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While I can't say I am Harlen Coben's biggest fan, I have read many of his novels.Some I liked,others,not so much. His latest novel `Stay Close' fell into the latter category.The plot seemed very similar to some of his other novels.You have a main character or in this case two main characters that have been dealt raw deals by life. You have Ray, life has managed to grind him into the ground,and you have Meagan/Cassie who has managed to beat life,and has achieved every little girl's dream; husband,kids and the white picket fence.Then comes the event,be it person, place, or thing that forces these two back to the beginning,to face their past,and their choices.I like to connect with something in a novel,the characters,their plight,the plot,something.I found the characters flat, just words on a page,I felt no emotion for them or the plot,good or bad.While there are sections in this book where you can plainly see why Coben deserves his reputation for a suspense writer there just is not enough of them for me.
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I generally enjoy Harlan Coben's books, but it is a while since I read one which did not concern Myron Bolitar and friends so I was keen to see how this measured up. In many ways it is up to standard since it is eminently reasonable, proceeds at a good pace and has quite an interesting plot.

I did not feel it was quite up to the best of Coben's work though. Most of his stories are somewhat unbelievable if you dissect them and one has to suspend disbelief to some extent. However, I would say that Stay Close was rather more farfetched than most and did rely on an improbable basis to the whole thing. The main characters do not really come across as credible - we have Ray, who was so damaged by a failed love affair 17 years earlier that he has spent the intervening years falling apart. Megan aka Cassie loved working in the clubs, but has happily changed her profession and settled down to being a successful hockey mom. Coben's cast have always been eccentric in the extreme but generally did ring true.

The other issue I had was that this comes across as rather melodramatic, particularly towards the end with all sorts of heart searching by the leading figures. I cannot remember this as a feature of Coben's past books. However, I am probably being rather harsh overall and this is certainly a reasonable read, although probably not one which the reader will recall much of a few months on and certainly not this author's best work.
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This novel is written as if Harlan Coben just needed to write something because he was obligated to do so. It is an ok mystery with some ok moments & some ok characters. It has none of the snap & flair of Myron & Win who simply jumped off the pages.

The story has some unrealistic moments & while motives are explained it just does not grab the same attention.

I can see where after a number of novels following the same characters an author would tire or run out of ideas for the same characters. It's hard to vie with yourself once you've done something that attracted such acclaim & so many fans, but to write something that is so not up to par is disappointing for fans & I wonder, for the author as well?

I believe this is the weakest of Coben's `stand-alone' novels to date. I can see shades of "Tell No One"; "Gone for Good"; "No Second Chance" & "Just One Look"... all of which I would rate higher than this one. The same theme seems to appear throughout all these novels, not surprising after reworking the same theme the author runs out of steam. Unfortunately, for fans, it gets tired & ho-hum.

Even with a satisfying ending it's only ok & it just can't compete with Myron & Win. Not even close.
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Loved it. Another exciting story with lots of twists and turns that will keep you guessing to the very end. The past influences the present and the most surprising people have the most disturbing secrets.
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on April 10, 2014
This author, Harlan Coben, is a new wonderful discovery. I so love this book that I've now chosen quite a few books of this author which are now on my ¨Wish List¨. I would recommend this book to everyone who loves a suspense novel with a lot of psycology and is written with humour. (Please excuse my wordings - I am French Canadian.)
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on August 16, 2013
Coben has always been a favourite author but some of his books seemed to lack his original brilliance at the genre. This book, in my opinion, puts him back up on the pedestal.
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on May 21, 2014
I liked his previous books better. While this was good, it took me a long time to get "into"it. Hopefully, the next one will be better.
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on August 12, 2014
Great fir a fast read, a page turner. Maybe not history making but great plot and character development. A master of crime fiction
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on May 4, 2012
Another strong outing by Harlan Coben, he knows how to keep your interest in a book. Could have finished it in one night. A very good read.
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on August 25, 2013
Already interesting 3 stars only, could be easely 4 because I have not finish yet. Still reading and the novel is well writtin.
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