Book Review - Jackie K Cooper
HOME by Harlan Coben
There are a million reasons why I like books by Harlan Coben. One, he is a consistent writer. Some authors have a good book and then it is all downhill. Not Harlan. If anything, each novel seems better than the one before it. Two, he writes about people we can relate to in a variety of ways. Several of his books have been about Sports Attorney Myron Bolitar. Myron is a straight shooter who cares about his family, first and foremost, and others whose paths cross his. Third, Cohen's books have heart. His characters get under your skin. When something bad happens to them we cringe, and when something good happens to them we exalt.
HOME is Coben's first Myron Bolitar book in quite a while. He has been keeping himself busy writing stand alone stories. The closest we got to a Myron adventure was when he played small roles in Coben's' young adult series about Myron's nephew Mickey. In HOME we get the best of both worlds. Myron is the star of HOME but Mickey and his gang are strong supporting players.
The basic plot of HOME concerns two boys who were abducted at age six. They have not been seen or heard from in ten years. Then suddenly one of them is spotted in London by Myron's friend Win. Win is related to the mother of one of the boys so he has a personal interest in searching for the now sixteen year olds. He contacts Myron and asks him to to join in the search.
Win is Myron's best friend but they do not live by the same codes. Myron is a fighter but a fair one; Win is a do whatever it takes type of guy. There are things Win does that he never explains to Myron because he knows Myron would never accept them. Myron doesn't ask Win about certain things because he knows he wouldn't like the answers.
The word "home" refers to many things in this book. It refers to friendship and the warmth it brings. It also is a physical place where you can be yourself and be loved for being yourself. And finally it means finding answers to secrets that have kept one feeling isolated and adrift. Coben takes all of these definitions and blends them together to make this an exciting but reflective story. There is an element of brutality in some parts, but elsewhere there are warm and fuzzy moments. Neither is used in the extreme.
Coben writes with a style that relates the story in a progressive manner, but he also manages to bring together his characters' emotions from the past, present and future. In HOME, Myron is trying to solve a mystery involving a heinous crime - the abduction of two children. Still Coben manages to introduce some of the most tender moments he has ever written about Myron's relationship with his parents. He also provides this story with one of the best endings he has ever conceived.
There is much to be said of Coben's skills but the best is his consistency. He is not just good in the writing of each of his novels, he is excellent in the writing of each of his novels. HOME once again proves this case.
HOME is published by Dutton. It contains 400 pages and sells for $28.00.
Jackie K Cooper
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