Friday, June 12, 2009

Hold Tight by Harlen Coben ****

Start with the sons: Spenser Hill (Ron+Betsy) commits suicide. Adam Baye (Tia+Mike) runs away. Lucas Loriman (Susan+Dante) has cancer and needs a transplant to have any chance of survival.

Add the daughters: Yasmin Novak (Guy) is mercilessly teased for a comments about facial hair by her fifth-grade teacher Joe Lewiston (Dolly). Jill Hill, Yasmin's last friend in school, protects and befriends both Yasmin and her brother Spenser well beyond what might be expected of an eleven-year old.

The murders: Marianne Gillespie (Yasmin's mother and Guy Novak's ex-wife). Reba Cordova (Marianne's only friend in the area).

What else? Drugs, blackmail, rape, torture, divorce, mobsters, insanity.

Hold Tight by Harlen Coben is a novel of family violence and jeopardy. It intricately and expertly plotted, none of the dozens of characters appear without a critical role in the plot. When even the apparently secondary characters are introduced, you can be assured they will return for a plot point that only they can resolve. The characters are well developed and sympathetic; much of the tension comes from the readers identification for their risks and pains.

As a parent, I found the book disturbing, but like many horror novels, the world is set right by the end.

No comments: