There may be better authors than Harlan Coben. But there is nobody better at murder mysteries/thrillers (Greg Iles is a close 2nd). I just finished Coben's 25th novel, and I've read all but 2 (and those are his 2 YA novels featuring Myron Bolitar's nephew, Mickey). I've enjoyed every single one of them, without exception. But this one is right near the top. Here is Goodread's thumbnail sketch of Missing You, due out March 18.
It's a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.
Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.
As the body count mounts and Kat's hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancé, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.
I am in awe of how Coben can create books that have so many pieces to them but never seem too complicated. And that I can never figure out (I can't figure out what's going to happen in movies either). Plus, in a literary world that typically features male protagonists, with some very notable exceptions (and not counting romances), it's nice to have a nationally renowned male author feature a female lead.
I have read a lot of books in the last couple of years by debut authors, book club authors, and local authors. This has led me to miss out on some of my stand-by authors. But I never miss a Coben. And I know I've said this before. If you have a chance to see him up close and personal, don't pass up the opportunity. He's just south of a stand-up comedian. I may have told you this one before, but we saw him a couple of years ago at Book Passage in Corte Madera. He started by saying "I live just east of here - New Jersey. And when he told the story of his teenage daughter coming into the kitchen, seeing Coben's picture on a book cover, and saying "Ewwww," the entire audience cracked up. A very good author and a very entertaining speaker. Most importantly, read Missing You when it comes out in March. And if you haven't read him before, and if you start with this one, you will definitely be hooked. It's a 3.5/4 and will be in my list of top books for 2014.