Friday, June 09, 2006

Mini-Review: “Promise Me” by Harlan Coben

Welcome to Part II of Harlan Coben week at the White Rhino Report. His writing for me has becoming an acquired taste; I keep returning to the all-you-can eat buffet steam table for another taste of his suspenseful tales. His latest work, “Promise Me,” did not disappoint. It includes a clever “false ending,” a shocking plot twist in the last chapter and a clever denouement. This “tough guy” author, inside the cocoon of a murder mystery, manages to address a number of sensitive issues and concerns:

· Domestic violence;
· The inordinate pressure on high school kids and their parents to get into the best colleges;
· hat happens to the star athlete who can no longer compete after a career-ending injury;
· Teenage pregnancy;
· Teenage smoking and drinking;
· The question of who is truly “innocent”
· The question of who is “worthy” of being helped

Perhaps I did not notice this dynamic at work in reading his earlier novels, but it is clear that in this book, not only is the author speaking from his deep well of experience in understanding crime and the criminal mind, but he now is also dipping from the reservoir of his heart as the father of four children. In my opinion, his writing is more fully textured and enjoyable for being more fully human.

This is one worth reading.



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