Review

Hold Tight

by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben has had a remarkable run since 2001, when TELL NO
ONE increased his already considerable army of readers one
hundredfold. He has sustained, even increased, his presence on a
multitude of must-read lists since then. Even casual readers, folks
who don’t necessarily pay close attention to what has just
been published, keep an eye out for a new Coben title.

However, neither those who have been with Coben since DEAL BREAKERS
nor those who have jumped on the train in this century are going to
be prepared for HOLD TIGHT, his latest and best title. The primary
focus of his most recent books has been the “family
thriller,” and accurately so. HOLD TIGHT does not abandon
that theme but rather expands it, taking it to the next level or
two. The result is a work that is compelling and memorable, one
that you won’t forget anytime soon.

What Coben does, and quite expertly, is get a few plot plates
spinning on different sticks and then slowly and improbably, but
credibly, brings them all together. The major plot deals with Mike
and Tia Baye. Mike is a transplant surgeon, one of the best there
is at what he does. Tia is an up-and-coming defense attorney in a
major law firm. They are the parents of 16-year-old Adam and tween
Jill. Adam is becoming a concern. Following the suicide of his best
friend, Adam, a former high school hockey star, has hung up his
skates, is withdrawing and becoming more secretive about his
activities.

His parents, after some soul-searching, begin spying on him, 21st
century-style. They install software on his computer that records
and reports everything he sees and sends. They check his
whereabouts via a GPS sender located in his cell phone. Adam
appears to be involved with people who are way out of the
Bayes’ league, who have an interest in him and aren’t
about to relinquish it easily, and who have an unexpected hold on
Mike that could cause him to lose everything.

At the same time, Mike has a problem with a patient, a young boy in
dire need of a kidney transplant. The normal source for a donor
isn’t open to her, for reasons, Mike soon discovers, that
cannot be revealed. And at the same time, a mysterious and
psychotic killer --- a man we know only as Nash --- is roaming the
area, murdering women seemingly at random who are somehow
interconnected with each other. And Nash? He is motivated
by…love. And protection. There are connections between the
Bayes, Nash and a young girl, connections that aren’t fully
revealed until the very end of HOLD TIGHT and that will resonate
long after your reading is done.

Harlan Coben is a marvel. HOLD TIGHT reveals the depth of his
talent, which is as good as his past work has been. This is one of
those rare books that deserves to be read at least twice: once to
let yourself be carried along, and once to see just how the author
pulled it off. Draw the blinds, turn off the cell and barricade the
doors. You do not want to be interrupted while you read this
one.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

Hold Tight
by Harlan Coben

  • Publication Date: April 15, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0525950605
  • ISBN-13: 9780525950608