BOOK REVIEW: Harlan Coben’s Latest Thriller Six Years
WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS
The first sentence says it all,
“I sat in the back pew and watched the only woman I would ever love marry another man.”
With 24 bestselling novels under his belt, there’s no doubt Coben knows the formula to bring you into a thriller from the outset and have you begging for more. As delicately crafted as his first sentence, the blurb is just as tantalizing,
“Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for . . . but she is not Natalie.”
So I paid the $11.99 on Amazon to download the e-book addition and spent the next 3 days racing through it. It was indeed what the critiques call a page turner – though that phrase seems to lose its value somewhat in the e-book world – his thrilling prose and slow drip of facts had my heart racing right through the first half of the book.
It was about this time however that I recognized the author’s style. For a second I thought I had actually read the book before, but then I realized it was another book. Funnily enough, it was actually Coben’s first ever book, Play Dead, which is about as literal as it suggests, which I had previously read on a trip through Europe. I had just finished the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and was drooling for some more crime/thriller excitement. For me ‘Play Dead’ was the epitome of a thriller gone cheesy. As much as it had me on the edge of my seat, the missing person story was all too cliche, and the culminating sibling complex climaxing at the end was all too predictable.
It just shows you not much changes in a 20 year career as Six Years wasn’t much different. Although the book did have me spilling my coffee as my gaze seldom drifted from the
pages screen, the random pack of; mafia, witness protection, missing persons, string of murders etc. all culminated in another fairly predictable ending.
Coben also seems to have a love affair with Latin as the novel is filled with short terms and phrases in the language which either shows his pretentiousness, or perhaps just my lack of basic Latin. I’d rather go with the former. It’s not like I plan on following his style with my future novel by throwing in random German phrases. At least I don’t think so…
But aside from this I give the book 3.5 stars. There is a reason he is a best selling international authors and it isn’t so much his prose or his plot ideas. Rather it’s his ability to sell, and he is damn good at it. I bought the novel didn’t I? But hey, we force ourselves through pathetic reality TV shows, and dribbling American Sitcoms, so there is definitely time for a bit of a thrill in the air. And even if you find yourself predicting the ending, just enjoy the journey along the way and you should be somewhat satisfied.