11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2009
A professional couple uses spyware to spy on their son, Adam, who remains troubled by the recent suicide of his friend. Adam then goes missing and drug-world connections are implied . Another plot thread is provided by the couple's daughter who has a friend who was on the wrong side of an unfortunate remark by a teacher at their school.
This is a typical Coben novel which keeps you turning the pages because Coben is so good at withholding crucial bits of the story and keeping the tension tight. A lot of coincidences keep the story running, however, and I also felt that Coben's usual wit and insights were missing from his writing this time. There are a host of characters in the novel sometimes making it hard to keep up - all of them installed into the story-line, no doubt, to keep readers guessing about what really is going on.
In short, a pretty riveting read but one which didn't display all of the skills we know Coben has.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I was utterly gripped by the first few chapters as Mike and Tia desperately look for their missing son and a crazy man is abducting carefully-targeted women for torture and murder.
But then the pace becomes uneven and, while characterisation is never the great strength of Coben's books, all but the major characters here seem badly underwritten.
The different strands of plot are brought together in the last chapter in a way I can only describe as unconvincing and perfunctory.
He's written much better. New readers, don't start here.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2011
The first Coben book I've read and a huge disappointment considering all the positive things I'd heard about his work. I found all of the characters totally unbelievable and some of the clichés were so painfully bad it made reading hard work. At points I had to put the book down after page upon page of meaningless drivel along the lines of "She loved her kids and she would have done anything for them [insert bland anecdote about when she was at college] she would die for her kids, she thought" *yawn*.
I also found the serial killer character completely ridiculous. His lack of development as a character was completely woeful. The story would have benefited from removing that thread entirely and saving us all 50 pages of our time.
I would strongly advise against reading this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2010
I bought this book after I heard somebody on the radio describe it as "like crack cocaine...". Having read it, I realise that this is actually more accurate than I first thought . It certainly is quite addictive, but also like cocaine it certainly isn't going to expand your mind. (DOI I have never taken crack cocaine.) Coben starts off with a note explaining that the technology he describes in the book is all real, and it is obvious he has spent some time researching all the different types of spyware available. However, he comes across like someone who does really doesn't "get" modern technology, and his descriptions of it in the story are pretty clunky. He reminds me of a lecturer I had years ago at uni who asked the class if we were "in-line with the internet". I wouldn't be surprised if early drafts of this book had words like "e-mail" in inverted commas. He also seems determined to include all the different technologies that he discovered, regardless of whether the plot calls for it. For example, the Lewistons watching their child via the camera on the laptop, for no apparent reason other than that they are able to.
Another reviewer has mentioned that the characters are 2 dimensional, but frankly I have been unable to identify a second dimension in any of them. The baddies are so bad they just about cackle and rub their hands together, whilst the goodies would never so much as break the speed limit. The main character, Mike Baye (who I picture looking like Mr Incredible out of The Incredibles), is a surgeon who also plays All American hockey (whatever that is), and not just a surgeon, but a transplant surgeon....and not just a transplant surgeon, but the best transplant surgeon in America. And his partner is the best cardiologist in America or something. And the Chief Investigator is the first female Chief Investigater ever, because she's so damn good. And so on and so on.
All that said though, the story is pretty gripping and rattles along at a fair old pace (although falls apart a bit at the end). So if you're looking a book to read on the beach that isn't going to tax you too much after a night on the tequila, then this will fit the bill. But if you prefer old fashioned things like complex characters and plot development then I'd keep looking.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I do so enjoy a good Harlan Coben novel. It's that cheesiness and 'all American' feel coupled with a juicy plot that really holds my attention.
'Hold Tight' is well constructed and the pace is excellent. The story is multi-layered and though this could have been confusing with a less accomplished novelist, it works well in this instance.
Tense, a little bit grim at times and suspenseful - almost perfect...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Harlan Coben specialises in writing intricate and suspenseful mysteries that keep you turning pages late into the night. His first (and to my mind, his best) standalone murder mystery was "Tell No One". Since then he has written several more mysteries which felt increasingly similar in plot. I was pleasantly surprised that "Hold Tight" marks a departure in formula, in that it doesn't kick off with an ancient murder case or long ago disappearance. While this does mean that the book struggles a little to find its own momentum, at least Coben is trying something different instead of giving us more of the same.
"Hold Tight" juggles a number of different stories, all of which in some way centre on the theme of parents trying to protect and/or understand their children. While initially they seem to be quite disparate plotlines, eventually the connections between them become apparent and it is this process of putting the jigsaw pieces together that is the most satisfying part of reading "Hold Tight". One of the things that I really like about Harlan Coben's writing is that there are never any loose ends or things that get left unexplained.
"Hold Tight" is a little slower in pace than his other novels and at times it gets confusing keeping track of so many people, but it's still is a satisfying mystery that keeps the suspense going until the final pages.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I listened to this on audiobook which was great fun while bombing up and down the M1 and the M4 in the last few days (traffic jams are so much less blood-boiling with a thriller to listen to).
I really enjoyed this. I must admit that some of the voices that the male reader acted were amusing - especially the 10 year old girls the female lawyer (I wouldn't like to meet her in a dark alley, sounding like that!). He also appeared to have a cold and hence Adam became Adamb etc. However, nasal congestion aside, I did find this a really entertaining book. It certainly had me wanting to listen to more and silently cursing having to go into meetings inbetween chapters.
There were enough twists to keep me guessing and a few plots running along side each other. I have read better Coben books in the past, hence not giving it 5 stars, but I would recommend to Coben or thriller / mystery fans.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Although a readable and reasonably enjoyable novel the plotting is far too formulaic and the end result somewhat disappointing. I think Coben is hitting the same problem as other crime and thriller writers such as John Grisham. Something compeletly new is needed in order to reinvigorate his thrillers. I'd prefer to see some risk-taking and experimentation than the trotting out of a pedictable and pedestrian story. This is strictly for the beach or the flight; or when you're feeling too tired to worry too much and want something familiar even if it is a bit tired and unoriginal.
on 3 October 2012
BLURB........ Tia and Mike Baye never imagined they'd spy on their kids. But their sixteen-year-old son Adam has been unusually distant lately, and after the suicide of his best friend Spencer Hill, they can't help but worry. Within days of installing a sophisticated spy program on Adam's computer they are jolted by a cryptic message from an unknown correspondent that shakes them to their core: "Just stay quiet and all safe."
As if Mike Baye isn't dealing with enough, he also learns that Lucas Loriman, the sweet kid who grew up next door, is in urgent need of a kidney transplant. As the boy's doctor, Mike suddenly finds himself in possession of an explosive secret that threatens to rip the Loriman family apart at the seams.
Nearby, while browsing through an online memorial for Spencer, Betsy Hill discovers a surprising detail about the night of her son's death. Before she can find out more, Adam disappears, taking the truth with him and sending shockwaves through the neighborhood.
As the lives of these families collide in tragic, unexpected, and violent ways, long-hidden connections in their small suburb begin to work their way to the surface. And when an unidentified Jane Doe is beaten to death not far away, those connections threaten to turn this quiet community upside down--and force these desperate parents to decide whether there is any line they won't cross to protect those they love most in the world.
I haven't picked up a Coben book for a fair few years, before last month, a bit like buses you wait for ages then 2 come along together.
Enjoyable but it didn't rock my world. I haven't read enough of Coben to judge whether it is one of his better books or not,but it passed the time easily enough, the story flowed, the characters were likeable.
More 4 than 3 out of 5, would read more from him, which is just as well as there's about 15 of his other books sat on the shelf at home.
on 28 July 2010
Why Harlan Coben is a top selling mystery/thriller writer. His books are compelling examples of narrative storytelling at its effortless best. Yet Hold Tight aims slightly higher that most of Harlan's previous efforts, and for once, fails to hit the emotional bulls eye. There are too many strands to the mystery for even the skilled weaving Coben usually employs. Mike - the hero (typically big and tough, yet tender with the ladies) is lost in the sub-plots. Usually a Coben hero is hardly ever out of the action, but Mike has to make way for a plethora of others, and that makes it harder to keep the blood flowing to your head. Normally, you can't put one of his books down until its over. This one, that didn't happen.
I'm plowing through all of his books, and though I thoroughly enjoyed this one, it did not exert the vice like grip of Tell No One or some of his other 'stand alones'. It was not as funny as any of the Bolitor novels (his sports agent detective, priceless). Normally, you can't see it coming now matter how many mystery books you've read -but this one, you can see it coming and that's a shame. Too many plots, not enough focus. One thing I have noticed - macho Harlan seems more than a little misandric (hates men). He deliberately introduces female characters who are masculine (Crimstein and Muse in this case), and he NEVER criticizes them the way he does ALL male characters. He is very mixed up about 'gender' - and this grates with me.
Still a sub-par Harlan Coben is a feast for the thriller/mystery lover.