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Hold Tight - Harlan Coben

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Author: Harlan Coben / Genre: Crime / Thriller

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      19.08.2010 13:35
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      2008 Novel by Harlan Coben

      Hold Tight, Harlan Coben's 2008 stand-alone thriller was my latest read by this fabulous author. Having previously read and reviewed "The Woods" from 2007 I was very interested to read on Cobens website that some of the characters featured would be returning in this later novel and I mentioned in my last review that I was looking forward to seeing what became of them. Hold Tight was, therefore, the logical choice for my next read.

      This, if you have read my other reviews you will know, was the fourth book by Coben that I read and I noticed a change of direction from the author this time. His other books had dominant key characters which the majority of plotline was devoted to and minor subplots were introduced to add some depth and dimension. In Hold Tight we follow a number of seemingly unrelated characters all with problems and troubles of their own, but in true Coben style they all end up forming part of a larger story and their actions are intricately linked to one another. At 432 pages this is a book to really get your teeth into and once again I was caught up in the fast paced, exciting world that Coben has managed to create.

      So, what secrets could a 16 year old boy who committed suicide be hiding? Tia and Mike Baye's son Adam was best friends with Spencer Hill and his suicide hit their son badly, he is withdrawn and sullen but aren't all teenagers like this at his age? Mike and Tia decide to take matters into their own hands and go to extreme lengths to discover the reasons behind Adams apparent withdrawal but they are letting themselves in for more than they bargained for when their son goes missing.

      Why would a divorcee and her friend be the target of a cold, calculating serial killer? What could they possibly be hiding? Loren Muse, County Chief investigator spots some irregularities and with the help of her boss, Paul Copeland they piece together the connection with the killer. Could everything really be related to a popular school teacher's off the cuff remark to one of his 11 year old pupils? Hold Tight will reveal the answers to these questions plus pose some more as the layers of this tightly created story are peeled back to unearth some shocking, apparently unrelated revelations...it's going to be one hell of a ride...

      It was great to see Loren Muse and Paul Copeland (Cope) return in this story, The Woods concentrated on Cope's struggle with the apparent reappearance of his long-presumed dead sister and the effect this had on his private and professional life. Whilst you don't need to have read The Woods as his sister isn't mentioned in this book it was still a lovely touch to find out what happened next to Paul and the outcome of a new relationship that developed as The Woods went on.

      This is an area that really impresses me with Harlan Coben; characters do tend to make 'cameo' appearances in other books. As well as Cope and Muse there is once again the returning character of the larger than life Attorney - Hester Crimstein as she represents one of the characters. You don't, however, feel as if you have missed anything though as their presence is there simply to keep the plot moving, their backstories aren't repeated and there is no 'fanfare' on their arrival, Cope is the County Prosecutor and Crimstein an Attorney, they hold a professional status in the book rather than a personal one so even if you don't 'know' them yourself they are included simply to do their jobs. These minor attention to detail points only serve to enhance the world in which these characters live and its one of the reasons why I'm such a fan of Cobens novels.

      Getting back to Hold Tight then, this was the first book of Cobens that I read which did not feature the return of someone considered lost or dead. The other three books seemed to be built around events that happened in the past and the effects of history coming back to haunt the main protagonists life. Here the characters are based in the present and it's a 'cause and effect' tale which deals with the events that occur from the choices that are made. I won't lie, Hold Tight *is* different to the likes of Tell No One, The Woods and Just One Look but for me made for a nice change given the fact that I have now read 4 books in less than 2 weeks - this really is a complex novel which does require concentration and you do have to pay attention to what is said and done to fully follow the stories that are presented to you. It could be accused of being too complex by some as for at least half of the book the narrative swaps and changes between all the different characters and believe me, there are plenty of characters included here who all have their own reasons for being featured. Have faith in the fact that it all does make sense in the end though and even if you can't figure out how they could all possibly be related to one another it's down to the ingenuity and clever penmanship of Coben to provide a feasible explanation for their inclusion.

      As is the case with every book of Cobens that I have read the ending is a sublime piece of writing which manages to unsettle as well as delight. There are were a couple of plot turns which I thought had been overlooked in the final reveals and it was only in the last two or three pages that their significance was actually expanded upon. It's the mark of a truly brilliant writer who can fool their audiences so effectively and rather than relying on a single twist at the end Hold Tight manages to provide some real curveballs which you really won't expect.

      Overall then this is another 5 star novel from Harlan Coben which I would have no problem in recommending to any fan of the Thriller genre. Once again there are no instances of bad language or explicit sexual activity but there are some nasty accounts of violence and murder which may upset some readers. This is a book for adults though so regular readers or fans of Cobens other novels will be aware of his writing style and descriptive narrative and like any of the other three books I have read this is a stand-alone novel which could quite easily be picked up by someone new to the author.

      For a little over £4.00 on Amazon for the paperback version of the book this is a brilliant buy and a novel that I highly recommend, I'm sure you won't be disappointed but do stick with it, the payoff is more than worth your commitment in the end.

      Thanks for reading my review.

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        05.06.2010 04:16
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        Worth a read but not his strongest book.

        Hold Tight. I didn't need to!

        A phone call out the blue from a long lost love, blood at a murder scene deemed impossible to be there. A charity who's name keeps cropping up, the CIA's involvement along with old friends who are holding something back leaves Myron confused, blinded by love and in the middle of something far bigger than he could imagine. Hold tight Myron..... You might lose everything. Including you mind.

        This book for me as a fan of the Myron Bolitar series, left me feeling disappointed. Although its not a bad book just it is no way near as good as the others.

        As I read the book I could guess what was going to happen next and left me wondering why take the story in that direction. On the plus side there are some twists in the book that I missed so at least the were some sneaky twists to keep us on our toes.

        Myron the agent should stick to helping his clients. Makes for better stories and characters. I really hope the next book in there series does this.

        I hope I have not put anyone off Harlen Coben because he is a great author and hold tight is a good story just not one of my favourites.

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          07.03.2010 19:30
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          Recommended

          Harlan Coben's Hold Tight introduces the reader to Tia and Mike, a married couple with a troubled teenage son, Adam, and his younger sister Jill. Worried by their son's increasingly withdrawn behaviour, Tia and Mike make a decision to place spyware on their son's computer, which starts a deadly chain of events revolving around the suicidal death of Adam's friend.

          The pace of the book is fast and moves forward well, although this is not the white-knuckle ride I have come to expect from Coben's novels. There is a good build up to the finale and Coben cleverly ties all ends of plots together that seem to be at first introduction, totally independent. On the other hand there were times when I felt that some of the plot was contrived and far fetched rather than brilliantly cased together.

          There are characters from previous novels, however Coben has done a good job in making them stand up in their own right in the book. There are characters that I felt drawn to, like Mo, who wasn't developed at all and others I just didn't sympathise with, for example Tia, Adam and Mike (yes the main ones!). There are some stereotypical characters, for example the old fashioned, arrogant, sexist cop and the ball breaking female senior law firm partner, however some cracking dialogue saves them from being two dimensional.

          This is a good, solid book from Coben, which I would recommend overall, however if you want something with a wow factor I would suggest you try 'The woods' or 'Tell No One' first.

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          10.01.2010 14:39
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          A good read if you like your thrillers

          Harlan Coben is not an author I had come across but whilst browsing WH Smith's chart of 2009 it featured highly and as I like a good thriller thought it would be worth giving a go. Coben has in fact written 15 novels and achieves high critical acclaim for them with his first novel "Tell No One" being made into a movie and his last five all making it onto international bestsellers list. So for my first furrow into his work I had high hopes.

          The blurb for Hold Tight wasn't exactly inspiring but the premise of the novel is that Adam Baye, 16 and best friends with Spencer Hill becomes distant following Spencer's suicide. Concerned Tia and Mike, Adam's parents take the unusual step of having spy software installed on his computer. When Adam goers missing they uncover a message that says "just stay quiet and all safe." From here on in an action packed novel begins.

          Having read some other reviews on Coben the general consensus seems to be that he is rather good at the sub plot and this is definitely the case. The main story relates around Tia and Mike's search for their son, Adam, but the chapters flick between various key players in the story (in no particular order):
          *Marianne, brutally and sadistically murdered by Nash and Pertia, the novel starts with a graphic murder scene in which Nash greatly enjoys disfiguring and extracting unknown information.
          *Betsy Hill, mother of suicide victim Spencer who is trying to piece together what is left of her life with husband Ron and then discovers a photo on Spencer's memorial page that appears to show Adam Baye with him on the night he died (dot worry this is not a spoiler, its listed on the blurb)
          *Susan and Dante Lorimen who are desperately seeking a match for their ill son and do not appear to be having any luck with the immediate family
          *Adam Baye, the missing son of Tia and Dr Mike (treating Susan Loriman's son) who is involved in more than he should be
          *Guy and Yasmin Novak, Yasmin is Guy's daughter who following a comment made by a teacher at school is having to deal with bullies at the tender age of 12, her good friend Jill Baye (Adam's sister) is supporting her friend as best she can
          *Detective Muse, a female chief who is investigating the circumstances of Marianne's death and now the missing women Reba Cordova

          I appreciate this sounds confusing but it is skilfully written and the characters above are introduced with care and repetition so they easily become part of the principal story.

          The book does examine the history of the characters to a depth which at times I felt was unnecessary, for example I don't feel the need to know Mike's school history even if it is supposed to later explain why a bouncer comes to his aid. Personally I felt the links between the stories and characters could have been equally well devised without so much knowledge of their past but also appreciate Coben is weaving a good tale and does not want to leave any holes.

          The title appears to relate to the parent/child relationship, many instances in the novel seem to challenge and reflect on how tight the parents should hold onto their children. Is installing spying software too tight? Is not allowing them to experiment too tight? Of course it also relates to Betsy and Ron's desire to hold tight to the memory of their dead son and also to the Loriman's desire to hold tight to their own dying child. I have no children of my own but do think it could spark interesting discussion about how much is too much.

          The sub plots are, as you would expect, intricately related although I was pleased that some of the links, relationships and events that brought the characters together were unexpected and well formulated. Coben really is rather good at the twist, essential to any thriller but rather than hinging on one final, often predictable finale Hold Tight has several, some subtle some dramatic. My only criticism of these was that the order they came in struck me as strange. The final twist was really not all that amazing and almost left me feeling disappointed, had the rest of the final pages not been so exciting I would have been left feeling generally lack lustre about the whole novel.

          Fundamentally the novel is exciting to read, you will be up for hours and the short, tense chapters make it a fast paced read. It is also satisfyingly lengthy at 432 pages. I liked it, I enjoyed the story, characters and although as with all books of these types it is often far fetched it was well constructed and not beyond the realms of possibility (I quite happily watch Desperate Housewives and this made much more sense!) I would recommend this to fans of thriller novels and will be trying some of Coben's others.

          Brought from WH Smith £6.99
          ISBN 978-0-7528-8293-2

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            12.10.2009 18:13
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            Another unputdownable thriller from Harlan Coben.

            I will begin by pointing out that the author's name is incorrect in the title here, it is 'Coben' not 'Corben' as stated above.

            I am a big fan of Harlan Coben, especially his stand alone novels. Since devouring one of his earlier novels in one sitting a couple of years ago, I became hooked, and have worked my way through all his books.

            Hold Tight features couple Mike and Tia Baye, who are concerned about the behaviour of their sixteen-year-old son Adam.
            Adam has became very distant since the suicide of his friend Spencer, and spends a lot of time on his computer. Mike and Try become increasingly worried about their son as he withdraws away from them, and decide to install a sophisticated spyware programme on his computer to track his internet activity.

            All is ok until they see an instant message from an unknown source saying "Just stay quiet and all is safe."
            Meanwhile, Betsy Hill, mother of Spencer who took his own life, is browsing through an online memorial for her son when she discovers a surprising detail about the night of her son's death. Before she can find out more, Adam disappears...

            Not long after, and not far away, an unidentified woman is beaten to death.

            Why did Spencer take his life? What happened that night? And where is Adam?

            As they search for answers, the desperate parents, drawn together by these events, are left to decide whether there is any line they won't cross to protect those they love most in the world.

            As is usual with Harlan Coben books I read this one in a couple of days. I always find it very hard to put down one of his books and Hold Tight was no exception.
            Coben is the master of weaving sub plots around a main plot that makes you wonder how on earth they can possibly be connected. Taking you through many twists and turns before the ending is revealed. I never have any idea how a Coben novel will end, which is a huge part of the appeal, and again with Hold Tight this is no exception.

            Along with the main plot regarding Adam and his family, there is another sub plot featuring Mike, who as a doctor, finds out the boy next door needs an urgent kidney transplant. Being the boys doctor he has access to some information which he realises could tear the boys family apart.
            The tension builds as Mike, who is desperately worried about his own son Adam, finds it difficult to cope with knowing this information and wondering how best to deal with it.
            Coben manages to put this across well as he describes a worried father who also has to deal with his demanding role as a doctor, when all around him his world seems to be crumbling apart, as he quickly comes to realise there is much more to his son's recent behaviour and disappearance than he ever could have thought possible.

            All the characters are well developed, although there is not too much time spent delving into a character's past, which often spoils the reading of a book for me if the author spends too much time giving you needless information about the characters.
            Also readers of Harlan's previous novel 'The Woods' may like to know there are cameo appearances by characters from that novel : Loren Muse, Paul Copeland and Hester Crimstein, which I thought was a nice touch, although you do not have to read The Woods to understand this book.

            We are also treated to a teacher, who mocks a student and subsequently ruins her life, and also there seem to be a pair of killers on the loose. All of which make for the usual roller-coaster thriller which regular readers of Coben's books will have come to know and love.

            I did wonder when reading this book how on earth all the plots could possibly be linked, but indeed they are, and as they begin to tie in and you start to guess how it will end, I can more or less guarantee you will be wrong!
            I do think there are more sub plots in this novel than in some of his previous ones but I didn't find it distracting at all, I just found it hard to put the book down incase I lost track of the story.

            The plots all weave together very well towards the end and once again I had no idea how it would all end.

            The book does throw up some questions about when is it ok or justifiable to spy on your child, and how far would you go? Also how would you deal with the consequences? Hold Tight explores some interesting issues regarding parenting and computer technology.

            Overall this is another page-turner from Harlan Coben, and I can't wait for his next stand alone novel due out next year!

            Hold Tight is published by Orion fiction and available from Amazon priced at £4.27 new with free delivery, or used from 1p and £2.75 p&p.

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              26.08.2009 16:23
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              A interesting and well-written novel that's definitely worth a look :o)

              This is another crime / mystery novel review, as I've really been getting into this genre lately. Hold Tight was definitely a gripping read for me as it's so well written, but it's one that takes some concentration.

              Prior to reading this book I hadn't come across Harlan Coben before. Hold Tight caught my eye in the library probably because of the 'Number One Best Seller' text on the front cover, and I'm easily persuaded.

              The title reflects what you need to do whilst reading this book, namely to 'hold tight' and keep your mind alert as Coben weaves a web of different characters and families.

              The subtitle is 'Every family has its secrets' and the book has a relatively complex storyline. Reading the blurb on the back, the focus is on a family who are suspicious of their teenage son's activities, and so decide to spy on him using technology on his computer. But it's much more complicated than that.

              The story opens with a scene that turns into kidnap, then gives us a different perspective from detectives as they find the murder victim we were initially introduced to. At first it seems like a cut & dry case; a prostitute who was unlucky and ended up dead. But one detective believes the case isn't so simple and soon ties this dead woman to the reports of a missing woman shortly after.

              The story is left there whilst a new frame opens, this time with family that is central to the story. Tia & Mike (who is in the medical profession) are parents to their teenage son, Adam, and his younger sister, Jill. All of these characters have their own sideline stories, especially the children. Adam's friend killed killed himself a few months back and since then he has become withdrawn. This obviously causes curiosity with his parents, who are so worried about their son that they use spyware to check his computer emails and conversations.

              At the same time, their daughter's friend, Jasmin, who is in secondary school, is still extremely upset following a rude comment from a teacher. This comment infuriated her parents, who believed a simple apology from the teacher was not enough.

              Later in the story, doubts arise over the circumstances of Adam's friends death, which his parents, Ron & Betsie, took for granted to be suicide because of the note he left.

              As the story unfolds, the web gets more detailed and links are formed between the characters and families. Each detail bears some relevance to the storyline, such as Mike's medical profession. Questions that were raised, such as who was the murdered woman dressed as a prostitute & who was the second woman to go missing, are all answered.

              You're probably wondering how such diverse storylines could be tied together. I can't really say much more without ruining the story or further confusing you, but trust me that each bit of information relevantly ties in.

              I can easily say that the storyline is original and because of that it keeps you on your toes wondering what the hell is going on. I couldn't have guessed the outcomes initially, so it's not your average predictable mystery.

              Coben has a way with words and the writing style is fluid and a pleasure to read. Each character and scenario is detailed and well-described, helping mental pictures to form easily.

              Although the storyline is complex, Coben is able to keep you up to speed and I didn't feel like I had been left behind or that I had missed anything on the way. There are, however, times that I did find myself feeling a bit confused and that the plot was a little hard to believe, hence the 4 stars instead of 5 (ideally my vote would have been 4.5!).

              The RRP is £6.99, but it's on Amazon for £4.36. It has only recently been released, 2009, and although I haven't yet read other Coben novels to compare this to, I think this would make a brilliant read for both Coben fans and newbies (like me) alike.

              It's 488 pages in length, most of which kept me gripped and wanting to read more. The quote from the Independent On Sunday reads: 'Excellent thriller from one of America's best popular novelists', so it can't just be me that thinks this book is definitely worth a read :o)

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                21.07.2009 12:21
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                Another fairly predictable Harlan Coben novel, this time a stand alone novel

                - Introduction -

                My mum presented me with this book a few days before I left with my parents on our summer holiday abroad. She told me she'd been given it for free through a book club at work and wondered if I'd like to read it. I was a little hesitant since I had read a couple of the authors' other novels based around a specific character before and wasn't overly keen on them but I read that it was a stand alone novel not about that character and I knew I liked a good crime novel, so I thought I can't complain when it doesn't cost me anything, so I gave it a shot and read it while on holiday.


                - Story -

                'Hold Tight' tells the story of a few families but the main story involves Tia and Mike Baye, parents in New Jersey who decide to spy on their sixteen year old son, Adam, through his computer because their worried when he becomes very withdrawn after the suicide of his school friend. Mike isn't keen on spying on him but his wife is sure its the right thing to do and its not long before they read an email that spells that somethings wrong and soon after Adam seems to completely disappear. Whats happened to him? is there more to what went on than meets the eye? does spying on your child cause more harm than good? you'll have to read the novel to find out.


                - Thoughts & Opinions -

                I've already read a couple of Harlans other novels, Deal Breaker and Tell No-One, which star his re-occuring character Myron Bolitar but this is the first stand alone novel of his that I've read. If you've read any of his novels before, either a Myron Bolitar one or not, you'll more likely than not spot some similarities in terms of how the plot develops and the type of characters involved almost, like a father figure with a close buddy who has a somewhat macho image and their friends and neighbours and there's the other seemingly unrelated sub plots that run alongside the main story, (which is probably the case for other crime novels) anyway I just notice that his stories always have that certain sameness to them.

                If youre quite clever and like to second guess the outcome of such novels, I wouldn't think it'd be too difficult to guess some of the twists in this novel, though maybe not the full story. I was able to guess some things that I was right about but some of it also took me by surprise. However, I have to say that I find his novels have an almost annoying mix of cheesiness with some of the descriptions and dialogue and the way some loose ends are tied up as well as more gory, graphic aspects/descriptions given when the reader is taken through the more violent crimes, which some might find a little over the top or otherwise distasteful, its the combination of those two aspects that irk me. The endings of his novels have tended to let me down a bit too and its the same with this novel, though in one way its nice to have near everything explained but the way its written is perhaps not to everyones taste, this time I felt the book ended quite abruptly, so again it reminded me of the other books of his I'd read before, in previous years, if you've read any of his other novels you may be able to guess the outcome to some extent. However, on the more positive side, I did manage to finish the book, I didn't give up mid way through as such, I thought the characters were interesting enough to make me keep on reading and find out the outcome ie what happened to them, what their past/back story was.

                Its a fairly light read, I wouldn't say you need your thinking cap on at all times to fully follow it but it does have enough sub plots to, as I say, just keep your interest and keep you reading on. Its 432 pages in length (with an extract from another novel taking up an extra 8 pages at the back) and I managed to read it in four days but I only spent about a maximum of two or three hours a day reading it (I only tend to read one or two novels a year when im away on holiday or if there's one published that I know specifically interests me, or non-fiction books), so im not a big reader (at home I spend most of my time online or watching TV, I know, shame on me!), hence you might well be able to read it quicker than me, that probably varies but anyway im just trying to say that its not a majorly long read and its fairly diverting.

                It does also have somewhat of a moral side to it, making you question what would you do in Mike's shoes? is it right to spy on your kids, or, say, friends maybe, if you think of it as protecting them? is that ok, your responsibility even and there are murmors of other moral stories in a sense built into it, given what happens to some of the characters, though it is a bit too 'Americanised' perhaps even for my liking. There is one sub-plot that never really gets resolved now that I think of it and thats a bit annoying, your left not knowing what the outcome was for one particular family, which, for a stand alone novel, isn't so good.


                - Conclusions -

                Hold Tight is another novel thats similar to the authors' other novels, the only main difference being that this is one of his first stand alone novels, not starring his usual character, Myron Bolitar.

                Its not a very demanding read and it is intriguing enough to keep you reading (or it was for me anyway) though its annoyingly both cheesy and graphic at different points. If you like his other novels then you should find this a good enough read, the fact that I stuck with it and bothered to read it at night once or twice shows that it did interest me and I was fairly intrigued by it, so its not too bad but I don't think I would specifically recommend it, unless you already like the authors wother work perhaps. Its ok but its rather American and like I say the cheesy dialogue at points and to some extent the ending left me feeling this wasn't anything other than a fairly run of the mill American crime fiction novel, so im giving this 3 stars out of 5, though it did make me think about the whole privacy issue, that I actually found more interesting as a sort of discussion point, even though im not a parent, it made me think, so it is good from that point of view. Ack 3 or 4 stars out of 5? hmmm if there were a half point system I would probably give it the benefit of the doubt so to speak and notch it up to 3.5 stars because of that, if that makes any sense!

                Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for any and all r/r/c's. This review may be posted on Ciao UK, if I can find it listed there or if they add it as a product suggestion.

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                  21.06.2009 12:57
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                  Average read

                  'Hold Tight' is Harlan Coben's 15th book. I had read (and reasonably enjoyed) his previous book 'The Woods' so I thought I would give this a try.

                  The story starts off in an intriguing fashion. A woman is in a bar before being drugged, kidnapped and beaten to death, after some information is forced from her, which is not revealed to the reader. At this stage you have no idea what is going on and it sets the style and pace for the rest of the book. There are many different subplots going on and the information is released very deliberately and slowly. The back of the book indicates that sophisticated software is used in the book but if you are not computer literate I wouldn't let that put you off. Coben doesn't really dwell on the detail of this aspect and just covers what it does.

                  The main problem I had with this book was that I felt there were too many subplots and characters for it to be cohesive. Almost to the extent that you would struggle to put the characters in order, in terms of main characters, down. It actually read more like a soap opera than a novel. Whilst you can keep track of multiple characters on a screen it is a lot harder to do so in a book, especially if you can't commit to spending decent amounts of time reading per session. This meant that there wasn't as much time spent on character development as you would expect. This also meant that come the end of the book you didn't really care what happened to many of the characters as you didn't really have any connection to any of them.

                  Another annoying thing was that the switch of stories happened mid-chapter, it seemed like a strange way to write a book and made the switches even more confusing. I found that I could follow things when I read 100 pages or so but if reading 20 pages then I was lost the next time I picked it up. This book could have done with a snapshot at the beginning giving details of all characters and their relationships with each other. Obviously there are twists so this would need to be basic but it would have helped a lot. To be fair to Coben he did make an effort at the beginning, often when jumping to another set of characters he would add a reference after the name as a reminder. For example xxxxx, the school teacher. This was useful but stopped one-third of the way in. Presumably he thought by then you would have a firm grasp of the characters but I found the issue was more to do with the time between when you last read part of the book.

                  Coben's writing style is excellent. It flows along and you do find that you can fairly get through this book. It isn't a long book at 432 pages and the text is quite large so you possibly could finish it in a couple of sittings but a lot of people don't have the time to do this. He does write this in a very interesting manner and with their being so many characters there is little chance of guessing the final outcome.

                  The ending does come together well and you find that a lot of the characters are connected. In some stories this can appear contrived but with this I thought it seemed reasonably plausible. Had the story been told in a standard manner then you would have known all the connections up front and wouldn't give it a second thought.

                  The final issue I had with this is that when you review, it after you finish it, you realise that it isn't a great story, it has just been very cleverly drip fed to the reader. There are also a few things, mainly character actions, which do not really seem likely in the real world. Again this is not immediately evident, only when you finish the book do you realise a lot of what has gone on.

                  I would say this is probably worth a read and I enjoyed it more than this review probably reflects. It's just the annoying things really standout. Also, the odd character appears from the last book 'The Woods' so if you enjoyed that you will enjoy this aspect to the book. As a standalone book it's OK. No better than that.

                  I picked this up in Tesco in their £7 for 2 offer. It's available on its own for £3.86.

                  ISBN 978-0-7528-8293-2

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                    20.02.2009 15:40
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                    Recommended if you're a fan but not his best work

                    I've been a fan of Harlan Coben for a few years now, ever since one of my friend's lent me some of his Myron Bolitar novels to read and I eagerly await his new stuff. One problem for me though is I eagerly await his new stuff in the hope he will write more from Myron and co and recently he hasn't.

                    Hold Tight is mostly about Tia and Mike Baye and their son Adam. One of Adam's classmates has recently committed suicide and Adam is behaving very strangely so Tia and Mike install a spy program on their son's computer to see what he's up to. Naturally this leads them to find out just enough about their son to realise he's in too deep in a situation and then Adam goes missing.

                    Alongside this main storyline we have a couple of sub plots, one involves some women turning up dead courtesy of a psycho couple and a situation with the Baye's daughter Jill and her friend Yasmin and a teacher at school. Without giving away plots I can say no more really but the stories run together and make you wonder how they will all tie up at the end but they do tie up very well.

                    As I said before the Myron books are my favourites by Harlan Coben and alot of this is because of the witty one-liners to be found in these stories. I find when Harlan Coben strays into other characters we don't get these entertaining quips, almost as if the characters are not fully developed because they will not be featuring in another book.

                    We do however have some of the characters from his other novels, Hester Crimstein the lawyer, Paul Copeland and Loren Muse who work as prosecutors for the county. Some authors do this and it's quite nice to find some characters you've heard of before in a new novel, almost like old friends returning.

                    This novel would probably appeal more to people with teenage children. Having no children it failed to hit the spot with me, I don't claim to understand teenagers and it's a long time since I actually was one so some of it went right over my head. The situation with the Baye's daughter and her friend is something we've all seen at some point during our school years but again if you don't have kids or it never actually happened to you personally it can fail to make you warm to the girls.

                    The psycho couple probably could have featured a bit more though. This is quite unusual for Harlan Coben, his novels don't often have pure psycho killers in them and I think these characters are perhaps the only reason I read on after discovering it was mostly about teenagers and kids.

                    I have to say I like Harlan Coben's style of writing, he keeps things fast-paced and ties up all the loose ends very well but I miss his familiarity with the character Myron Bolitar. I understand why some authors drift away from characters they have written a series about, rather like actors trying not to get typecast, but if a formula works why avoid it?

                    The story is intriguing and there are hints of typical Harlan Coben humour trying to break into the writing but they don't quite make it. I couldn't warm to any of the characters and found myself unconcerned whether Tia and Mike actually found Adam or not. This may be because I don't have kids or it could be a lack of character development.

                    It's not that I only like the Myron novels by Harlan Coben, he's done some very good stand alone stories such as Tell No-one but Hold Tight just didn't appeal to me in quite the same way.

                    I bought my copy from Tesco as they had an offer on of 2 books for £7 and Amazon are selling it for £3.49.

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                      17.02.2009 21:49
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                      A well written, but badly resolved latest thriller from the master of modern thrillers

                      Harlan Coben is a strange one for me. I love most of his stand-alone novels, yet find his ongoing Myron Bolitar saga virtually unreadable. Maybe I have committment issues, but I find it both difficult to stick with something that doesn't seem to end and even more difficult to try and pick something up halfway through and make sense of it. Having read a couple of the Bolitar books, I find that Coben doesn't cater well there for the casual reader, opting to reference past books without offering anything by way of explanation. However, his stand-alone thrillers always fill me with excitement.

                      Like most of Coben's material, Hold Tight quickly sets up various plot threads that he will eventually narrate into one resolution. Tia and Mike Baye find themselves in panic when their angst-ridden teenage son Adam goes missing. Having already set up spyware on his pc to monitor his online activity, they are led on a wild goose chase in their search for him. Meanwhile, he is also pursued by the devastated mother of his best friend who committed suicide 6 months earlier. Unbeknown to the two sets of parents, Adam is far deeper into a criminal underworld than they could ever have imagined.

                      Meanwhile a rage-ravaged killer is on the loose, seeking vengeance for an act that is kept mysterious until the last act. Hell bent on feeding his crazy urges, he takes pleasure in torturing his victims, before seeing them off to a bloody death. Assisted by a woman known simply as Pietra, the two of them set up elaborate trails in order to hide the identity of their victims and therefore hide their own involvement. A sharp newly-appointed chief butts heads with the investigating officer as he tries to brush his own incompetence under the carpet, leading to revelations regarding the first victim's identity.

                      Coben also introduces some plot threads that seem largely uninvolved with the larger crime he crafts. However, as things come to a dramatic close, it soon becomes clear that the many different situations are related. However, it all seems a tad too contrived. If he had whittled down the characters, and indeed their plights, perhaps the finale would pack more of a punch. What Coben does well this time round is create characters who are engaging and who quickly give you reason to follow their story. He also sets up mystery very well, creating a real page turner. Tia and Mike Baye are flawed parents who sidestep the conventions usually set up for characters like them. Their marriage isn't in turmoil, and they make fatal mistakes that they will have to take responsibility for.

                      Other characters within the book's many premises are given enough of a backstory to make you interested in their seperate resolutions. However, Coben just sets up too many situations to enable him to bring the book to a satisfactory close. In most books, there are four or five different paths that all lead to the one destination. Here, we have seven or eight plotlines that lead to two different conclusions, and both conclusions never actually meet. While both are substantial and measured mystery's, they belong in two different books, which creates problems with Coben's final act.

                      Whereas other books in his catalogue are single minded thrillers, this plays out more like a soap opera, opting to give us many characters from a single neighbourhood who are somewhat drawn into the various drama's. For instance, there is the story of a sick child who turns out to be illegitimate, and that has nothing to do with the Adam Baye storyline other than his father being one of the practitioners who are dealing with the kid's illness. Elsewhere, we are introduced to the Baye's other childs best friend who was cruelly mocked by her teacher and whose life has been ruined by the hurtful comments. In trying to marry up as much of the action as possible, Coben gives us some unbelievable scenario's that asks us to embrace the stretch. However the side plots that are set up are a little too petty, albeit well written and engaging, to deserve the page space that they are given.

                      Harlan Coben might well have considered shedding a couple of the characters and some of the less meaty material in favour of something slicker and more resolved. In the end we are treated to something that booms loudly throughout before whimpering self-consciously to a close.

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                        05.02.2009 14:12
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                        Great book, not to be missed

                        Harlan Coben is one of my favourite authors of all time - I have read everything he has released and usually jump for joy when I see a new title come out.

                        I bought this in paperback (who buys hardbacks these days really? 18.99 for a book???) from WHSmiths on their Buy One Get One Half price offer on bestsellers. I read a lot of books and this deal is quite good value. I finished this book in two days so maybe not!

                        The story is a little different from Harlan Coben's other titles, although it has similar themese running through. This Myron Bolitar series is liberally peppered with dry humour and his thrillers usually have a fantastic twist which keeps you guessing right until the end. I think this book is a little more predictable but more serious -in that I think through it Coben is making a comment on parent/teenager relationships and the experience of teenagers growing up in the modern age. There is also an ethical question around spying and the availability of information these days on people due to advances in technology. I think the themes it investigates are fascnating.

                        Without giving the story away the book is about Adam Baye - an American teenager who recently lost his best friend to suicide. The book centres on his disappearance and the way his parents Tia and Mike deal with it. There are other families in the book dealing with similar issues, and you get the sense the all American surburban myth is something Coben want to shatter. There are a few recognisable characters from earlier novels such as Loren Muse - the chief investigator, and Hester Crimstein who is Myron's family friend in the other series of books. Both of these are strong female characters and if you enjoyed his earlier books you may find comfort in their presence in this one.

                        All in all this is a great read, even though the ending was a little predictable and not as much of a twist as usual I could not put it down. A real midnight page turner.

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                        11.09.2008 15:15
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                        A good book

                        I have been reading Harlan Coben for years now and have enjoyed every book of his which is quite strange considering that I would never have picked this book up normally. After being recommended it from a friend I was hooked and have read every book of his so far. Hold Tight is his latest book and came out in April this year.

                        Hold Tight follows Mike and Tia Baye who have to go through every parent's worst nightmare when their son Adam goes missing. This may sound like a plot done to death but with Harlan Coben he manages to weave a tale that is full of twists and mystery that keeps you turning every page. The book follows the parents as they have to face certain truths about their son and even themselves and how far they will go to get their son back.

                        I don't think that Harlan Coben is the greatest writer but I do think he can write a mystery very well. All of his books do follow the same formula which can get annoying if you read too many of his books in a short space of time. However his endings are always shocking and I think this book is no different. Some parts I did think were a little predictable but overall I was still shocked by how events turned out.

                        The characters in the book are all very believable and what I like about his writing is that he gives them faults so that they aren't the perfect heroes you get in most books. Many characters do things in the books that are a bit daft but it is realistic. Hold Tight does have its negatives though as I thought one subplot was pretty daft and seemed to be only written in as a way to pad out the book a little. This is the only book of his that I didn't enjoy as much as the others.

                        Overall I think Hold Tight is a pretty good book that I did enjoy thoroughly. It was written well and the characters were believable, also the ending wasn't predictable. However I think this is my least favourite of his books and I recommend it to people who are aware of Harlan Coben. I wouldn't recommend it as the first book to read of his as it is definitely not his best work. It is quite an average length book at 350 pages but they do go quite quickly. It can be bought for around £10 in most stores such as Waterstones and WH Smith.

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