Thursday, August 12, 2010

Harlan Coben - "Caught" - Review

I've just finished reading "Caught", and a good thing it is too, because I've been neglecting my long-and-getting-longer list of urgent tasks in favour of curling up in the winter sunshine with this latest Harlan Coben.

Overall, this stand-alone novel deserves a 5 out of 5. It contains the usual magic ingredients: a protagonist you want to root for (and if you're a man from Down Under, you probably want to root her, too), snappy dialogue with that unique HC rhythm, pace for Africa, gritty realism of parental emotions, moral dilemmas to mull over long after the last page is turned and a f-ing good plot.

Mind you, sometimes a writer has to have enough reader cred to get away with a plot like this one. With a lesser writer, I'd be screaming But-what-about-the-fact-that-Wendy-managed-to... and Why-doesn't-Hester-simply-tell-him-to-write-an-anonymous-letter-to-the-cops-with-the-exact... and Yo-have-you-forgotten-the-timeline-question. Not to mention (OK, to mention) my personal darling: NOW-you-expect-us-to-buy-the-trophy-theory????

So. A lesser writer, I'd be reading with my eyebrow cocked. Because it's Coben, though, I just read, giving him my full trust that all the niggles will be tied up at the end. Which they are. This book is a perfect example of "nothing is as it seems". A marvellous job.

I know he says he doesn't plan the stuff in-between the beginning and the end, but I still wonder whether this complex plot was designed or resulted from being written into a corner and having to twist the ways out.

As a huge Win fan, I welcomed his cameo appearance in this non Myron-B book. Again, I can't help wondering how that came about, whether the author sat there with writer's block one morning, forcing himself to type in something, anything, already excited by the idea of his next book and throughly sick of this one....

Hard to imagine being sick of "Caught". I'm planning to read it again. Soon.


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