2016 Reviews · contemporary fiction · mystery · suspense · thriller

Book Review: Home by Harlan Coben

Title: Home (Myron Bolitar #11)coben

Author: Harlan Coben

Published: September 20th 2016

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 400

Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4 stars

Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home.

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend?

Harlan Coben delivers a thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.

My review:

It isn’t the best move to start reading a book that is the eleventh in a highly established series. Thankfully, Home was such an exhilarating thriller, it didn’t matter that I hadn’t read any previous books in this series, or anything prior by master thriller storyteller, Harlan Coben.

Home starts with a hooking premise that reeled me into the story immediately. Ten years after two school boys go missing from their suburban home in the United States, one is sighted in London. Following a covert investigation and dangerous retrieval of the boy, he is reunited with his family. Although there is closure for one family, the other family still has a missing son. Doubts also arise as to the credibility and true identity of the boy who has appeared. There is also the overwhelming mystery as to what really happened to these boys ten years ago.

Home is a book that I whizzed through in twenty-four hours flat. This is perhaps an indication of Coben’s ability to write quality contemporary thrillers. I found this novel compelling from the very start and the suspense was maintained throughout the whole novel. The story didn’t seem to lag at any point, with the pace steadily maintained by Coben for the length of the novel.

Coben clearly has a set formula on how to write a successful thriller, which he maximises in his latest book. As soon as I opened Home I felt like I had to read on and I wasn’t quite sure where this book was going to take me. Despite not knowing what to expect, I found Home to be an exciting tale, travelling at a fast pace. Coben obviously loves to deliver unexpected narrative twists. One of these twists occurs near the close of the novel and threw me for six, turning the central mystery of this novel on its head.

In addition to this startling plot, are the emotions Coben manages to capture associated with families of kidnapping victims. I felt he tackled this part of the novel very well. Likewise, Coben also explores the feelings experienced by the returning boy with a strong sense of understanding, many of these scenes I found heart wrenching. I also liked that Coben explored the personal lives of his main characters, making them more relatable to the reader.

Coming into a novel that is part of an established series, with a reoccurring set of characters, is never an easy task but on the whole this novel worked for me. There were only a few instances where I didn’t quite connect to the main character Myron’s personal life story that appears in a few sections of the novel.  Certain moments in Home also gave me the feeling I was a little late to the party. This occurred during the rich dialogue and banter scenes that occur between Myron and Win, both of which are returning characters.  However, it did spur me on to read the earlier novels in the series, to get a better feeling for the enigmatic character of Myron Bolitar.

Home is a book that raised plenty of questions concerning the central mystery of the two missing boys. It is a non-stop style of read, constantly pushing forward at a constant speed, to solve the baffling kidnapping case. Home is a book that kept my eyes glued to the pages for the entire time I spent with the book. I am confident newcomers to Coben’s work will appreciate this stylistic thriller novel, while established fans will be sure to devour Coben’s latest offering.

Home by Harlan Coben was published in 2016 by Penguin Books Australia.

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