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Thursday 22 January 2015

‘Missing You’ by Harlan Coben

Published by Dutton,
March 18, 2014.
ISBN 978-0-525-95349-4 (USA)
By Orion Fiction,
10 April 2014.
ISBN: 978-1-4091-4460-1 (UK)
As Harlan Coben’s newest blockbuster novel opens, Kat Donovan’s best friend, Stacy, who runs a p.i. agency, tells Kat that she’s bought her a one-year subscription to an online dating service.  It’s been eighteen years sine Kat’s then-fiancé broke up with her, and she’s never allowed herself to really get involved with anyone else.  Kat, 40 years old and the third generation in her family to be a cop with the NYPD, soon finds herself checking out the site, and is stunned to discover there the face and profile of her long-lost almost-husband.  Needless to say, she’s never gotten over him, and responds to his on-line invitation.

The break-up of her engagement is not the only thing Kat is grieving over and about which she has never found ‘closure,’ the other being her detective father’s murder many years before.  The man who is serving a life sentence for the killing is now critically ill in the hospital, and Kat’s last chance to identify the man who paid for the killing, a big-time crime boss, so that the cops can finally put him away, is slipping away. 

Back at the precinct house, Kat is approached by Brandon Phelps, a young man who specifically seeks her out, asking for help in finding his mother, who apparently has vanished, with no contact in several days, something that has never happened before, and Kat agrees to investigate.

The author introduces, in the second chapter, another character, Gerard Remington by name, but any link to Kat and her personal and professional problems does not become known until about one-third of the way into the book.  And the real significance of Remington is not more fully disclosed until well after that.  The connection among all these threads is one that will have readers turning pages ever more quickly, even more so as the novel races to its conclusion.  As with every Harlan Coben novel, it is cleverly plotted, with wonderfully well-drawn characters, including “Aqua,” Kat’s yoga teacher, a “cross-dressing schizophrenic gay man.”  The surprises don’t stop, and the pulse-pounding denouement is terrific.  (And I loved the author’s tip of the hat to fellow mystery writer Parnell Hall.)

Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Gloria Feit

Harlan Coben was born  4 January 1962 in Newark, New Jersey. He was the first ever author to win all three major crime awards in the US. He is now global bestseller with his mix of powerful stand-alone thrillers and Myron Bolitar crime novels. He has appeared in the bestseller lists of The Times, the New York Times, Le Monde, Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.

Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.

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