Top critical review
Decent but with flaws
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.