Monday, 8 October 2018

HARLAN COBEN - HOME (2016)


Synopsis/blurb.....

The boy who had been missing for 10 years was right in front of him.... 

A decade ago kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. 

For 10 years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend, Win, believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for 10 years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: what can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? 

Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family and the meaning of home.

It's been a year or two (actually five)  since I read anything from Harlan Coben and while I enjoyed this, it's probably going to be a similar period before I pick up anything else by him. It was good, but not especially amazing. My wife enjoyed it as a beach read on our recent holiday, but even for her it wasn't the sort of book you immediately press into someone else's hands and keep pestering them to start it and then nagging them constantly as to where they were up to. I had mostly indifference from her when I cracked the spine.

We have two missing boys, Patrick and Rhys from ten years ago and one suddenly turns up in London. After a struggle - a fight and three deaths - a period of negotiation and another confrontation with a violent London pimp, one of the boys, Patrick is rescued. But where is Rhys?

Myron Bolitar is our main character. He's a retired sports agent and a famous almost basketball star and to be honest I'm not too sure what his job is now. Probably rich - I think he sold his sports agency and is now a bit of a busybody. One of the missing boys, Rhys was his best friend Win's cousin's child. Win, another rich dude apparently hasn't stopped looking for the boy in the intervening years.

I quite enjoyed the set-up and the riddle of what happened to the boys. There is frustration for Win and Myron, as Patrick's family don't want him troubled by questions about Rhys especially after the trauma of his lifestyle and the injuries he suffered in his rescue. The pair, then try and start at the beginning, re-looking into the investigation from the moment the boys went missing.

Family, conflict, secrets, a vanished au-pair, unresolved grief, marital difficulties, London rent boys and an underage sex business, siblings and friendships, support and understanding, some teenage help in the form of Myron's nephew - Mickey and cohorts, a scary cross-dresser and lots more.

Eventually we get answers and everything is resolved. The actual outcome is the only believable option really. I just didn't feel any particular emotion when we have our resolution. I was interested in what happened, but I wasn't happy/sad/elated/shaken (delete as necessary) at how things turned out. 

An okay mystery, fairly fast-paced. I didn't mind Myron as a main character. He means well. We have his connection to his nephew and the love he shows for his parents and his fiancee. He's one of the good guys. His friend Win, I'm guessing has appeared in earlier books in the series - Home is the 11th. I didn't take to him at all. Coben strives to portray him as dark, enigmatic and mysterious. He doesn't like attachments and romantic entanglements and is aware that he's the loner type. He disappears from Myron's life for long periods at a time. I found him to be a massive tool frankly. 

All in all - an okay read but not one that has me shouting from the rooftops for others to read. Does what is says on the tin.

3 from 5


I will read more from Coben in the future - I have a few on the pile and he is one of the few authors my wife enjoys.

No Second Chance , Play Dead, Hold Tight, Tell No One have been enjoyed to a greater or lesser extent in the past.


Read in October, 2018
Published - 2016
Page count - 416
Source - purchased copy
Format - paperback

13 comments:

  1. I'm glad you found things to like about this, Col, even if it wasn't one that had you eagerly trying to get others to read it. I have to admit, I think the earlier Bolitar books are more engaging. Still, this one does, as you say have an engaging premise.

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    1. Margot, it's the sort of book I can read as a filler in-between amazing books or at least others more greatly anticipated. It's been a while since I read an early Bolitar, perhaps I'll go there next with him.

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  2. Col, I haven't read a Harlan Coben yet although I have been thinking of reading a few of his books, starting with the first, one after the other. I'd be interested in his narrative style.

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    1. Prashant, some people seem to prefer his earlier work to his more recent offerings so you might be advised to start there. I possibly haven't read enough from him to make that judgement

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  3. I've loved most of Coben's standalones that I've read, but after several Myron Bolitars I've decided to give the series a miss. Coben's imagination and audacity just seem to work that much better when he's not stuck with a series detective.

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    1. I have a few more of both to get to in the tubs when time allows. My jury is out at the minute, but you could well be right with that analysis of yours.

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  4. Col – I read this one and enjoyed it more than you, but I am not running out for more. I’ve got too many edgy new books on the Kindle and too many pulp paperbacks on the shelves waiting for me.

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    1. I didn't dislike this one Elgin, I suppose I just prefer grittier books myself, though that said this isn't especially light. I'll read more from him in the future, mainly because I have them in the tubs.

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  5. I have read the first Myron Bolitar book and I enjoyed it but it also wasn't really my type of book. I do want to try more. I am leery of his standalone books, I think they would be tense reads for me. But, I am going to read Tell No One someday, because we really like the movie. So after reading that I may change my mind and read others.

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    1. I hope that one goes well for you Tracy. I don't mind tension in books, as long as the eventual reveal is worthy of the suspense. Nothing worse that a denouement that deflates like a flat balloon.

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