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Harlan Coben and Myron Bolitar


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Of the many murder mystery writers around, Coben is well worth your time - and probably needs no introduction from me.

This author is just great - although his actual name is somewhat a mystery in itself. Sometimes he is listed as above, other times as Harlen Corben or Harlan Coban!

Whatever - I have gone by the name on the book covers.

Although his writing is not limited to the Myron Bolitar series, they were my first introduction to him as a crime writer.

After a basketball career cut short in the first year of being drafted due to a career ending injury Bolitar runs a sports agency called MB SportsReps based in New York along with his former college room mate Win Lock-Horne and Esperanza Diaz.

Diaz is a former female wrestler whilst Win is the most interesting character of the three coming from a privileged and very wealthy white background. He is also a complete psychopath and prone to using extreme violence whenever he feels it necessary. This device of having a “dubious" (sic) friend to the main protagonist is also found in Dennis Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro novels) and one or two others, which I can't think of at the moment - but it adds a frisson of lethal interest.

Coben writes well. His protagonists hold our interest, his plots are twisting and neatly unpredictable and he has maintained a consistently high standard throughout the series without resort to contrivance.

A best selling author (Edgar Award, Agatha Award, Shamus Award) Coben has an accessible style - in both his Bolitar novels and the non-Bolitar books.

I am currently reading (Dec 08) “Hold Tight" - which is holding me glued to the page - quite different than the Bolitar series - yet as good.

In “Hold Tight" he juxtaposes four parallel plots around a central idea brimming with contemporary anxiety. What is a child's right to privacy and what is a parent's right to know? And when it comes to your children, is it possible to know too much? Tia and Mike Bye install a sophisticated spy program on their 16-year-old son's computer and discover their community has tragic secrets. Coben's plots are labyrinthine but they are never implausible.

No one does the “what if this happened to me" narrative with more energy.

Back Spin; Darkest Fear; Deal Breaker; Drop Shot; Fade Away; Gone For Good; Hold Tight; Just One Look; No Second Chance; One False Move; Promise Me Tell No One; The Final Detail; The Innocent; The Woods

Peter Damien Ryan


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