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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tangled Web
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and unlike most of Harlan Coben's books, I hadn't guessed whodunnit until the closing pages.

We are introduced to Megan, who is a happily married housewife with perfect husband and family. I found her a believable character and wanted to read this as quickly as possible to find out how it all panned out.

Megan has a...
Published on 2 Aug 2012 by Patricia A. Thompson

versus
57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, At Best!
With the exception of Miracle Cure, I've read all of Coben's adult audience books and enjoyed them all, albeit some more than others. This string of praise-worthy books has come to an end for me with Stay Close.

I won't provide a plot summary as this can be gotten from the Amazon Book Description above. I'll just say that Coben's latest standalone, which is set...
Published on 11 April 2012 by Bobbewig


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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, At Best!, 11 April 2012
By 
Bobbewig (New Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Stay Close (Hardcover)
With the exception of Miracle Cure, I've read all of Coben's adult audience books and enjoyed them all, albeit some more than others. This string of praise-worthy books has come to an end for me with Stay Close.

I won't provide a plot summary as this can be gotten from the Amazon Book Description above. I'll just say that Coben's latest standalone, which is set primarily in Atlantic City and the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, involves the violent intersection of several lives that are overshadowed by past events. Broadly speaking, this plot concept has been used by Coben in several of his other books and, though no longer very original, he succeeded in executing them quite well in the past. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Coben's ability to execute his plot concept in Stay Close left me pretty unfulfilled.

Overall, I consider Stay Close to be just an okay read -- at best. What makes me judge this book as "okay" (and not worse) is attributable to Coben's narrative skills and plot pacing, which kept me turning the pages at a brisk pace from beginning to end. Coben gets a lot credit from me on this point because I felt Stay Close had little else that deserves strong praise. In particular, I felt the plot execution lacked credibility and much excitement, and the characters were mostly thinly developed, unlikable, and failed to make me care what happens to them. And, while on the subject of characters, Coben's Ken and Barbie-like team of professional thugs came across to me as laughable and ridiculous and, as a consequence, unthreatening.

If you've been a long-time, loyal Coben fan you're likely going to want to read this book regardless of my review and other reviews giving Stay Close a three star rating or lower. While I don't think Stay Close is a bad book, it's not one that I'd recommend you rush out to read. I cannot recommend books that are just okay, at best.

I hope this review provides some help in deciding if Stay Close is a book for you.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A let down from a usually enjoyable author ..., 10 May 2012
By 
Henry's Cat (Newark on Trent) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stay Close (Hardcover)
I have always been a big fan of Harlan Coben - both his standalone thrillers and in particular his Myron Bolitar series - as he always offered great characters, action, thrills and wit, but his latest offerings are not quite hitting the mark.

None of the characters in Stay Close are particularly interesting or sympathetic so I found myself really not caring what happened to any of them - and two of them (I won't give anything away) were so cliched it became almost laughable. Usually the plot builds and builds - previously often to the point that I've had many a late night just to finish the story, I'm that hooked! - but not the case here. There were no urgent page turning moments, and nothing to particularly keep me interested other than a stubborness to hang on til the end, hoping something was going to happen. Sadly I got over halfway through and realised there was in fact no big bang moment, no crescendo, no sudden unleashing of the surprises and reveals. The only element that could perhaps be perceived as a twist of any sort to the story line started to become so blindingly obvious it's almost not a spoiler to say anything here .... but I won't :-)

I will probably still buy his next book - he has earnt that with his previous offerings - but it feels like he's going the way of many authors (James Patterson to name one) who seem to be churning out a formulaic story just to keep the publishers happy/the money rolling in.

If you are new to this author I would urge you to give him a second chance and try out some of his earlier novels. And let's hope he was just having an off day with this one.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tangled Web, 2 Aug 2012
This review is from: Stay Close (Hardcover)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and unlike most of Harlan Coben's books, I hadn't guessed whodunnit until the closing pages.

We are introduced to Megan, who is a happily married housewife with perfect husband and family. I found her a believable character and wanted to read this as quickly as possible to find out how it all panned out.

Megan has a secret past, which comes back to bite her. She worked as a dancer in a men's club, forged some strong bonds there and when the going gets tough, she finds herself back there in a race against time to solve the secrets of the past.

A series of unsolved murders spanning many years are suddenly connected and it all points to the men's club in Atlanta, where Megan worked many years earlier, as being the catlyst and as a gritty detective investigates the case, Megan is pulled back to her lost world and a race against time for the killer to be apprehended before Megan's family life falls apart as she's sucked into events during the investigation.

Detective Broom is the lead investigator and I found myself hoping against hope that he would solve the case before anything happened to divide Megan from her family.

This book is the usual Coben page turner with lots of action and twists and turns to keep the reader guessing leaving them keen to reach the last one as soon as possible to find out how it all works out.

I found the characters believable, some I disliked intensely and I warmed to Megan as the book progressed as we found out more about her past.

She showed a caring side as she dealt with her mother in law's health problems and anyone with a family member with either dementia or Alzheimers could relate to the problems she faced with that.

There's some violence and unpleasantness along the way and I think this book appeals to both sexes, probably male readers will be more taken by the action and the ladies by what happens to Megan.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars STAY AWAY from STAY CLOSE, 28 July 2012
By 
David Craggs (CT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Stay Close (Hardcover)
Sorry Harlan but this is unbelievably formulaic!
How such an average novel could come from the pen of somebody who brought us "Tell No One" beggars belief and frankly, I think your public deserves better.
The plot is pedestrian and has zero grip. It is populated by characters that are quite unbelievable and about whom I for one, couldn't care less and all in all, It left me feeling sad that you have descended to pushing out this bilge.
Doubtless you will make good money from it but whatever happend to pride in your work?
At your best, you are literature's Hitchcock - at your worst, you make Mickey Spillane look like Dickens!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stay away, 2 Aug 2012
This review is from: Stay Close (Kindle Edition)
What a pity, what a missed opportunity. A stand alone Harlan Coben book would usually signal a good read, unfortunately this book does not even come close to the previous Coben books I have read - Tell No One remains his best in my opinion. The dialogue is poor and unbelievable and so are the various scenarios, for example the way people remember exactly what happened 17 years ago. I got the feeling that this was an old draft that should have been re-worked before being published. When he is on form Coben is hard to beat, he is way off form with this though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor - Did Harlan write it?, 10 July 2012
By 
S. Glover "Mr G" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stay Close (Kindle Edition)
All good things must come to an end I suppose. This book is so poor by Coben's usual standards that I would urge all new recent converts or those have had Coben recommended to them to avoid it. Go back and read Tell No One, The Woods and the earlier Bolitar novels. Avoid this. It is leaden, trite and all round just babdly put together. There is little or no tension and it is desperately short on the pace and believability that Coben is so recognisable for. You can excuse the publishers Marketing exercise with Miracle Cure (his first and originally unpublished novel) but this seems, to me at least, be another re-hashed early effort.

It has none of the poise and sharp dialogue you would expect. The characters are caricatures and the narrative so processional and leading that I wondered how an editor had let it through. This book is not indicative of Coben's talent or phenominal back catalogue. Hopefully it is just a blip!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Plods along, 6 July 2012
This review is from: Stay Close (Hardcover)
I've never read a Harlan Cobden book before but have heard of him and his books have been recommended to me.

The plot line wasn't particularly a fast moving one, but the book was an easy read and did keep me guessing until the end. I struggled to find most of the characters in anyway believable and thought that one or two of them were so stereotypical and cliched.

Overall I was disappointed, but I probably would try another book by Harlan Cobden as he's had great reveiws in the past - maybe this one is just a blip?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mmmmm not sure, 26 Mar 2012
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Stay Close (Hardcover)
I used to be a big fan of the Coben thriller, but these days he seems to have gone off the boil, im no sure i can even put my finger on exactly what the problem is, a lack of passion? an lack of a great idea? a lack of focus?
With the Myron Bolitar series we had great characters , wit, humour action and thrills.
With this and the last few tales, we still have well constructed thought process and the plot, but the characters dont seem to be alive (at least not to me) and that lacking ruins the story.

I think a die hard Coben fan will still probably really enjoy this book, but if i were a new reader coming to this rather than his earlier excellence, i may not come back.

(parm)

Product Info (From back of Book)

Megan is a suburban soccer mom who once upon a time walked on the wild side. Now she's got two kids, a perfect husband, a picket fence, and a growing sense of dissatisfaction. Ray used to be a talented documentary photographer, but at age forty he finds himself in a dead-end job posing as a paparazzo pandering to celebrity-obsessed rich kids. Jack is a detective who can't let go of a cold case - a local husband and father disappeared seventeen years ago, and Jack spends the anniversary every year visiting a house frozen in time, the missing man's family still waiting, his slippers left by the recliner as if he might show up any moment to step into them. Three people living lives they never wanted, hiding secrets that even those closest to them would never suspect, will find that the past doesn't recede. Even as the terrible consequences of long-ago events crash together in the present and threaten to ruin lives, they will come to the startling realization that they may not want to forget the past at all. And as each confronts the dark side of the American Dream - the boredom of a nice suburban life, the excitement of temptation, the desperation and hunger that can lurk behind even the prettiest facades - they will discover the hard truth that the line between one kind of life and another can be as whisper-thin as a heartbeat. With his trademark combination of page-turning thrills and unrivaled insight into the dark shadows that creep into even the happiest communities, Harlan Coben delivers a thriller that cements his status as the master of domestic suspense.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite hit the spot, 27 Mar 2012
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Stay Close (Hardcover)
Harlan Coben writes intricate and suspenseful mysteries. When he's at his best - Tell No One, Gone for Good - you'll be up all night, unable to put the book down. Unfortunately, Stay Close doesn't quite hit that mark. It's readable enough, but the mystery simply isn't that compelling, you don't believe in the characters and the pace is somewhat uneven. Not as bad as his early (recently re-released) novels, but definitely not Coben at his best.

There are three central characters. Broome is a detective who is investigating the disappearance of a local man and who is also haunted by the unsolved case of another man's disappearance seventeen years ago. Megan is a suburban mum who has a secret past as a stripper that she keeps hidden from her husband and family. Ray is a photographer trying to forget his past, who has accidentally taken a photograph that someone is desperate to obtain. There are connections between the three as well as the two disappearances, which will emerge over the course of the book.

Many of Coben's signature elements make an appearance: the vengeful mobster, the psychotic hitman, the spouse whose life is not what it seems - but somehow it never lifts to the heights of his previous books. It feels like he's just going through the motions. About halfway through I had a realisation that there wasn't going to be a sudden dramatic shift or major piece of action. With hindsight, releasing his early novels was a mistake, because they showcased the elements of Coben's writing that aren't so terrific - too much being revealed through conversations rather than through drama, weak motivations, a lack of plausibility. I was disappointed by Stay Close.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eminently Readable But Not Coben's Best, 19 Dec 2013
By 
Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Stay Close (Paperback)
I generally enjoy Harlan Coben's books, but it is a while since I read one which did not concern Myron Bolitar and friends so I was keen to see how this measured up. In many ways it is up to standard since it is eminently reasonable, proceeds at a good pace and has quite an interesting plot.

I did not feel it was quite up to the best of Coben's work though. Most of his stories are somewhat unbelievable if you dissect them and one has to suspend disbelief to some extent. However, I would say that Stay Close was rather more farfetched than most and did rely on an improbable basis to the whole thing. The main characters do not really come across as credible - we have Ray, who was so damaged by a failed love affair 17 years earlier that he has spent the intervening years falling apart. Megan aka Cassie loved working in the clubs, but has happily changed her profession and settled down to being a successful hockey mom. Coben's cast have always been eccentric in the extreme but generally did ring true.

The other issue I had was that this comes across as rather melodramatic, particularly towards the end with all sorts of heart searching by the leading figures. I cannot remember this as a feature of Coben's past books. However, I am probably being rather harsh overall and this is certainly a reasonable read, although probably not one which the reader will recall much of a few months on and certainly not this author's best work.
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Stay Close
Stay Close by Harlan Coben (Hardcover - 29 Mar 2012)
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