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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

"Hold tight" by Harlan Coben

At the start of this book I was hooked by the ordinariness of the people involved and the dilemmas. We have a hot shot doctor married to a hot shot lawyer worried about their teenage son who is secretive and seems depressed following the suicide of his mate. So they put spyware onto his computer and start worrying about the strange emails he is receiving. These are dilemmas thoroughly rooted in reality. Other everyday situations involve their daughter's best friend who is being bullied at school following a foolish remark from a teacher, the son of the next door neighbour who is critically ill, and the parents of the lad who has killed himself who are splitting apart in their grief. There is a huge amount of potential drama here.

There is also a horrid man touring around in a white van beating women to death. He is a psychopath who gains pleasure from hurting people although his primary motive is that he is trying to extract information. At this stage it became difficult to suspend disbelief.

But a good whodunnit is a good puzzle. Don't worry about the stereotyped characters: the psychopath, the weak but enthusiastic teacher, the aggressive female lawyer who bullies everyone, the successful doctor who used to be an all-star hockey player, the brilliant policewoman and her colleague, the careless, should-have-been-retired-years-ago detective, the panoply of emo goths that represent America's youth.

But a good whodunnit is a good puzzle. There's always a twist right at the end. It's a shame that this twist involves someone who was given an alibi on page 270; an alibi that was never subsequently queried. Which I think is unfair to the reader.

Nevertheless, this book is written with Coben's usual energy. An even better book by Coben reviewed in this blog is Gone for Good.

Three great lines:

  • "For some reason, hurting strangers seemed worse. We all hurt those we love, don't we? But it was bad karma to hurt the innocent." (p 3)
  • "when you're busy you don't think of what should have been." (p 132)
  • "Maybe it is society, not war, that forces man to act in a way that's not in his true nature." (p 329)

March 2018; 432 pages

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