The arrival of a new Harlan Coben should be a cause for celebration
3/5 The arrival of a new Harlan Coben on my desk is always cause for celebration. I’m a big fan of his derring-do-style adventures/who dunnits. But, to be honest, this is not one of his best. Six Years is the title and also the amount of time since protagonist, Jake Fisher, watched the love of his life, Natalie, marry another man breaking his heart and leaving him unable to move on or form other relationships.
When that other man turns up dead, Jake is inexorably drawn to his funeral only to discover the grieving widow is not Natalie and all is most definitely not as it seems.
Not surprisingly, convinced Natalie is the only woman he will ever love, Jake sets out to find her despite being warned from all sides of the dire consquences of his search and refusing to give up even as the bodies start to multiply and his own life is threatened.
Six Years is an odd book lacking in Coben’s usually slick and believable style. There are a number of unlikely coincidences such as Fisher’s access to a former highly-placed government source (a one-time prospective girlfriend) and his ability to charm supposedly restricted information from the battleaxe secretary at the college where he works - an achievement anyone who’s ever tried it would doubt from the off.
It does deliver the usual Coben convoluted plot, which generally makes his novels so enjoyable, but, on this occasion, I found myself confused and having to go back and forth between pages to work out what was happening and to whom.
I know the book’s theme is lost love but I found Fisher’s continual harping on about how he could not abandon Natalie both trite and unlikely.
And, I may have been missing something, but to me the book’s ending seemed to leave a gaping question unanswered. Did Natalie disappear due to honest co-incidence or was she, in fact, guilty of a major crime. I read it three times and I still don’t know!