Saturday, September 18, 2010

If Harlan Coben writes it... I will read it.

Sometimes you come across authors that snatch you up and carry you easily into their novels. Harlan Coben didn't snatch, he completely ensnared me. I have read every book he's written since finding the first one at our local Library book sale.

He can't write fast enough to make me happy.

I just finished reading Caught and it's definitely another Harlan Coben winner. I loved the twists and turns in this suspenseful book. He never seems to travel in the direction most authors would and nothing is ever what it seems. I always agree with his endings and like where he finishes up.

Caught is his 17th book.

In Caught a young girl vanishes from her home, people lose their reputations, some die, and some persevere. There is evil, some misguided, and good, sometimes accidental. The characters are human and react in ways that may surprise the reader. Things are never clear-cut in Coben's novels, Caught is no exception.

You get as much out of Coben's books as you're willing to put into them. You can read it as a straight mystery / thriller, or you can use it as a springboard to look into your own soul. What would you do to protect your family? What choices would you make if faced with a crisis in college? when established? How loyal would you be to your friends? Would you trust your instincts over the facts placed in front of you?

Life isn't neat and Coben's books show just how messy it can be, albeit for most of us we'll never, hopefully, encounter the situations his characters run into. We will probably judge others in those situations though. He develops the characters like building blocks, adding layer upon layer until you are inside their head seeing the world through their eyes.

I confess that I finished reading Caught in one evening. I stayed up until bleary eyed as I couldn't sleep wondering what would happen on the next page. Usually when I do that I end up reading the book again a few months later. I find it fun to re-read a book knowing the ending. I see all the little hints and nuances that lead to the conclusion.

It's not necessary to read Coben's books in order, although with some they build on past books. I started reading his books in the middle of the pack, then went back and picked up some earlier books, read some at the end, then back toward the middle. It didn't change my enjoyment of the books.

Shoot, I may have to start a hardback collection of his books. I usually read paperbacks because I am an abuser of books. I read them while cooking, while eating, and carry them stuffed into my messy purse. I turn page corners to save my place and break the spines when I prop them open with whatever is handy. I try to treat hardbacks a little better!

If you like mystery, suspense, thrillers, twists and turns, you'll love Harlan Coben's writing. I would love to have a Win (Windsor Horne Lockwood III) in my life, character flaws and all.

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