Friday, August 04, 2006

Mini-Review: “Drop Shot” by Harlan Coben

My summer of following the fictional exploits of Myron Bolitar continues. In “Drop Shot,” Coben serves up a tale of murder and intrigue set within the world of professional tennis. The action begins with the murder at the U.S. Open of a former child prodigy who was on the brink of trying to make a comeback in the WTA circuit. Solving her murder is anything but an open and shut case, and Bolitar and company become involved when one of Myron’s clients falls under suspicion in the case. Coben takes the reader through a whirlwind tour of the world of swanky tennis clubs, dirty politics and altered identity.

As is always the case when I read Coben’s offerings, plot is secondary to the edginess of the dialogue and interplay among the cast of characters – do-gooders and ne’er-do-wells alike. Even Coben’s minor characters are memorably conceived and described. Aaron, the free-lance goon and muscle-for-hire, shows up in many of the Myron Bolitar novels:

“Aaron was dressed in his customary garb. Pure-snow-white suit, white shoes. No socks. No shirt. Aaron never wore a shirt, preferring to display his tan pectorals. They gleamed from some sort of oil or grease. He always looked fresh out of the wax salon, his body smooth as a baby’s bottom. Aaron was a big man, six-six, two-forty. The weight lifter’s build was not merely for show. Aaron moved with a speed and grace that defied the bulk. He black hair was slicked back and tied into a long ponytail.

He gave Myron a game-show host grin and held it.

Myron said, ‘
Nice smile, Aaron. Lots of teeth.’

‘Proper dental hygiene. It’s a passion of mine.’ (Page 162)

Bolitar, along with his girlfriend, Jessica, Win Lockwood – playing Tonto to Myron’s Lone Ranger and Esperanza, his office manager who once wrestled professionally, manage to serve and volley their way through 350 pages of danger and intrigue – fast-paced action worthy of a mixed doubles match at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens. The action finds Myron and friends on the wrong side of the tracks as they try to solve the murder at the U.S. Open and end up re-opening a cold case that is tied to the recent U.S. Open murder. They end up fighting for their own lives and compete with a myriad of enemies - some obvious and some in stealth mode. Advantage, Bolitar!

This is a good summer read that I recommend enthusiastically.


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