Monday, August 28, 2006

Mini-Review of ”Back Spin” by Harlan Coben

As I continue to enjoy my summer romp through Coben’s Myron Bolitar novels, I realized that I have not shared in any of my reviews to date one of the continuing motifs that I find so appealing about these books. Myron Bolitar and his sidekick, Win, engage in perpetual banter and games of verbal one-upsmanship – often revolving around arcane trivia about vintage TV shows and their casts, as well as Broadway musicals and their songs. As I reflect upon that quirky aspect of their friendship, it occurs to me that this dynamic offers a further explanation for why I so enjoy reading the books in this series. Myron and Win are clearly Renaissance Men – struggling to survive and thrive in worlds that are, for the most part, still shrouded in Dark Ages mentality and primal warfare.

“Back Spin” is set in the world of professional golf – PGA and LPGA. Linda Coldren is the top money winner on the women’s tour; her husband is far less successful on the PGA tour. The Coldren’s son is kidnapped just as Jack is mounting a stunning comeback in his career and is poised to win the U.S. Open on his home course – where he had ignominiously crashed and burned twenty years before. Myron and company are drawn into the Coldren’s boiling cauldron of danger, intrigue and mystery to try to simultaneously bring the boy back home safe and also sign up Linda as a client for MB SportsReps. The characters whose lives and actions intertwine in this breakneck-paced story show both the best and the ugliest sides of Main Line Philadelphia.

Layered among the many plot twists, Coben has crafted poignant and insightful scenes that illuminate some of the darkest corners of Win’s enigmatic heart. Through the eyes of Win and his taciturn approach to communication, Coben explores the depth of childhood trauma and its life-long aftershocks. This is some of Coben’s best writing – interspersing entertainment with challenging social and relational commentary.

This book is worth reading – even if you have not yet acquired the Myron Bolitar addiction!



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