Harlan Coben’s latest novel is notable not only because it
features the welcome return of Myron Bolitar (last seen in
2006’s PROMISE ME), but because it is a sequel of sorts to
THE FINAL DETAIL and DARKEST FEAR. One does not need to have read
these previous books, however, to fully appreciate LONG LOST, which
may well be the author’s best work to date.
Myron is an appealing character imbued with a real-world
humanity that is rarely found in fiction with such clarity. A
former pro-basketball prospect whose career ended before it was
barely off the ground, he has broadened his career as a sports
agent to include all manner of celebrities. Myron notwithstanding,
the appeal of the series is due in no small part to the cast of
characters with which he has been surrounded. Arguably, the
greatest of these is Win --- Windsor Horne Lockwood III --- the
rich pretty boy who is unexpectedly dangerous and is the heavy
hitter upon whom Myron must frequently rely. Myron’s romantic
life is also intriguing and, for many reasons, not always
successful. So the reappearance of Terese Collins at the start of
the book is a welcome surprise.
Terese, perhaps the most intriguing of Myron’s past
paramours, contacts him with a surprising and almost irresistible
request: come to Paris. Myron is involved with someone else, but
after she is deftly and cleverly removed from his life, he is on
his way to France where he is swept up into a murder investigation
involving the brutal demise of Terese’s ex-husband Rick.
Terese is initially the prime suspect in the case, until evidence
demonstrates that her daughter was present at the crime scene.
This, however, is an impossibility, since her daughter was killed
in an automobile accident several years before.
Coben thus sets up a mystery that leads Myron and Terese across
Europe and back to New England, even as shadowy pursuers dog their
footsteps along the way. The always capable Win is along to help,
but it is ultimately Myron who must solve the seemingly
inexplicable mystery of Rick’s murder, as well as deal with
the violent confrontation his discovery precipitates.
My initial reaction to the solution of LONG LOST was that Coben
had perhaps jumped the shark with respect to his revelation
concerning the villain of the piece. After some reflection,
however, his method doesn’t reflect madness so much as a
reliance upon the time-honored method of cloaking a wolf in the
guise of a lamb. There is also a hint of irony, which may or not
have been intentional, that will get readers thinking and certainly
talking. Most of the discussion regarding the novel will concern
the return of Myron Bolitar and the surprising reprise of Terese.
From its opening sentence to its chilling final paragraph, LONG
LOST is a winner. Now how about a novel featuring Win?
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 30, 2010