Buy at Amazon.com
of Harlan Coben books
"Promise Me," June 2006
"Just One Look," April 2004
"No Second Chance," April 2003
"Gone for Good," May 2002
"Tell No One," July 2001
I like and admire Harlan Coben and most of his books.
This latest one, "Six Years," not so much.
It is in the Coben-patented formula of a guy losing the love of his life for years, then suddenly finding she maybe could get back in his life again, only there is some scary mystery involved.
"Tell No One," in 2001, was great. A good doctor becomes a better doctor and better person, in her memory, when he thinks his beloved is dead. When she pops up, he goes through hell to hook up with her again. "Just One Look" in 2004 was also terrific and clever.
And he has plenty of other mostly good to great books out there, including his always fun Myron Bolitar series. And he is a fabulous speaker at bookstore events! Really, go see him if he tours through your village.
In "Six Years," a 35-year-old college professor, Jake Fisher, is still kind of moping around, six years after the love of his life, Natalie, dumped him and married another guy. Wow, was he surprised. He actually goes to her wedding, where he was not welcome, and she makes him promise to leave her alone.
So he does.
Until he sees an obituary, six years later, for the guy Natalie had married.
So, he decides maybe that relieves him of having to keep his promise, and go looking for Natalie.
But, surprise, surprise, when he goes to the dead guy's funeral, the widow is not Natalie. When he goes to the site of the wedding, nobody remembers such a wedding, or Natalie, or him.
And then people start getting cranky and people start getting hurt. Some very nasty people are also, maybe, looking for Natalie.
Jake keeps digging and digging, and there are many clever and interesting plot twists. So, it can be said there are things to enjoy and admire about this book.
My problem with it is mostly that I don't much like Jake.
Coben never really gives us enough reason to like him, or care if he finds Natalie again. He's an OK guy, feels some guilt when he endangers some people here and there, but we never really get to plumb the depths of his character or even his love for Natalie.
He goes through the actions, but he doesn't lay his heart out for us.
But, no worries. If Coben stays true to form, he'll probably have a better book next year.