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Showing 1-10 of 22 reviews(2 star).Show all reviews
on June 7, 2003
This is the first book of Harlan Coben's that I have read, and I came away with it with some understanding. First of all, he must be pretty hip, since he writes about a lesbian couple (totally gratuitous and a sickening attempt to let us all know just how PC he is). There is not just a mention of this couple. They are totally unnecessary to the story, yet they keep popping up relentlessly. For example, one of the women leaves the other, causing her (I can't remember which one-it doesn't really matter) son to start wetting the bed, from the anxiety that his mother's girlfriend is gone. How sad!!
Also, we should learn a lesson from this book besides that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. Besides the fact that there is nothing wrong with being a lesbian, there is nothing wrong with being a drug dealer. Evidently, drug dealers are really just misunderstood, unselfish people who would go out of their way to save your life if only they had the chance. Please!!
It's a shame, because I really wanted to like this book. I wanted to like it and read his other books, but I was a little too disgusted by this one to waste my time on any of his other books.
If Coben could focus more on his story and plot and less on forcing his political correctness down the readers' throats, he may actually turn out to be a decent writer.
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on September 24, 2002
Generally, I don't really read books like this, but my mom was complaining about me reading too many stories about animals. I'd thought I'd give something else a try to make her happy...I saw this book on the shelf of my local library, was slightly interested, and checked it out.
That was a while ago. Anyway, this story is about a man named David Beck who recieves the stunning revelation that his wife may still be alive. And he voyages off to discover where she is and where she's been...
This book seemed to know where it was going, but the writing style was just plain poor. Then again, it's the small things. The characters were rather wooden, the dialogue laughable in parts, and plot just unbelieveable, even in fiction. Especially that ending. But that's a small thing. Another thing that made this book even poorer was the ANNOYING repition of the line "it's the small things." I wanted to strangle Beck every time he said that...The only reason it gets two stars instead of one was the cute way in which Beck defended Pokemon. :-) And even that was hardly worth slugging through this terrible novel.
PS - it's the small things.
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on October 8, 2001
I read the premise of this book and that convinced me to read it. Beck thinks his wife his dead, then gets a mysterious email that makes him think she is still alive. Sounds great, and it is. Once he receives the email, Beck begins to investigate the circumstances around his wife's death, hoping to find out whether or not to believe in the impossible, that she isn't really dead. This part of the book is fast paced and exciting.
But if his wife is really alive, then what happened eight years ago when she supposedly died? Obviously there has to have been a conflict eight years ago, and this is where the story falls apart. First of all, the situation, which involves murder and blackmail seems contrived. The bad guy also seems to be all powerful and have thugs working for him that can do anything, yet we get no sense of who the bad guy is. Finally, towards the end of the novel, when what happened 8 years ago is relevant to the current story, we find out about it by the author having one of the characters tell what happened.
Richard North Patterson is an author who uses flashbacks effectively. They would have helped immensley in this story. The situation surrounding his wife's death is obviously important, yet Coben forces us not to care.
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on July 30, 2001
I've read all the Myron Bolitar novels and appreciate the cartoony yet enjoyable tone of those, but Coben overreaches w/ this one. TNO starts out okay, but plot hole after plot hole begins to appear, characters are running all over the place for no apparent reason and Coben is not an accomplished enough writer to pull off the first person to third person switching back and forth POV. As a representative example of a glaring plothole: (semi-SPOILER if you haven't read the book) How could the police charge the narrator w/ the murder of that photographer after an autopsy revealed all of the unique and intense damage that Eric Wu had done to her w/ his hands? That's just one of many, many fumbles committed by Coben as he tries to develop his ambitious plot. Characterization is thin, plotting is interesting for awhile, but then fizzles. Writing is competent, pedestrian. Tacked on "revelation" at the end is especially annoying. I envision Coben hunched over his keyboard, typing this novel and a neon sign in his brain flashing: "Movie Deal Movie Deal Movie Deal . . ."
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on August 12, 2002
A decent junk food read, I suppose, although most of it was half-baked. The ending annoyed me, as did most of the characterizations and the implausibility of major parts of the plot. Regarding the characters and the author's mini-dissertations throughout: Was the author trying to be PC and instructive rather than horribly condescending? My ambivalence toward the book was there from start to finish--I did turn the pages to see what happened, and then I felt manipulated and disappointed.
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on May 24, 2002
This book is certainly an easy read and a page-turner, and yes, it has a neat little twist at the end. But I didn't believe in a single one of the characters; they were nothing but cardboard cut-outs. Of course, the hero (and all of his friends) are extremely clever, and the police are all extremely stupid (and malicious). The story regarding the disappearance of the wife is laughable in its implausability. I really wanted to like this book, but just can't give it a good rating.
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on August 28, 2001
I got this book because I was indecisive and the books title was familar to me. The book was alright at best. It had the premis of a good plot. However, the characters are shallow and not well rounded. Also, the further you got in the book the more the plot took turns for the worse. You can read longer reviews if you want. Overall, it was a quick read and somewhat interesting. Not intellecutally stimulating.
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on September 2, 2001
I was wowed up until chapter 5, very Hitchcockian. BUT!! Suddenly he switches narrators, from 1st to third, then every other chapter the narrator switches back and forth, even within the chapters themselves. Most annoying. Harlan is clearly a good writer but this book would have been so much better if it were all in the third person or he wrote a slightly different story with the 1st person point of view.
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on August 28, 2001
I don't know how this got as many good stars as it did. I'll keep this short since there are so many long reviews that tell you everything but the dedication. Overall the plot had a good premise. But, the characters aren't well developed. Toward the end of the book it pretends to be a thriller. It is a easy read, and yes somewhat enjoyable. Nothing that I would EVER recommend to someone.
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on January 5, 2003
I won't give away the end of this gripping story, but...
for those who have not read it, my problem is that the 'killer' just makes the lead character more of an important part of the mystery than one ( as the storyline goes ) who is clueless and is trying to find the truth. Very disappointing conclusion that almost makes the first 99/100ths of the story meaningless.
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