Newest Review: ... photo. Coben gradually unveils the history of these key characters; Grace was injured at a Jimmy X concert years ago after a gun shot trig... more
Just One Look - Harlan Coben
Member Name: burtybookworm
Just One Look - Harlan Coben
Advantages: great plot twists and turns, lots of suspense, couldn't put it down
Disadvantages: As above, I couldn't put it down!
Grace has the so-called perfect life; a happy artist, mum of two and an adoring husband. This all changes one day when she collects her photographs and finds one that doesn't belong in her pack. On closer inspection Grace finds that the picture is of her husband as a much younger man.
When Grace shows the picture to her husband, it is clear that it has struck a cord. He leaves the house - and doesn't return. The police believe he has just left her for another woman but Grace just knows that there is something terribly wrong connecting her husband with the people in the picture, and she sets about trying to find the truth - putting her and her children's life in danger in the process.
Right off the bat, I have to say this was a truly magnificent book. It is not often that I read books of this genre, but I do have a faint recollection of reading a Coben book in the past and enjoying it.
With this book, there is no hanging about; we are thrust right in to the action and I was totally engrossed from the very first page. There wasn't anything about this book that I didn't like; the plot was fascinating, gripping, fast paced and full of suspense. The character development was superb; Grace, who is trying to find out why her husband has disappeared, has her own back story which is interesting in itself and is slowly developed and entwined in to the main story, plus I admired her strength, determination and devotion to her husband and children. As well as this, Coben created a thrilling and terrifying character in Eric Wu, a man who is able to paralyse a man bigger than himself by just pushing down on a certain vertebrae. The sections with Wu were well thought out; I was completely chilled by his unemotional ways and I held my breath during the description of his violence which were detailed and interesting and I was thoroughly absorbed with the whole thing.
As for the plot, it was actually quite detailed and complicated, but all credit to Coben, it is so well written that the storyline was easy to understand and it still had a sense of believability. The twists and turns were incredible and gave the book a great sense of urgency and suspense. Once you had thought you had worked something out about the storyline, you would find that your idea of what was going on was completely wrong. The storyline was unravelled so carefully, clues are thrown about everywhere throughout - the carrot was dangled just in front of me and then snatched away at the last minute, leaving me wanting to find out more! Right up to the final pages, I found that Coben had more plot twists up his sleeve that I hadn't seen coming and the action was just relentless.
A short review (for me!) on this book because I cannot think of one thing that I didn't like and there is nothing that I can criticise about it. It isn't the usual type of book I would read so I can't claim to be an expert in this genre - but the books pages literally turned themselves I was so engrossed!
This book hit all the right notes for me - it had an interesting and courageous "hero" (even better then that she is a woman!), a complicated but interesting plot, it was well written enough to keep me on the edge of my seat, and most importantly it had twists upon twists upon twists. For me, this book epitomises what this genre is about, I was thrilled and pleased with how much I enjoyed this and I cannot recommend it enough.
Summary: I'd pick up a Harlan Coben again if it is written anything like this...