Friday, August 25, 2006

Mini-Review of “Fade Away” by Harlan Coben

I continue with my summer of reading my way through most of Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar novels. Bolitar and his cadre of colorful compatriots are beginning to feel like old friends. Picking up one of these novels feels like putting on an old and comfortable pair of running shoes.

In ”Fade Away,” Bolitar finds himself back in the word of professional basketball. His career, ended during his Boston Celtics’ NBA rookie camp by a devastating knee injury, is given a brief reincarnation when he is signed to a contract with the New Jersey team – replacing an injured and missing player – Bolitar’s old rival and nemesis, Greg Downing. Bolitar and company set out to find Downing, and in the process, Myron uncovers the painful truth about his own injury - suffered in a collision with a player who seemed to be intent on hurting him. The fact that Greg Downing’s ex-wife was once in love with Bolitar adds intrigue and texture to this fascinating plot. The usual Cobenesque assotrment of thugs and ne'er-do-wells added just the right pinch of spice to keep the action fast-paced and fascinating.

In addition to Coben’s always crisp and wry writing style, he explores with sensitivity the complex web of emotions that entangle an athlete as he struggles to walk away from the sport that had been the single focus of his life.

In this excerpt, the narrator describes the two loves of Bolitar’s life:

“Funny being back in Ridgewood. Jessica had grown up here. She didn’t like coming back any more, but now the two loves of his life – Jessica and Emily – had something else in common: the village of Ridgewood. That could be listed to the list of commonalities between the two women – stuff like meeting Myron, being courted by Myron, falling in love with Myron, crushing Myron’s heart like a tomato under a stiletto heel. The usual fare." (Page 22)

“Fade Away” is nothing but net!



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