple. Coben's plotting reminds me of a gnarly tree: it starts at the bottom with a trunk and than branches off with some of the branches intertwining with others. Stories and characters overlap, but not to point of confusion.

Coben is a master. In "The Innocent," he has written a superb mystery thriller. Ordinary people thrown into extraordinary circumstances and doing what they must to survive --- if the bad folks don't kill them first.

Superb.

Jerry
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Format: Hardcover
The first 25 or 30 chapters, Coben had me. Not that his writing is really notable or even that great, but he is a master of drawing you in, then as each chapter ends, he reveals another tiny part of the mystery to propel you in to the next chapter.

That's the good news. The bad news is that this novel basically fizzles out about half way through. Improbable character motivations, unrealistic law enforcement situations, and the ultimate no-no, a convoluted plot that crashes and burns in the end.

I really wanted to like this book but the unbelievable writing ultimately sinks it.
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Format: Hardcover
Those familiar with Harlan Coben's series featuring sports agent sometimes detective Myron Bolitar will delight in this gifted author's latest book, The Innocent. Joining other stand alone books of Mr. oben's like Tell No One and Gone for Good, this book takes its rightful place along with the above mentioned as being a hair raising roller coaster of a read. And one which I imagine most readers will love as I did when Mr. Coben's newest book around the asks the age old question, do we really and truly know the person we're married to. To day this is a really good suspsense book and will have yoru emotions going up and down as the suspsense mounts is an understatemnt.

Matt Hunter is 20 years old when during a vacation from a college vacation, he is involved in a brawl and accidentally kills a college student. Although he ha dlittle do with instigating the fight and merely was trying to help a friend, Matt is found at the scene whiel others scurried away and stands trial for the death of another college student.

While this most likely was an accident and he may be innocent he is found guilty by a jury and is sentenced to spend several years in prison. Needless to say, as a young suburban man, Matt is less than prepared for prison life but manages to stay alive. When he leaves prison four years later he is taken under the wing of his older brother,a laywer with a prestigious NJ firm which eventually hire Matt as a paralegal. But life for Matt as a convicted felon will never be the same.

Now it is nine years later, Matt's brother is dead from a brain

aneurysm and his father is also gone. Matt's mother and

sister live far away but he still helps out his sister in law

and his two nephews.
Read more ›
2 Comments 53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I love Coben, I really do: Tell No One proved formative in my decision to write genre fiction. I've proceeded to gobble up every stand-alone since Tell, but by the time I finished No Second Chance, his third stand-alone, I noticed Coben had employed THE VERY SAME TWIST IN EACH BOOK. Tell No One, Gone For Good, No Second Chance, Just One Look--the big mystery behind each pivoted on the same identical fulcrum. I wondered: "Will he ever try something new?"

Enter The Innocent. I prayed and begged the gods of genre fiction that Coben had learned to flex his creative muscles. I bequeathed them burnt offerings as an intercession on Coben's behalf, that they would let the scales fall from his eyes and grow him to be more than a one-trick pony. Please, I wailed, please let The Innocent be different! No more of the same!

But the gods must hate me.

The Innocent has at its core the same schtick peddled in previous Coben stories which, for the sake of not spoiling your own reading, will not be mentioned in this review. The story had the twists and turns Coben's fans have come to expect, but in the end it seems he's grown quite content to re-gift the same gimmick to us time and again. Not only that, but The Innocent was his second most sloppily-written work behind Just One Look. His description resorts yet again to little more than telling as opposed to showing. The characters are better drawn here than in Look, the ever-present info-dump still frustrates--albeit not as madly as in Look--and the dialogue continues to be embellished and redundant. Furthermore, instances exist when the story FEELS like it's moving forward, but ends up staying in one place till the next chapter or the one after that.
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