Thursday, November 13, 2008

Harlan Coben, The Mystery lovers Mystery Writer

The other day I came across a Harlan Coben book I hadn't read. I was surprised, because I thought I had drained the well. I found this one at the flea market and since the books were only a dime (even the hard backs) I knew I couldn't go wrong. I figured if by some chance I had already read it , it would be easy to pass on to a neighbor or my son...if it's a book, some deals are just to hard to let pass. So, the other night after going through the books I had purchased (and when I tell you that every room in my house has a book shelf of some sort, you can take it to the bank) I picked up "Tell No One". You know, even the title gave me a bit of a chill. I felt it work across my shoulders and then slither to my spine and it pushed a rod of cold straight down. I was reading the "biopsy" of the book. "For Dr. David Beck, the loss of his wife was shattering. And everyday for the past 8 years he has relived the horror of that happening." Hmm...see what I mean? Now do you think I could wait to turn to page one? Even though dinner was on the stove, the table needed setting, and company due to walk in the door any second, I sat on the edge of the sofa and read the first three pages. I was enthralled immediately.

I love a mystery. I love the ones that make you look over your shoulder. The ones that ensure that you get up out of a warm bed, breaking off the doze you were slipping into, to make sure that you locked the doors. And the windows...and checked the showers, pulling the curtains back to reveal...nothing. I love Stephen King, but Mr. Coben holds my mystery loving heart. What have I learned from Mr. Coben? Well, I have learned that just because someone tells a character who they are, usually that is a lie. Especially if the person is supposed to be someone in authority. Look again...nothing and no one is what or who they seem. If a character walks into a room and feels plastic under their feet, you can bet your bottom dollar that there is no painting going on...this is minimum cleanup of what is hardest to clean up in a crime scene...blood. No matter how hard you scrub, there's always that minuscule drop of blood that worked it's way down into a floor board or behind a piece of paneling. You can bet on it. Hence the large rubber sheeting on the floor, the spill catcher. If someone is supposed to be dead, keep reading...because chances are they are going to pop up at some inconvenient moment and scare the beejeebers out of you. Ah, Mr. Coben, you enthrall me no end. And you tie the ends up so cleverly. You never kill a really REALLY bad guy off till you've used him in a couple, maybe three books. Eric Wu is the scariest bad guy I've ever encountered. Even the description of him is soul shattering. And what he can do to the unsuspecting victim makes you want to skip ahead to the part where the victim is finally, hopefully mercifully dead...because you really can't take anymore of their terror. Or the torture that ensues. Mr. Coben's books are almost painful to read. It's like the old horror movies where you find yourself sitting in the theatre talking to the girl up on the screen, she of the white raincoat and high heels. You're begging her "don't go in the house" and when she does and encounters the monster, you begin begging her to kick off those damned shoes so she can get some traction to run the hell out of that house. Of course, she never does.

Mr. Coben is not known for his happy endings. You may want to think so, but even as you're coming up to the last page, Eric Wu has beaten you there...and he's most likely waiting for you.

42 comments:

Retiredandcrazy said...

I am ashamed to say that I have never read any of his books. But I will!

Sarah said...

Ooh, thanks for this post! I'm always on the lookout for new authors and your recommendation for Mr. Coben is intriguing...

Cheffie-Mom said...

Ewwwwh, scary! I love reading a good book too, especially the ones you cannot put down. Have a great day!

Louise said...

Sounds enthralling... and SCARY! Will think on it.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and your kind comments!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Accckkkk! And this is why I don't read any murder mysteries beyond Agatha Christie. Even though Stephen King and I are fellow Mainers, his books don't get read at my house, though I count some of the movies made from his books among my favorites. Heck, your writing alone gives me the heebie jeebies! ;>

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

...and I mean that in the nicest possible way, Hon!

Jan said...

I'm gonna have to go find something written by this author. A great review! : )

Jay said...

Sounds a bit too much for me! I think I'll pass... I do know that feeling of 'I must have that book!!' though, and the desire to read it at once!

By the way, 'Somewhere over the rainbow' was playing on your site when I clicked over. Now I have to say that my finger was already on it's way to the mute button because I find music on blogs a distraction (plus I often have several tabs open so you can imagine if more than one have music ... ). But there is something quite magical about Iz's rendition - I don't even like that song, but he brings tears to my eyes every time. His voice is - was - just mesmerising. So gentle and true.

*Sigh*

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Have never read any Harlan Coben - I'm going to have to look out for him now!

A x

Pam said...

You know, I have never read one of his novels! I'll have to pick one up the next time I'm at the used book store. Are his novels stand alone books or is there a series. Do you have a favorite?

Thanks for the recommendation.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Sandi, that is the first Harlan Coben novel I read and I loved it. He is very good.

Akelamalu said...

I'm not familiar with Mr. Coben. However, like you, if I get my nose into a good book everything else goes by the by!

Jeni said...

I think the last mystery books I read were of the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys type -way back when, ya know. I used to really enjoy mystery books when I was a kid and in high school, but just haven't been drawn to them since. Of course, there was a phase in my late teens, early twenties when about the only author I was drawn to was Harold Robbins so that gives you some clue as to the type of books I delved into for a long time, doesn't it?

Maggie May said...

I have read a few of his books. Keeps you on the edge of your seat!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

WOW! You make me want to read his books!

Great review Sandi!

I'm sending your link to my mystery reading daughter.

imbeingheldhostage said...

I've never read anything of his, but will add it to my list after this glowing report!

Hairline Fracture said...

I can't read anything that makes me scared to be at home alone. I do read mysteries but not really frightening ones!

Moannie said...

Now that is a coincidence. We have a charity shop in the town, for a childrens hospice Demelza house and they sell three books for £2. they are all in great condition and i buy an armful, read 'em and take them back to the shop for them to sell again. One of the hardbacks I bought was Harlan Coben's Tell No one. It is still waiting on the pile for me to read...now the dillema, diallema,dilemma [please give us spellcheck] Do I read or do I blog...cant do both.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I'm rubbish at reading in thrillers! I can't cope with the horror and the suspense. I've just bought The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher (Kate Summerscale) and I can't get past the first couple of pages. Too scared. I desperately want to read it though...

Lavinia said...

I got shivers just reading this post! tee hee...

Sally said...

Oh mercy, I'm with Lavinia - shivers! :)

I do love Patricia Cornwell books though!

SandyCarlson said...

Sandi,
These are the exact books I can't read! I can never shake the images from my head. I remember reading Poe as a kid because I HAD to. That was the longest lights on night in human history!

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

Sounds like a good read. I too have books everywhere. I am passionate about reading Taught all my children to read at a very early age. have a great tomorrow..m..

cheshire wife said...

Have never read any of Harlan Coben's books. Will have to look out for him.

There is an award for you on my blog.

Carol said...

Very enjoyable post!! And I just joined your challenge!! Great idea...and congrats on your POD award! I will be back!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

I enjoy a good flea market book stall and I have found some terrific gems that way. It sort of makes life worthwhile finding gems where you least expect them.

Laura said...

Tell No One was the first Harlan Coben book I read about ten years ago. Since then I've read all his books. I get very excited when I hear there's a new one on the way.

Mr Wu - still sends shivers down my spine!

Laura
http://arewenearlythereyetmummy.blogspot.com/

Jeanne said...

Harlan has been a favorite of mine for about 10 years now. I started reading him back with his Myron Boliter series and those remain favorites of mine. His stand alones to keep you turning those pages but Myron is one of my very favorite fictional characters.
Thanks for the comment on my header. I took the picture on one of our Vermont trips this fall and love the spot. Couldn't you see sitting in that chair with a cup of hot cider and a good Harlan Coben book Sandi?

Theresa said...

Hi
Sorry it has been so long since I visited. I like your giving thanks challenge on the side or your blog. And although it has probably been there a while a picture of the Douglas's with the quote- so romantic.

Can't say I have read any of his books- although I am more a reader of romance and biographies- I am a wimp when it comes to scary, I would have to shut my eyes, and then I couldn't ever read to the safe part!

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

I have never read any of his books, but now I am intrigued....Thanks Sandi!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

thanks for popping by...much appreciated...

I have Mr coben on my bedside table actually..unread so far.

Lee said...

Went and looked this guy up at the public library website. They have plenty of his books so I guess I'll go down and look at a description or two and see which one I want to try first.

You describe feeling horror really well. No guarantee that I'll feel the same way reading his stuff, but if I end up having nightmares from this I'll let you know. :)

Hugs!
Lee

Terri and Bob said...

I don't him either! I am not a scary book reader, though. I can say I am the same about Grace Livingston Hill, I think I have read everything she has written!

Shrinky said...

Okay, I'm out of any fresh Stephen King offerings, this'll fill the gap nicely if what you say is true. I loved this post, and soooooo empathise with the "Get the frig away from there girl, what the HELL are you thinking of?" urge to shout when the dumb heroine just HAS to go where no sane person would ever dream to go.

Jeff B said...

Haven't read anything from Coben, but your post leads me to believe I would enjoy his work.

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Wow Sandi,
his books sound extremely good! I hadn't heard of him so thanks for this wonderful post!
I will now be on the look-out for his books!
Hugs!

Brenda said...

Im glad you are feeling well and able to read. This first cold front has started my fibro hurting. All I want to do is lay down.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Sandi, I can always count on you for a great comment, thanks for stopping by & of course, you would enjoy that fact that I'm keeping Miss Daisy this week. I know you stop by Kat's blog often!

Oh, now I love me some Harlen Coben books. I just finished one a couple of weeks ago when we were again at the beach, called No Second Chance. It was a twister for sure with all sorts of things going on. I haven't read all of his yet, so I must get busy & check more out at the library. I'm always on the lookout at yardsales too for my fave authors.

Do you like Nelson DeMille?? That man tells a really great suspense story too. If you haven't read him, you must! I just saw he has a new one out at the bookstore, so I have to find out if my library has it yet. I've read ALL of his & they are great!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Sandi, that's an amazing book report. Now I won't rest until I've gotten one of his books and my DH loves Stephen King (except for his really bizarre books) so I know he'll enjoy it too.

Mima said...

LOL Sandi, I can't watch a horror, even a thriller is too much for me, when it comes to films I am a strict romantic comedy girl. Yet with books I always read murder mystery, but it was the mystery bit that always held me not the scary parts, so the one book of Harlan Coben's that I read scared me!!

Although reading your review tempts me to get one in for the next good patch when I can read, I think I am better to remember that he is just going to scare me witless and best leave it alone .... hopeless aren't I!!!

justabeachkat said...

I love Harlan Coben and this is definitely a good one. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Hugs!
Kat

(Have you read Dean Koontz's Velocity and Intensity (2 books). Both are great!)

Mel said...

Love, love, LOVE Harlan Coben. You're description is spot on. I LOVE to curl up under a blanket with one of his books, devouring each and every word...yet afraid to turn the next page.

Thank you for your visit...and I apologize for not dropping by sooner!