Home by Harlan Coben: Book Review

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Genre: Thriller

 

Five long years after the last Myron Bolitar novel, Harlan Coben is revisiting the fan-favorite protagonist and his motley crew of friends in his latest thriller, Home. Myron Bolitar is a former athlete turned sports agent after a life-altering injury prematurely ended his career. Myron was originally introduced in Coben’s 1995 book, Deal Breaker, in which his client’s scandal transforms Myron from sports agent to accidental detective.

Home begins with Win Horne Lockwood—Myron’s long-time best friend and former psychopathic sidekick—receiving an anonymous tip regarding the whereabouts of one of two young boys who had been kidnapped ten years prior. When following up on the lead, Win mistakenly sets off a catastrophic chain of events and is forced to leave his self-imposed seclusion to ask Myron for assistance.

Coben’s stories don’t merely unfold; they explode. Home is no exception. After finding and subsequently losing the first missing boy, Myron and Win are thrown into a suspenseful series of life-threatening events that exponentially creates questions every time one is answered. Is this missing boy who we believe him to be? If so, where is the second missing boy? Who had them all this time? Was the kidnapping story falsified?

Coben’s greatest talent as a writer is quite possibly his ability to shape characters so masterfully, that the reader feels as though this is a real story being told to them firsthand by an old friend. Myron’s hilarious, self-deprecating humor and sarcasm can cause laughter during even the tensest of scenes. Esperanza Diaz—Myron’s former business partner and close friend—adds a strong female character to the masculine-dominated series. Win, with his carefully crafted façade, has a surprising depth of complex layers which are hinted at in previous novels, but finally explored in Home.

Despite its rapid-fire action movie-like sequences Home prompts the reader to engage in some self-reflection. Early into the book, we meet the missing boys’ parents. These characters are a study in contrasts that delves into the different effects of a shared traumatic event on the various parties involved. Readers are forced to face the uncomfortable results of grieving and ask themselves what they would do in such terrible situations. Furthermore, to what lengths would they be willing to go to protect their child?

As with many of Coben’s books, Home keeps readers in the dark throughout the duration of the novel. It isn’t until near the end that all the puzzle pieces start to fit together and reveal a surprising conclusion. Often in action-heavy novels and those in the mystery genre, the conclusion relies on luck and coincidence to an unrealistic degree. While Coben’s stories are often outrageous bordering on unbelievable, he never crosses the line into the realm of impossibilities and instead chooses to tiptoe along the improbability tightrope. As a result, Coben consistently presents himself as an inspired writer who never has to stretch to tell a story. The events and ending of Home are of course highly unlikely in the real world, but then so are many newsworthy events that occur day-to-day.

The conclusion of Home is satisfying on many levels: It successfully wraps up the story and reveals the potential for future development of its beloved characters. While Coben’s recent focus has been on a spin-off young adult series featuring Myron’s nephew Mickey, one can only hope that revisiting Myron et al. is a sign of things to come.

To order Home click here