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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great start to the Myron Bolitar Series
I have read one of Harlan Coben's stand alone novels, albeit some time ago, and wanted to start at the beginning of his very popular series of books featuring Myron Bolitar. When I started this book, it didn't take me more than a few chapters to fall head over heels for the character Myron. One of the reasons for this is the element of his character that is witty and...
Published on 29 Jun. 2011 by Best Crime Books

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Harlan Coben Lite
I have read all of Harlan Coben's standalone novels but this is the first that I have read in the Myron Bolitar series. Deal Breaker takes a familiar Harlan Coben plot (cue a long missing, presumed dead sister who appears to be sending messages from the grave) but employs a lighter, almost Elmore Leonard/Carl Hiassen style tone. It's a disconcerting blend which obviously...
Published on 7 April 2009 by Julia Flyte


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Harlan Coben Lite, 7 April 2009
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Deal Breaker (Paperback)
I have read all of Harlan Coben's standalone novels but this is the first that I have read in the Myron Bolitar series. Deal Breaker takes a familiar Harlan Coben plot (cue a long missing, presumed dead sister who appears to be sending messages from the grave) but employs a lighter, almost Elmore Leonard/Carl Hiassen style tone. It's a disconcerting blend which obviously works for most, but which left me lukewarm.

Myron Bolitar is a likeable protagonist: a former basketball player who worked briefly (in an undefined capacity) for the FBI before becoming a sports agent. His assistant Esperanza is an ex-pro wrestler and his best friend and sidekick Win (short for Windsor Horne Lockwood III) is a "full fledged whitebread". The missing girl is his client's girlfriend, but he also has a personal connection in that he dated her sister for four years. The book has a large cast of one-dimensional characters and moves quickly, which I found somewhat confusing. The convoluted mystery is also downplayed: there is neglible suspense and it unravels for Myron with minimal difficulty.

Ultimately I prefer Coben's tighter and more suspenseful standalone books to this more lightweight style, but it would make for ideal mindless holiday reading. If I was rating the book on how much I enjoyed it, it would probably only score 2 stars, but I've tried to put my own prejudices aside and to rate it on its own merits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but also bad, 25 Jan. 2012
By 
Jim J-R (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Deal Breaker (Paperback)
Harlan Coben's first Myron Bollitar novel is a mixed bag. When american footballer Christian Steele gets a message from his girlfriend - who disappeared 18 months earlier - he recruits his sports agent to try to track her down. This summary is the basis of my initial scepticism about the book - the character just didn't seem to fit the plot, and that element remains to be satisfactorily explained.

The beginning of the book is weak, which put me off - after each of the first few chapters I was seriously doubting whether I could bring myself to continue reading. The characters were ill-defined, cocky, and the narrative informally, almost colloquially phrased. But it did get better, mostly through the application of the plot, because the above criticisms remained throughout.

The story, although dubious in places, is what drove me to keep reading, and possibly just because I wanted to find out what was going on. Unlike a classic crime novel, there's very little by way of clues - indeed the first half felt more like a treasure hunt, going from one contact to another, picking up the next name, and carrying on, without feeling as if much was being learnt. Eventually though some clues start to come to light, and the reader is just about able to figure things out in time.

The writing style is awkward though - it's too casual, with the narrator making observations that seem better suited to put with a character. There were also places where two pages got stuck together and it was surprising how far I could read on before realising that it was a completely different scene I had jumped into the middle of. The characters are larger-than-life and I found them hard to relate to - particularly the protagonist - and his reactions to situations are unbelievable to an extreme, it's almost like he's a child who doesn't understand what's going on around him.

Finally, there are a number of scenes that appear without much justification except to titillate. I found them unnecessarily intrusive and they didn't contribute to the characters or plot. Overall, I enjoyed the book for the plot, and I imagine I will try to read further into the series, which I've been told has its ups and downs, and hope that they become slightly more bearable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great start to the Myron Bolitar Series, 29 Jun. 2011
By 
Best Crime Books "Best Crime Books" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Deal Breaker (Paperback)
I have read one of Harlan Coben's stand alone novels, albeit some time ago, and wanted to start at the beginning of his very popular series of books featuring Myron Bolitar. When I started this book, it didn't take me more than a few chapters to fall head over heels for the character Myron. One of the reasons for this is the element of his character that is witty and sarcastic, always a winning combination for me.

In addition to Myron we meet his friend and sidekick Win Lockwood and his work colleague Esperenza. All of them seem to make an extraordinary yet very believable group of friends. Their relationships throughout the book had me smirking at some of the more sarcastic comments they make to each other.

With the added benefit of really gelling with the characters we see the story start to unfold with Myron's star client Christian Steel. The story itself is quite complex and there are a lot of plot threads that we pick up along the way. What I loved was the endless possibilities this story threw up and that I was actually none the wiser towards the second half of the book.

The one element that I didn't like and I don't know why, was the one involving Myron's ex Jessica. Maybe it was because I just didn't like the character but I was irritated by how flawless and beautiful she was meant to be. Overall and by the end of the book I had warmed a little to her, although in all honesty not that much! I was pleased with the ending and thought it was all wrapped up nicely with enough intrigue for me to wonder what is next for Myron and Win. Will look forward to reading the next instalment! The fact that this book was first published in 1995 and there are now another 9 books to be read doesn't put me off; it makes me wish I could read faster!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful! Read Coben's excellent stand alone books instead, 22 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Deal Breaker (Paperback)
Because I believe in second chances, this was not the first Myron Bolitar novel I'd attempted to read: but it will be the last. I was unable to finish it, just as I was with the other one that I bought (I can't even remember what it was called now).

Bolitar is arrogant, judgemental, totally un-funny and impossible to empathise with. Combine this with some of the most confusing plots and sub-plots imaginable (I won't go into detail because many other reviewers have already done so) and you have this awful book.

I understand from reading other reviews that it is intended to be light-hearted, at least in parts. If that is what you are looking for, then my recommendation would be to go for something by Carl Hiassen, Charles Willeford, Robert Crais or, best of all, the magnificent Robert B Parker - whose Spenser character is everything that Bolitar tries but fails so spectacularly to be.

These comments shouldn't be interpreted as me hating Harlan Coben or all of his work: I've read some of his stand alone books and thoroughly enjoyed them. They seem to be far better written, with tighter & less confusing plots, and much more rounded & likeable characters. Indeed, after throwing this book into the first charity bag to fall through the letter box, my over-riding thought was "How can someone capable of writing a novel as good as Tell No-one be responsible for this dross?"
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but who cares?, 16 April 2006
By 
J. White "b00km0nster" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Deal Breaker (Paperback)
This is the classic definition of a page turner. Yes, it had a few imperfections, but with everything going on in the book, you are often too busy keeping up to even notice.

This is the first Myron Bolitar novel, and I would recommend anyone wanting to read more of Harlan Coben definitely start with this one. The story centres around Myron (a sports agent) heroically solving the mystery of one of his client's missing girlfriends, while somehow juggling the contract negotions, mafia hits and even plumbing problems of his clients - all while getting it on with his estranged girlfriend and slipping in the odd meditation session.

The one thing I liked about this book is that it was a true detective story ... everything you needed to spot the villian was right there in front of you - none of this last minute action which filled in all the missing pieces. Of course this did result in a final unveiling which was straight from an episode of Scooby-Doo (minus the tearing off of a mask) but it struck a nice balance between being able to work out the mystery and having clues shoved in your face.

And the imperfections? This is the first in the MB series, but there are still a lot of hazy references to everyone's deep and mysterious past and although this includes some teases about a history in the FBI, I am still not convinced about the sports agent come detective angle. And yes, some of the characters are a bit shallow - but then again, you would never buy this kind of book expecting a Pulitzer Prize winner!

What you should expect though is a fast-moving story, some very amusing one liners and an absolute page turner that you won't want to put down.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ... but not a mould breaker, 28 April 2013
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This review is from: Deal Breaker (Paperback)
It's not so much that this book is bad, exactly; it's just that it's not really very good. It fits perfectly well into that collection of pulp fiction that Amazon routinely gives away at 0.99p or less. Think Capote, Kerouac and the distinction between writing and typing. At full price for this, and after hearing the author feted all over the BBC airwaves a week or two ago, I expected much, much better.

Myron Bolitar is a PR for athletes and sports stars, or 'sports agent' in the jargon. He also, for no very good reason, doubles as an amateur sleuth. He and his friends all live in Made-for-TV Movieland, just a couple of blocks over from Columbo, Starsky, Hutch, Angela Lansbury, Dick van Dyke, T.J. Hoooker, Mr T., etc. etc. So no need for any actual writing to set the scene, then.

Plot: involves blackmail via dubious-but-legal soft porn magazine titles. Staking out a PO Box. Cars. Beautiful women. Americans. Dry wit, some of it witty.

Characterisation? Well, people say and do stuff, but only the same stuff all the same people say and do in all the same stuff that's going down just a couple of blocks over in Made-for-TV Movieland. Nobody thinks. Nobody feels. Nobody learns.

Nobody cares.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Typcial Coben Page Turner., 12 Nov. 2003
By 
DiBosco "RJW" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Deal Breaker (Paperback)
Coben's Triple act of Myron, Win and Esperanza start their adventures in this book, that explodes with action from start to finish. Coben manages to get more twists and turns into a book that most manage in a career and always manages to write books that make you just want to read one more chapter before you turn out the lights - no matter how heavy your eyelids are!
Although the characters are first introduced in this book, it often doesn't seem like an introduction to a series, little of how Win, Myron and Esperanza meet and how they set up the sports rep firm is explained. This doesn't really distract from a romping good read and shows promise that is fullfilled in some of his later books.
Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining if diluted, 3 Nov. 2009
By 
Hardeep (wolverhampton) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Deal Breaker (Paperback)
This is the second Harlan Coben book I have read and one must give credit to author for his immense ability to create pace, engender suspense, and fashion mystery.

The plot follows the exotically named sports agent Myron Bolitar through a novel packed with suspense and wonderful wit. Things begin as Bolitar's number one client; Christian "the next big thing" Steele contacts him, upset and shaken by a ghost from the past. A missing ex-girlfriend seemingly back from the dead.
We then follow the narrative though its litany of unscrupulous characters, sharp turns and ever darker swerves into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Steele's ex girlfriend. The novel is hard to put down much of the time; however it didn't seem as well structured as Coben's other work. It is important to point out that this is a very early Coben book, possibly even his first.

The story is thoroughly enjoyable until its final act. Here all mystery and suspense seems to just unravel and fall into place in a way that was so reminiscent of "Murder She Wrote" I could actually hear the tune playing in my head! The ending felt rushed, almost as though the author had run out of paper and only used half the words he needed This detracted from much of the good work that build up to it. Like I said in the title, entertaining, but the conclusion dilutes the whole thing.

It is a fast read with superb one liners and wit. There is enough in the main body of the novel to keep me curious about the further Bolitar novels, so much so that I've bought the next two. Have a read, you won't be bowled over, but I think it would be hard to complain about the lack of entertainment.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Kick-off of a new series, 1 Nov. 2014
Book One of the series of thrillers with Myron Bolitar (MB, 31), ex basketball star, ex-FBI agent, graduate of Harvard Law School, now managing promising and established professional sportspersons. He still lives with his parents. The second hero is his aristocratic school friend and business partner Win, who runs a financial empire two floors above Myron’s premises, a reader of books in Korean and expert in the peninsula’s martial arts. Win (also 31) always has time for Myron. After all, the mafia has the capacity to influence the outcomes of many games and matches and Win protects his best friend’s back whether called for or not, sometimes with deadly force and untraceable…
Does this not make Myron a mafia-type sports manager too? Myron’s secretary Esperanza used to be a famous free style wrestler, his ex-girlfriend Jessica a successful author. Her family is hit by multiple tragedies: her kid sister Kathy vanished some 18 months ago. Much later, her father, a pathologist is knifed to death with a single strike to the heart. She turns to her old flame Myron for help. What follows is an eventful rollercoaster with a surprise ending.
What stands out (or not)? From a reader’s point of view HC’s very inclusive style with Myron bombarding every page with his musings and jokes. When Myron is under duress, he addresses his foes rather flippantly. The book has a nice atmosphere. Plot wise, I doubt if Harlan Coben plans his books carefully in advance. The first 200-odd pages run smoothly (I also read the next volume), what follows is a Houdini act, finding a way out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Book Full of Action, Suspense and Wisecracks!!, 28 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Deal Breaker (Paperback)
'He leaned back and wondered how to handle his three big problems: Chaz Landreaux's sudden departure, Kathy Culver's possible re-emergence, and the Toronto Hilton's plumbing. He decided to forgo the last. Only so much one man can do.'
Myron Bolitar is a sport agent. His clients are all pretty uneventful.
All except Christian Steele, an up-and-coming American football superstar quarterback.
So when Christian rings Myron in a panic, Myron rushes to his star's aid.
Turns out the athlete's missing-presumed-dead girlfriend could be very much alive. After all, how does a dead girl make a phone call?
But as Myron begins to dig, he realises Christian's career might not be the only one on the line. Can he unravel the web of secrets surrounding the missing girl - how, for instance, she ended up posing in a porn magazine - and discover the truth?
With other sports agents circling like sharks, it doesn't look promising. Not even with the slightly unhinged Windsor Horne Lockwood III on his side - and watching his back...
Because let's face it. With this case, Myron will need all the help he can get...
My aunt told me I had to read this series. She adores Coben and said I would too. Man, was she right! I was hooked from the first page, cracking up at the wit and wry humour. And, oh, it just got so much better from there. Even though I seriously avoid any sport-related books like the plague, I found myself loving Deal Breaker to pieces.
The characters were all so brilliant. Admittedly, some were kinda stereotypical or flattish or whatever, but all the main characters were so real and brilliant and most? So funny! Like Myron: he was so brilliant - witty, smart, brave. He constantly had me cracking up! His wisecracking was addictive - so witty and just hilarious. As for Win, he was just classic! Is it wrong that my favourite character is a slightly unhinged, maybe-a-little-psychopathic millionaire? Maybe. But I don't care! Sure, he was totally crazy and a little scary, but he literally killed me - in a really, really good way! Jessica was a good character too. She was strong and smart and determined, but there we too many "beautiful" references - I was like, ok, I get it already!! But my opinion based mostly on personally issues aside, Jessica was a strong woman - not an idiot airhead or anything, which was a good thing.
And I adored the relationship between Myron and Win. I just loved the banter and quips and how Win always had Myron's back. The two of them killed me!
I loved Coben's writing - it was so witty and gritty! I loved how at times it was almost like Coben was making fun of himself. He said things like: "Clever interrogation techniques. Pay attention" and stuff, which obviously had me cracking up. I'd die to possess the wit Coben so effortlessly writes. The plot was so, so awesome. I wasn't really sure what to expect - I mean, how do you write a crime thriller when your main character is a sport agent? But it really, really worked. More than that - it blew my socks off! I loved the fast pace, all the subplots and the secrets. Yay!
Now, I must admit, I'm not a sport fan. I barely know the rules of the games in my own country, let alone American football. So I didn't get many of those references. Luckily, though, after the first few chapters there were very few of them at all - it was all action. So yay again.
Ok, so this book had its shortcomings - namely the frequent bad language and some minor character clichés - but overall it was such a fun read because of our two main characters, the humour, and the suspense. It was just so freaking addictive and suspenseful and more than I'd suspected. I'm wishing my aunt had made me pick it up sooner - `cause it was awesome. And I loved that even though it was a crime book with action and violence and whatever it wasn't completely scarring or damaging. Whoopee!
A book full of action, suspense and wisecracks, Deal Breaker had me hooked from start to finish. It was twisty, and gripping and shocking. I loved it to pieces! Forget deal breaking - it was a complete deal maker in making me desperate to read the rest of the series! I can't wait for more Myron and Win!
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Deal Breaker (Myron Bolitar Mysteries)
Deal Breaker (Myron Bolitar Mysteries) by Harlan Coben (Audio CD - 25 July 2006)
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