Tuesday, February 5, 2013

SIX YEARS by Harlan Coben_Review

Review of Six Years by Harlan Coben
5 stars
A NetGalley Review

It’s been a couple years or longer since I read any of Mr. Coben’s stand-alone novels, but well remembered how much I enjoyed them. “Six Years” is quite likely his very best novel yet. Mr. Coben is an incredibly talented writer, and the breadth of imagination required to plot and people “Six Years” is awe-inspiring. I found the novel so intriguing I read it in a few hours, rather than in a two-day setting. The plotting is very complex, yet author Coben makes it all hold together logically. He drops no stitches and wastes no motion; there’s nothing extraneous here, everything functions as part of the whole.

Jake Fisher at 35 is a professor of political science at his alma mater, Langan College. He even has the position of department chair which he assumed on his mentor’s retirement. Six years ago while writing his doctoral dissertation, that mentor sent him to a writer’s retreat in Vermont, where he met an artist from an adjoining retreat farm, Natalie Avery. Jake fell deeply in love and was certain Natalie did also, until she upended his life and emotions by marrying another man, Todd Sanderson. She invited Jake to the wedding, but afterwards insisted he promise to stay away. Accepting that promise, not a day passed that Jake hasn’t thought of Natalie, yearned, and ached emotionally. Now the unexpected occurs: on the college website’s news feed, he sees a photo of the man she married, and his obituary. Jake can’t stay away now; he’s determined to find Natalie, no matter what. He could never have imagined the rocks that he will have to turn over, nor the fatal danger he will put himself and others in.

“Six Years” is an unforgettable and riveting novel, and for any readers who haven’t yet found Harlan Coben, is an excellent introduction. I would give it 36 stars if I could.

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