Saturday, March 16, 2019

Book Review: "Run Away" by Harlan Coben

In recent years, Harlan Coben has written some of my favorite thrillers. He's one of those authors who skillfully combines rich character development with heart-pounding suspense. Even his signature Myron Bolitar series meshed humor and sarcasm with suspense.

I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of Run Away, Coben's latest thriller for several months, and was excited to get my hands on an advance copy a few days before its release. While this won't surpass Home as my favorite of his books, Coben has another terrific book on his hands.

One of the worst things a parent must face is when they're unable to save their children from their problems. Simon Greene knows this all too well—his oldest daughter, Paige, always so studious and creative, fell into a relationship with an older man who got her addicted to drugs. Simon and his wife have tried to help Paige free herself from this man and get clean, but they never can fully succeed; she always seem to slip right back into his clutches and back in the throes of addiction.

It has been a while since Simon has seen his daughter and he worries what the ramifications of that fact may mean. But when a friend mentions that he saw Paige playing music in Central Park, Simon tries everything to track her down. And when he finally does, he has a split connection with Paige—before her face contorts in fear and she flees. When Paige's boyfriend tries to keep Simon from running after her, Simon does the only thing he can—he punches the man in the nose. But when bystanders intervene, Simon is arrested and Paige and her boyfriend escape.

Even though his wife tells him they should let Paige go, Simon cannot let his daughter continue to destroy herself. But as things get more complicated, they both recognize that they need to stop at nothing to save their daughter. Even if that means putting their own lives on the line, risking their family's safety—and laying bare some secrets that are better left hidden.

What would you do if your child was in danger? How many signs might you have missed, how many things could you have done differently that might have helped sway your child toward a better path? And what decisions to keep things secret might have changed everything?

Coben starts with a believable premise—a father trying to save his daughter—and creates a thriller with lots of twists and turns. There are so many questions that come to light as Simon starts to dig deeper into the circumstances that brought Paige into her boyfriend's clutches, and what happened after he punched him. I really couldn't put this book down, and flew through it.

There were definitely some surprises to be had here, and there was some rich emotion and character development as well. There was one storyline that didn't work for me at all, and while I like where Coben took things, the addition of two characters really frustrated me when they appeared periodically. But other than that, this had my heart pounding, my brain scrambling to figure things out before the characters did, and might have even brought a tear to my eyes once or twice.

If you've never read any of Coben's thrillers, I'd highly recommend Home and Don't Let Go in particular. And definitely pick this one up, too. If you like a well-written thriller that offers more than suspense and action, these are great books for you.

This book will be published March 19, 2019.

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