Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hold Tight - Harlan Coban (audio)


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

24 comments:

Nymeth said...

It does sound like there's a whole lot going on in this book! I'm glad he does make it all work together in the end. Sounds like a fantastic read.

Melody said...

Very intriguing! I've yet to read any of his books so I'll have to check them out.

Staci said...

I like Coban's writing and have never tried him on an audio. Now that the weather is getting nice again I'm outside walking and this may be a great one to put on my iPod!

farmlanebooks said...

I still haven't read anything by Harlan Coben, but have a copy of Tell No One here. I will have to make an effort to pick it up one day - I do love a good thriller!

caite said...

again...why have I read none of his books? I guess I will have to do something about that.

Anna said...

It sounds interesting, but there are more than enough plots to make you dizzy!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Julie P. said...

Sounds good, but I think I'd have to read it to keep everything straight.

Andreea said...

Never heard of it, but that's what I like about your blog. I always find something new to discover since you introduce me to new authors!

Molly said...

I just love reading your reviews! They are well written, highly informative, and always sprinkled with a healthy dose of humor!

I have not read one of Coban's books, but with your tagline "Put all that through the wine press, and you get another solid thriller with substance." --- how could I resist adding this to the TBR list??

bermudaonion said...

I'm listening to my first Harlan Coban right now. It's Long Lost and it's narrated by actor Steven Weber. He is a great narrator. So far, I'm enjoying the snarkiness, so I'll probably be reading more of Coban's wokr.

The Bumbles said...

Coban has his die hard fans. Some guy came up to Andy at the airport because he saw he was reading a Coban book and just started blabbering away about his books and how awesome and heart pounding they are. Andy enjoys them. I haven't tried them yet.

Kathleen said...

I loved Tell No One and this one sounds good too. I think I have it on my shelves at home...sad that I don't know that for sure. I am reading Long Lost by Coben right now and so far (and I am only 50 pages in) am a bit disappointed!

Kay said...

I've read Coban's Myron Bolitar mysteries but have never read any of his standalones. This one sounds promising. You write a good review, Sandy. And a funny one. :-)

Alyce said...

You lost me at "serial killer on the loose." :) Those kinds of books freak me out too much. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one though.

Jenners said...

I like Coben ... he is a good solid thriller writer.

Have you read Greg Iles? I like his books too ... thrillers with some thought to the ... and not just serial killers either.

Alice Teh said...

Hi Sandy, I've been contemplating Coban for some time. Your review makes me want to check him out.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I listened to this on audio last year (or year before, not sure which) and I absolutely loved it! Great review, as always!

S. Krishna said...

I liked this one - I read it in print last year (or the year before? I don't exactly remember), and it definitely made me want to read more of his books.

SuziQoregon said...

Harlan Coben has been one of my favorites for years. I started with his Myron Bolitar series before he ever wrote any standalones. He is a writer that my husband also enjoys so I buy the books for him to read when I'm done.

I'm not sure I would have been able to follow this one on audio - I tend to do my audiobook listening in short 10-15 minute driving around town increments.

Darlene said...

Oh yes, I remember this one. It was quite good. I really enjoy Coban's writing.

Beth F said...

I have this on my mp3 player (how many times have I said that?) and I really need to get to it.

ds said...

Harlan Coban is something of a local hero in these parts. But since when does your blood pressure need a boost (especially after the Lehane book)? Love the wine-press analogy. Great review!

Zibilee said...

Though it sounds like there is a lot going on in this book, it does sound like something I'd like to read. I haven't tried anything by Coban as of yet. Is this the place to start? Very thoughtful review, I am glad that it was such a good experience for you!

Literary Feline said...

I've only read one book by Coben and I was really impressed. I've met him a couple of times now and he's such a fun and nice man. I look forward to reading more by him. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Sandy.