Six Years Paperback – 27 Feb 2014
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One of the most gripping and clever mysteries we've read in ages. An instant classic. (HEAT)
Coben's in the top of his game in this gripping mystery thriller (BELFAST TELEGRAPH)
Gripping and professional popular entertainment of the very highest order. (IRISH INDEPENDENT)
The taut and action-packed thriller from the bestselling American writer is gripping. (SUNDAY MIRROR)
Every chapter ends on a tense cliffhanger, so save this one for a rainy Sunday and read it in one sitting. (BELLA)
Coben is one of the best thriller writers in the business, and he delivers another amazing novel that will resonate with readers long after the final page is turned. The narrative is immersive, and the well-drawn characters and twisting plotting are stellar. With such a cool hook and a surprising and satisfying payoff, don't wait six years to read what might be Coben's best since Tell No One. (LIBRARY JOURNAL)
Every bit as suspenseful as his ticktock thrillers . . . Coben's artful depiction of his protagonist makes for riveting reading (BOOKLIST)
A lost love... and the secrets and lies at its heart. The stunning novel from No.1 bestseller Harlan Coben.See all Product description
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The first Coben I’ve read, this opens well and maintains a generally decent pace (it says slightly in the middle) throughout. I liked Jake - who tells the story in first person - and his career (a professor), friends and life are well detailed and realistic. As the house of cards begin to crumble it’s interesting to see how Coben twists and turns through the plot and a few of the revelations surprised me. Apart from a bit of a “wow, that was lucky” moment at the end, this is a great read and if you like your thrillers to be full-on, I’d recommend this.
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 ...
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.