Harlan Coben


"Coben is skilled at developing his characters and giving them many facets..."


17 year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate - and nationally televised - sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined...

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As with so many other books at the moment, it would seem that the zeitgeist is to involve popular social web sites either in the crimes themselves or the solving of them, and after a while this can become a little tiresome and worn. Yet again, Facebook plays a starring role in a novel whereas most readers I believe prefer to rely on good old fashioned detective work, or using the computer solely for databases or reference. Coben is skilled at developing his characters and giving them many facets, but I did think that one of the main characters was almost superfluous to the story. The plot itself was very intricate, almost too intricate although there was a very good twist at the end. Because this is written by Coben, there is a distinct, and professional style to it, but overall I did feel a little let down. There was a lack of his usual twists and although right until the end there was a question of who committed the crime, was the right person punished, it was certainly not on the same level of his other stand alone thrillers. For a Coben fan you will enjoy the book, but for an introduction to this author, I would start with his excellent thriller, 'Tell No One'.

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