Reviewed: Stay Close by Harlen Coben


It’s been seventeen years!

Three people living in Atlantic City tread along that thin-line they abandoned seventeen years ago. Or maybe not! Maybe they just thought that they escaped something not knowing that that something was chasing them all this while. Because that is what happens with past, it can never be buried! It always surfaces at the most unexpected times.

Seventeen years ago, Ray Levine was an accomplished photojournalist working for the AP in Iraq during the Persian Gulf War. Now, at age forty, he is dead tired chasing and trying to get a glimpse into the lives of wanna-be-celebrity kids for his own living. All Ray has ever wanted in the past seventeen years, is to be with the woman he loved. She disappeared that unfateful night, seventeen years ago. And no one knows where.

Seventeen years ago, Cassie was living her dream, and loving it – dark rooms; the lustful, hungry stares from strangers; the pounding, pulsating music; the crazy lights; the adrenaline spikes. Now, she is Megan Pierce, not Cassie anymore. She is living a soccer mom fantasy and married to a lawyer, a righteous man who loves her, with two kids. But hell, she misses her old life. But then there is a past associated with it which follows her no matter where she goes. She has to confront it. Better sooner than later.

Seventeen years ago, Stewart Green, a husband and father of two doting kids went missing. Detective Broome did not know then what happened to him. Now, not willing to let go of the unresolved case, Broome has been a regular visitor at Green’s place on his anniversary every year, a house that still awaits his return, a family that never moved on. Whether he’s dead or alive is still to be found out and Detective Broome might just scrape the right ground.

And they will live the past again, finish what was left behind. Because people have started to disappear again, the same day every year that Stewart did. And yes, how are Ray, Megan and Stewart connected, if at all they were seventeen years ago, is one secret that will drive Detective Broome toward closure of the case.

There are other characters too who are portrayed in significant roles like Lorraine (Megan’s Friend), Dell Flynn, Ken and Barbie (the psychopaths), Harry (the so-good Megan’s lawyer), etc.

I absolutely adore and love Ray Levine . He is Coben’s guy. The guy who loses his love and still stuck with the hope of finding her, to be with her, drowning himself in drinks, refusing to move on. You will not be able to stop before you fall in love with him. He is the ultimate loving, concerned, affectionate, will-take-the-blame-for-you guy. And it made my heart melt when he says to Megan or Cassie when they meet again after seventeen years,

“I ran down the hill. I went to your place, afraid, I don’t know. I just didn’t know. But you were gone.
I came here, to Lucy. I thought maybe you’d be hiding inside or something. I waited. But you never showed, of course.
I searched for you.For years. I didn’t know if you were dead or alive. I saw your face on every street, in every bar.”

Harlan Coben’s Stay Close is a terrifying page-turner once again with his trademark style of writing unpredictable tones of domestic mystery coating it with utmost perfection that leaves the readers holding their breath with frantic anticipation.

While I loved Six Years and doted on
Tell No one, with Stay Close, I was introduced to a totally different plane of mystery writing compared to the kind of fiction he writes.

The reason I find his books spell-binding is the
strong character portrayal, their almost-always-perfect lives rocked by catastrophes from their past, their murky secrets, the lurking violence and killings, the almost horrid feeling that something bad is going to happen with every turning page, the roll of events one after another perfectly linked leaving no loose ends.

In fact, it is the characters that make the book ever so enjoyable and worth reading till 5 in the morning and almost impossible to be able to put it down till you’ve finished. This book is a plot that runs along serial-murder theory and more than once my instincts were proved wrong about who the serial-killer actually is. Well, keeping the readers to guess, certainly works!

I loved the book and I do not compare it with his other books. I would suggest to readers – do not compare . Because it simply is different from his league of books as far the story-line is concerned.

You ought to feel disappointed and you aren’t wrong. It’s the bar his books like Tell No One and Six Years have created, that leaves the readers a little unsatisfied with his other books.

But not considering that, this is a MUST READ .

If you happen to read it or have already read it, do share your thoughts below.

The Unread Book©


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