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on 12 October 2014
I'll be honest, I was a bit sniffy about Harlan Coben and I don't really know why. Maybe it was partly the book cover design which seemed to scream pulp fiction. I take that back. Having just spent the weekend listening to the audiobook of Six Years while engaged in rather a lot of boring cleaning chores I found the story to be intelligent and exciting without gratuitous violence or swearing. The hero, a college lecturer, finds himself morally challenged throughout the story and explores his feelings around this while struggling to decide what to do. When he accidentally kills someone in self defence we are taken again on his emotional journey as he struggles to keep himself out of custody while trying to discover what has happened to the woman he loves.

When I find a new author I like I tend to explore more of their books if I can so I will definitely be taking opportunities to read or listen to another of Coben's books.
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on 22 May 2013
A very disappointing read. It was a predictable and frankly boring book. I have read all of Harlan Coben's books and this was by far the weakest one.
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on 22 March 2013
I have been a Harlan Coben fan for a long time and have read all of his books. When his Myron Bolitar series got too stupid to continue he tried to move on, but was forced back to the characters(caricatures?) and it was just ridiculous. I'm afraid to say the same is happening with his stand alone books. It is billed as 'stand alone' but might as well be called the latest in his 'Missing relative/Back from the dead' series. If you have read Tell No One or any of the others that just remixed the same ingredients you may think you are being shortchanged to have YET ANOTHER variation. If this is your first Harlan Coben and you can overlook some outrageous plot holes and coincidences you might enjoy it as a fast paced thriller. As always his 'smart mouth' dialogue is excellent, but some of the lines used in what you could call the more romantic scenes are so laughable they reminded me of things that would have been sub-titled on to silent movie heroines.

Specific to the audio version, Scott Brick does his usual solid professional job, no tricky accents for him to cope with, and only a slight reservation when he is called upon to voice female characters, but then that is true of almost all narrators when they have to do the opposite gender.

I really hope Coben finds a way back. His Mickey Bolitar books might be okay for kids or fans of Scooby Doo, but something original for grown ups would be nice.
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on 31 March 2014
I bought this book to read on a train journey and was looking forward to it being an 'unputdownable'. However, it was, I did, and I will be unlikely to pick up another by this author.

The development of the characters was minimal, to the point where I was indifferent to them ever finding each other. I found some parts of the story really far fetched ( see the campus van kidnap for reference) There wasn't a build up of suspense for me and unfortunately I skim read the final chapters.

Don't get me wrong, I was curious in parts but they were small parts. I can see this author has some rave reviews on amazon but unfortunately for me, once was enough.
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on 15 May 2013
Don't get me wrong, I've been reading Harlan Coben for years now and enjoyed them all. Except for this one.

You know what this book feels like? It feels like something he wrote when he was a university student, and has dug out to fill in a gap in his publishing schedule. Or something like that. The plot doesn't flow, it drips. The plot is totally unbelievable. When you have to describe events in fractions of a second to explain outcomes there is something very wrong. And some of the characterisation just sucks.

Not just the worst Coben, this is the second-worst book I have ever read!

Think about this Harlan!

I've come back to this review 4 months on to see if I was being fair. Other than adding this paragraph, I haven't changed a word.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 10 April 2014
Harlan Coben can do a whole lot better but as it goes this isn't a bad book, just a humdrum one. To be fair it is a page turner, you really do want to know what happens next but in the process I found myself skipping vapid sections of ho hum prose that neither helped enhance the characterisations or furthered the plot. This is an easy read, a quick read, you never feel that you are wasting any of your valuable time in reading it but ultimately by the end you will move on to your next novel without worrying too much about this one. This is the sort of book the 3 star rating was made for. I'm not sure if that is any sort of endorsement or not.
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on 6 January 2015
There is no doubt that this offering from Coben is a fast-paced, sometimes exciting thriller with much to commend about it. It tells the story of a college professor and his attempts to track down a lost love who walked out on him six years previously and married someone else on what was apparently a spur of the moment decision. As the search deepens, a much wider conspiracy presents itself as the protagonist finds himself submerged into a world of secrets, conspiracy and the American mob.

As I said, there is much to commend. The action flows well, starting slowly and then building up gradually into an exciting crescendo of an ending. The way in which Coben describes the feelings of lost love are both touching and realistic. The ending is satisfying and makes sense.

There were however flaws for me which I found surprising to encounter in a Coben novel. There are far too many coincidences and poetic-license. While the important scenes are just that, they often seem linked together in a rushed and sometimes forced way. And most irritating of all was the voice of the protagonist. I am never a true fan of novels told in the first person and this novel is a prime example of why that is. Coben seems to go to extremes to show the `laddier' side of the professor with annoying, small quips and asides to the reader. It jars against the story and can be quite distracting. Although the story was exciting and I wanted to find out what happened in each new chapter, I found myself caring less and less about whether he succeeded in solving the mystery or not for his own sake. I wanted to know how the story ends but I was not exactly rooting for the professor by about two thirds through.

That said, it is a good story, it is full of mini-cliff-hangers which stop you from going to sleep at a reasonable time and therefore is worth the purchase.
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on 25 July 2014
This book is at once a heartbreaking love story, a comical farce, and a state of the art modern day suspense thriller. It takes a writer of great talent to write successfully in any one of these genres, but one assumes you would have to be some kind of genius to successfully merge all three.

The book opens with an emotional wreck watching the woman of his dream marry another. The writing in the opening stanza features some eye catching verse. For example, taken from page one: "There has always been a frailty and quiet strength to her beauty, and up there, Natalie looked ethereal, almost otherworldly". For a reader to experience this opening to a new book by an author he has never read before, will leave the reader in a state of joyful bewilderment. One can only wonder what will follow after a phrase like that.

Chapter one ends on a rather melancholy note. Chapter two, however, is like driving your car off the super smooth freeway of pure literature and on to a dusty, beaten track of immature and even, dare I say it, inappropriate humour. For example, a Professor of Political Science is hardly going to have a conversation like this with his faculty secretary: "Mrs Dinsmore, classic battle axe, had been the political science department receptionist here since, I believe, the Hoover administration. She was at least two hundred years old, but was only as impatient and nasty as someone half that age." Season readers of this author may appreciate the nuances and wit that are implicit in this exchange, but newbies to this world famous and hugely successful writer may well miss the point.

Plot wise, the book is amazing. A chapter hardly ends without cliffhangers of different magnitudes, and it is oh, so easy to find yourself addicted to the book and squeezing one more chapter in before bed time.

Characterisation is superb. Obviously Professor Jacob is the victim, but who fooled who? Does he find Natalie? Is she dead or alive? Is she complicit in the compelling plot that is so cleverly revealed page by page by the highly accomplished writer? The whole thing is so good, and so clever that it almost overwhelms the reader. And that is the problem with the humour i referred to earlier.

If the book was written as a straight thriller, it may well have been a masterpiece.

As it is, the book just falls short.

BFN Greggorio!
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on 15 April 2014
Well first the good news - this is nothing like the last Coben novel I read (Shelter) - all the characters are strictly adults there are no gangs of teenagers solving crimes or Nazi war criminals in sight. That having been said it's the same plot as ever - man loves woman, woman goes missing in mysterious circumstances, man tries to track her down, putting himself and a lot of others in danger in the process.

To be fair though, I knew exactly what I was buying into when I purchased this (and the price reduction did play a part as well). I just expected the story to have a bit more impact. Problem for me was that the author doesn't really give us enough insight into the relationship between Jake and Natalie - which is seen only in flashback from 6 years on. He should started have the book six years in the past at the retreat where they met and let us see their relationship first hand, then we might understand why Jake still loves her and will do anything to find her rather than the author continally having having to remind us that he does. Show not tell! Think also that he went a bit over the top with Jake - not only is the guy a college professor he's also a bit of a babe magnet with a bod that wouldn't look out of place on TV's 'Gladiators'. (Seems suspiciously like a middle-aged male novelist's fantasy alter ego :)) Why create a hero who's supposed to be smart and then have him go blundering around solving most of his problems with his fists? Why can't someone who teaches Political Studies get his head around what's going on and actually use his brains to get himself out of difficult situations?

The mystery which sucked me into buying this book is an intriguing one - there's something fascinating, almost surreal, about the way Natalie has disappeared, but that doesn't last too long - I started to figure out what was going on almost from the start and before long we are immersed in punch ups with gangsters as our hero blunders around trying to figure out what's going on. For me the middle section of the novel dragged badly and I found myself skipping pages about three quarters of the way through to get to the end. Which surprised me - by being nowhere near as bad as I feared - in fact to be honest I rather liked it (though it does beg the question - why couldn't all this have happened six years ago?). There was definitely some promise in the storyline here but the writing seemed tired and hackneyed - he must be getting a bit sick of trotting out the same plot time and time again. Could have been much better ...
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on 5 April 2014
Six years ago Jake Fisher watched Natalie, whom he believed to be the love of his life, marry another man.
After the wedding, Natalie makes Jake promise to stay away from her, a promise he keeps for six years, until he sees an Obituary notice for Natalie's husband Todd and just can't keep himself away from Todd's funeral. However, when he finally gets a glimpse of the love of his life, he is shocked and confused to discover it is not Natalie and there is a different grieving widow in her place...
More confusion follows for Jake, when he finds out Todd was murdered and it's as if Natalie has never existed, so he sets outs to try and find her and get the answers he so desperately needs, but in his quest for the truth he soon finds his own life is at risk as a deadly secret threatens to destroy him.

I looked forward to reading this book as I am a big Coben fan.
Six Years begins with college Professor Jake Fisher sat on a pew watching Natalie marry Todd. It is obvious pretty much right away that Jake does not understand why Natalie is marrying Todd who she claims is an ex of hers. Jake believed he had found 'the one' in Natalie and believed she felt the same way about him too, so to be suddenly dumped and be told she is to marry Todd leaves him confused and hurt.
A brief conversation with Natalie after the wedding sees her make Jake promise he will keep away, no contact, no emails, nothing. Jake agrees and keeps his word.
We are then taken to six years on and Jake is getting on with his life a college Professor, when he spots an Obituary for Natalie's husband and decides to attend his funeral. This is where the real confusion begins and as a reader I felt the confusion Jake feels as the story opened up and I was gripped right away wanting to know what had happened to Natalie and why suddenly nobody appears to remember her.

The story is told in the first person and whilst I found Jake's character a little weak at first I soon came to like him and could understand his thinking. He wants answers and is determined to pursue the truth, as Natalie's disappearance throws up so much mystery it is impossible for him to walk away even though his own life is in danger.
I particularly enjoyed this early part of the book when Jake's confusion is heightened by the fact he can’t even find someone who admits remembering Natalie and there is no record of her marriage to Todd.
I enjoyed the character of Benedict, Jake's friend and colleague who also features in an intriguing twist. I only wished the 'bad guys' had featured more here too, as I have particularly enjoyed some of Coben's 'baddies' over the years, some of which have made returning appearances in other novels along with returning detectives etc.
There are no returning characters here however and I must admit I do miss one or two characters from Coben's earlier novels and would like to see them make another appearance sometime. It' s been too long!

I mentioned intriguing twists and have to say this is what I really love about a Harlan Coben novel - nothing is ever as it seems. I have never found myself knowing how things would turn out before the end, I am always taken by surprise by the twists and always found myself marvelling at how he ties everything together at the end. Whilst Six Years isn't the most complex Coben novel I have read, it still managed to keep me hooked througout and although I began to guess at certain things there was still a good twist I never saw coming.
If I had one niggle and this is really all I can come up with and certainly doesn't take anything away from the story, it was his over use of the word 'stumble.' Whilst it certainly didn't spoil my enjoyment of the story, I did notice Jake 'stumbled' a lot. He stumbled out of here and stumbled out of there and thoughts hit him so hard he almost stumbled. I did find myself thinking more than once that I wished Jake would stop stumbling! Thinking about it now, it seems quite amusing, but I wished Coben had found some alternative words or not used it quite so much.

Six Years takes in murder, disapperance, mob hit men, bank robberies and a suspect charity before reaching its conclusion and I was gripped throughout. I tried to make it last a few days but have to confess I read this in two days and didn't want to put it down.
Story-wise it isn't as complex as some of his earlier novels as I mentioned before, but it still has excellent readability.
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