Thursday, March 18, 2010
Right after I started blogging, I listened to my first Harlan Coban novel, Tell No One. It was an insanely wild ride, with twists and turns that no one could predict, and had I been rating my books at that time, I would have probably given it a 4.5 or 5. In my mind, he certainly established himself as mystery thriller writer with serious chops. My BFF, who was responsible for introducing me to the world of audios years ago, offered to loan me her library copy of this audio, and I didn't have to think twice. My blood pressure could use a little jolt!
Now normally in this portion of my review, I tell you about the plot. That is going to be difficult in this situation, because we had plots coming from every crevice of the story. The story is primarily focused on Tia and Mike Baye, a fairly normal suburban couple, and their children. Adam, their teenage son, has been going through a rough patch since his best friend's suicide, and his parents are concerned. They have even installed a computer program to spy on Adam's computer activities. Then Adam goes missing.
After two or three discs, I began to take notes on all of the plots that develop from chapter to chapter. We have a serial murderer on the loose, abducting, torturing and killing middle-aged women. We peek into the lives of the parents of Adam's friend that killed himself, and their belief there was more to it than just a depressed child. We learn about how a careless comment made by a teacher nearly ruined a young girl's life. About a little boy who needs an organ transplant, and in the process of testing, it is discovered that the child's father is not his biological parent. We enter a world of prescription drug dealing. Holy cow. Coban does manage to tie everything together in the end, but navigating through the maze of storylines became almost distracting. The coincidences and connections that had to occur to pull all the threads together tested my patience with its outlandishness.
The pace was frantic and quite satisfying though. The tension started out high, and continued to steadily build, to the point where you couldn't help but compulsively listen. Coban also introduces not only heart-racing action, but some philosophical issues that will hit close to home in the heart of any parent. What right does a child have to his or her privacy? Are you willing to jeopardize trust with your child to ensure their safety? Is there such a thing as parent over-involvement in their children's lives, thereby smothering them and not allowing them to rebel as all teenagers do?
The beauty about Coban's writing, if I may be so bold to judge after two of his books, is that he infuses passion into his words. Loss of a spouse, loss of a child, trying to do right by your family, making tough decisions...it has never been better expressed than through his novels. It is clear that Coban is writing what he knows and what he feels. The emotion is palpable. Throw in some intrigue and murder most foul, and this is the package you are handed.
Put all that through the wine press, and you get another solid thriller with substance. It wasn't perfect, but worth your time. Just bring your compass.
4 out of 5 stars