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4.4 out of 5 stars173
4.4 out of 5 stars
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I had never heard of Harlen Coben until this book was recommended to my by the Amazon "I will sell you stuff" recommendation system. What I found was a well written, entertaining, riviting and thoroughly gripping book. Now that's high praise from me as I'm not a big fan of crime fiction, but I really enjoyed the structure of the book. It may be that I'm new to Coben's style of writing but I liked the way that multiple interlocking story lines were played out in real time in the book and I liked the characterisation that he gave to the characters. I had worked out quite a few of the plot lines before they were laid out bare for us, but that doesn't destract from the quality of the story telling (surely the author should scatter clues throughout the novel and if you pick enough of them up then you should be able to work out where the plat is going). There we several twists in the story and a breathless finish....
Now that I have discovered Coben, unfortuanately for my bank balance, I am going to have to get some more!
I really enjoyed this 9/10
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on 10 February 2006
I think that it is safe to say that Harlan Coben is one of the best suspense writers of our time, and obviously as a winner of the Edgar, Shamus and Anthony awards I am not the only one who thinks so. In his latest novel `THE INNOCENT' we are introduced to Matthew Hunter a man who, because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, spent four years of his life in a maximum-security prison for murder. Nine years later he is happily married to a beautiful woman named Olivia and they are expecting their first child. Finally Matt is beginning to let go of his past and look forward to his future with Olivia until he receives pictures on his camera phone that are meant to lead him to believe that his wife is having an affair. But as we know with any book written by Coben things aren't always what they seem. As Matt searches for clues as to why these pictures of his wife in a hotel room with another man were sent to him his life begins to spiral out of control and his past mistakes as well as the mistakes of others come back to haunt him. Because once you are an ex-con no one ever looks at you the same and as the body count begins to rise all suspicions are directed toward one Matthew Hunter.
`THE INNOCENT' is non-stop action and will have you turning the pages so quickly your fingers will burn. Every character is strong and well developed and the story is thoroughly engrossing. So you may be wondering why with all of this high praise did I only give it 4 stars? Well, while I knew to expect Coben's signature twist at the end, I thought that maybe there was just one twist to many in this ending. Just as in Coben's previous thriller `JUST ONE LOOK' I thought that the ending got a little complicated, but overall I loved this book just as I do all books Harlan Coben. I am sure that you will not be disappointed with this latest by Coben whether you are a long time fan or a first time reader, 4 ½ stars!
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on 24 May 2006
Matt Hunter went to prison nine years ago after a brawl at a frat party that went bad. Now an ex-con, he lives in New Jersey with his newly pregnant wife. After she leaves on a short business trip, he gets a call on his cell phone from his wife. It's a picture of a man waving at him. Then a minute later, he receives another call. This time, it's video footage of a woman who looks like his wife in a blonde wig sitting on a hotel bed. Is his wife cheating on him? She won't return his calls, and then he notices someone is following him. Thus begins an outstanding thriller. It's fast pace never lets up, and the reader is always caught off guard. Revelation after revelation and you're still stunned. But, as with all Harlan Coben thrillers, it all fits nicely into place in the end. This is truly one of the best thrillers I've read. It's right up there with my favorite thriller of all: Coben's "Tell No One." Highly recommended!
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on 26 February 2010
I am a big fan of Harlan Coben and this adventure was no exception to the rule.
A fascinating story which intertwined a number of different strands together in a hugely engaging way.
It's about a guy called Matt Hunter, whose life was ruined by an incident in his 20's when got into a fight outside a party and accidentally killed someone.
He ended up spending 4 years in jail which, hardly suprisingly, changed him enormously.
When he got out of jail he got a job in a law firm where his highly successful brother worked.
He also married a beautiful woman called Olivia who we discover has become pregnant.
On a seemingly innocent (pardon the pun) decsion to buy matching camera phones Matt receives a strange video message on his phone and realises that something is very wrong.
He hires a spunky PI (a known associate) to help and they discover that an ex-con on his tail.
Then a number of seemingly unconnected events occur.
The death of a nun in a nearby convent which at first looks perfectly innocent appears to be the result of murder.
However circumstances seem to connect her to Matt, who had no known association with her at all.
The police start to piece bits of evidence together and keep tabs on Matt.
Loren Muse is one of them who has featured in other Coben books such as The Woods.
Suddenly his wife, who is alledegly on a business trip, is nowhere to be found not least where she says she's supposed to be.
And then someone seems to be following him, harassing him - threatening his new-found life and happiness.
What Matt doesn't know is that he is indirectly tied to events that occurred almost a decade ago.
The connection is one that neither he nor the reader will ever suspect.
All in all this book keeps you riveted until the very end and the result does not disappoint.
I have only two more of his books to read so I hope Harlan will up his output in future!
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on 12 April 2005
I have read all of Harlen Coben novels starting of with "Tell No One" which was one of the best books ive read ever. I was hoping this book would carry off in a similar vane and it didnt disappoint at all. An absolutely absorbing read from start to finish. The characters are so well defined and the story telling is masterful. Get it immediately. You will not be disappointed. Coben deserves every accolade that has been bestowed upon him and more!!!
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on 20 November 2007
A scary rollercoaster of a book, dont start this until you have a day or so spare as everything else is put on the back burner. Your never quite sure what is going to happen next, the book is so fast and I didnt guess the ending. My first Harlan Coben book but certainly not the last.
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on 16 March 2006
I've been a fan of Harlan Coben's books ever since reading 'Tell No One' several years ago, and they always prove to be a good read with a good deal of suspense (albeit not exactly literary masterpieces). However its fair to say that, to a large extent, he's been treading the old 'missing person/not who they seemed to be' routine for most of his subsequent books (perhaps trying to live up to the aforementioned 'tell no one' which was indeed gripping). This one is a little different, as it's more about unraveling a plot against the lead characters. I always enjoy his books, as I say, and would recommend this one, but it's more light reading/ filling in time in the airport etc rather than sitting down to read an amazing book, hence the three stars.
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on 25 October 2005
As a fan of Rankin and having tired of James Patterson I first read Tell No One a true belter which whilst this latest is written in a very similar fashion is still as gripping. Prolific as Harlan Coben is it's proving a problem when his books encourage you to read the whole thing in 1 sitting. The chapters and in this one stories told from different characters are written in just large enough bites to keep you "just" reading the next one.
Although I enjoyed the Myron Bolitar series these stand alone books show that Coben has much more in his arsenal than Patterson's Alex Cross. If you haven't read any of Coben's books you are in for a treat as after reading this you are going to be able and want to explore an impressive back catalogue.
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on 31 January 2006
As with all the Harlen Coben's books I have read, this was fantastic. I finished it in one sitting, I really just couldn't put it down. There are so many twists and turns that leave you guessing right until the very end.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 September 2009
Ten years ago Matt Hunter killed a man - accidentally, and in a fight where he and his pal were greatly outnumbered, but he still served time for eight years in the penitentiary. Since then he's met up with an old sweetheart, got married and his lovely wife is now pregnant. They are planning to move into a newly built house in the neighbourhood where Matt grew up. The penitentiary changes a man, of course, and he now looks on his present state as incredible luck rather than just what people ordinarily do. And then he gets the first phone call setting him on a course where everything in his life is going to be turned upside down.

There are surprises and reverses aplenty in this taut, exciting crime thriller. Coben is good at seeing the humanity behind strippers, crooked FBI men, people living a lie - but some men are beyond reclamation. This seems to be the message here, though it is muddied and muddled by the dark alleys of the psyche that some seem forced to negotiate. Readable, tightly plotted and ambiguous, this succeeds in its one-way street to redemption for some, but not others. Good and tricksy all the way.
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