Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Review: "Home" by Harlan Coben

A crazy good thriller and all the feels, too? Hell, yes!

Ten years ago, childhood best friends Rhys Baldwin and Patrick Moore were kidnapped during a playdate at Rhys' suburban New Jersey home. They were six years old.

The police couldn't figure out what happened. The family's au pair was found tied up, and there was no trace of the boys. After one attempt to collect ransom from the grieving families, nothing was heard again. The media attention died down, leaving the Baldwins and the Moores in pain, wondering where their sons might be, and trying desperately to never give up hope that one day they'll return, even if they know the odds diminish more and more every year.

Ten years later, Win Lockwood, who happens to be Rhys' cousin, receives an email tip that leads him to believe he might be able to locate at least one of the boys. When things get more than a little out of hand, Win turns to his best friend, former pro basketball player and sports agent Myron Bolitar, to help. Myron and Win's detective work culminate in the breathless rescue of only one of the boys, who is deeply traumatized by the life he's led since his kidnapping. And while everyone would like to help find the other boy, it seems that their first priority is to protect the one who came home—no matter what that means for the other grieving family.

Their quest to find the other boy leads them to more and more questions. Is the boy who was rescued who he says he is, or does everyone just want to believe the truth? And if he's not, what does that mean for the families? Myron and Win and a motley crew of friends and family sift through the evidence from 10 years ago and try to figure out what was missed, what connections were overlooked, or what information was deemed too minor to pursue.

Harlan Coben doesn't let the pace flag in this book for one single second. There's some terrific action and suspense here, and you really don't know who you can trust. But there are some tremendous emotions displayed in this book, too, among all of the characters. The dynamics of many different relationships, coming to terms with grief, guilt, aging parents, fear—all of it. Yet never once did the book feel overly ambitious or overstuffed. It hooked me from the very first page, and my heart was racing along with my fingers, as I couldn't seem to move the pages of my Kindle fast enough.

I read a number of Coben's Myron Bolitar novels a number of years ago, and I remember really enjoying them, so I don't know why I stopped. But I remembered some of the supporting characters who appeared in Home, and quickly grew to love the new characters as well. I thought this was a great balance of thriller and fiction, and I couldn't get enough of it. Clearly I'm going to have to go back through some of Coben's recent books now—he's got me hooked!

If you like great thrillers with strong plot and character development, too, definitely pick this one up!

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