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Run Away

Review

Run Away

I have read elsewhere that the newly published RUN AWAY is Harlan Coben’s best book. It is. This might seem surprising given that Coben is well into his third decade of writing in a career that has seen him launch two successful book series (one of them for younger readers), a long shelf full of stand-alone titles, and two successful television series. It appears that all of this work has just made that creative spear a bit sharper, and the point of it is this latest thriller, which I believe will find an audience far beyond that of Coben’s usual fan base.

There is a reason for this. RUN AWAY concerns a situation that parents either worry about occurring or agonize over if it already has happened. Coben introduces us to Simon Greene, a New York wealth management expert, and his daughter Paige. Simon is sitting on a bench in New York City’s Central Park, watching an emaciated busker attempt to raise some money. The erstwhile musician is Paige, who less than two years ago had represented the hopes and dreams of Simon and his wife Ingrid, a successful pediatrician. During her first year of college, Paige had fallen in with a man several years her senior named Aaron Corval, a drug-addicted waste of skin who had exerted a Svengali-like influence over Paige. All too soon, she left school and her family behind for a life on the streets and a focus on getting her next fix.

"What you will find in RUN AWAY as things progress and conclude would be more than enough to keep you reading and entertained throughout, but you will get even more than you might reasonably expect."

When Simon sees his all-but-unrecognizable daughter in the park, he follows her and then approaches her, which initiates a physical confrontation with Aaron. Video of the incident promptly goes viral, which is bad enough. But then Aaron is subsequently murdered, and in the wake of this act, Paige disappears once again. Simon and Ingrid go looking for her but are quickly in over their heads. When a disaster befalls them, Simon is left to search for Paige alone, a journey that takes him far outside of his comfort zone and well beyond his skill set, even as he manages to acquire a couple of unexpected allies.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Simon, a pair of killers are hopscotching across states committing what appears to be a random series of murders for hire. The connection between Simon, Paige and the crimes are about to intersect in a most unexpected manner. Simon doesn’t know what's going on, and he may not be able to handle the truth.

What you will find in RUN AWAY as things progress and conclude would be more than enough to keep you reading and entertained throughout, but you will get even more than you might reasonably expect. Coben starts dropping high-grade explosives into the last quarter or so of the book, revealing surprises that you will never see coming and won't soon forget. He also raises one issue near the end of the book and resolves it in the story’s last sentence (no peeking) in a manner that ultimately tells you everything you need to know about Simon.

As far as RUN AWAY is concerned, every parent --- or everyone who knows a parent --- who reads this fine work will feel a shiver and hope that what transpires in these pages never happens to them.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on March 22, 2019

Run Away
by Harlan Coben

  • Publication Date: March 19, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538748460
  • ISBN-13: 9781538748466