By Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben, master of the suburban thriller, delivers another outstanding look at the truth behind the facade with “Missing You.”
New York police Detective Kat Donovan receives a subscription to a dating website as a gift from her best friend. Kat hasn’t seriously dated anyone in years, and she doesn’t think much about using technology to find the right man. When she begins searching on the site for a possible match, however, she’s shocked to find a portrait and bio of her ex-fiance, Jeff, the only man she truly ever loved, who left her over 18 years ago.
While contemplating whether to contact Jeff, she receives a visitor at the police station. A young man named Brandon Phelps wants her to investigate the disappearance of his mother, Dana. She ran off with her boyfriend, Jack, and has stopped returning his texts and calls. When Kat sees the picture of his mom’s boyfriend, she realizes to her horror that it’s Jeff.
What caused Jeff to leave her? And why does he have a portfolio on the dating site with a fake name? While she investigates the man she once loved, she learns from her boss that the imprisoned hit man responsible for killing her father is dying. He had confessed to several murders, but later recanted one of those he claimed to be responsible for: Kat’s father.
The more Kat pushes, the more she learns bits of the truth that should have stayed hidden.
Coben has a knack for creating realistic characters that are either haunted by the past or forced to live with decisions they wish they could change. This is a dive-in, lose-sleep and miss-your-bus-stop reading experience.
By Chris Pavone
Chris Pavone, author of the compelling “The Expats,” returns with his new novel, “The Accident,” a journey into the world of book publishing and secrets. Literary agent Isabel Reed receives a hand-delivered manuscript from an anonymous author. She’s a bit put off, but when she starts reading the mysterious manuscript, she can’t put it down. The revelations in the narrative would easily create a scandal involving one of the world’s most powerful men. Isabel knows an editor named Jeff who can keep a secret and who understands the kind of explosion the book’s publication would cause. Meanwhile, CIA operative Hayden Gray has been tracking the manuscript’s elusive author. He’s done everything to make sure the revelations contained in the book never see the light of day, and he’s shocked to learn that Isabel has read it. He has a bold decision to make. Then Isabel’s assistant is found dead, and Isabel realizes she and Jeff might be next. The setup that Pavone unveils is quite tantalizing, and it would have been easy to have the secret be unremarkable. But the author avoids that trap with terrific surprises and high-quality writing in this engaging thriller.
By Randy Wayne White
Doc Ford, a secret agent masquerading as a Florida marine biologist, returns in a thriller that explores the secret world of relic hunters who illegally dig mammoth ivory, Indian artifacts and other prehistoric treasures from the depths of South Florida’s limestone deposits. The story begins when a Native American named Duncan Fallsdown enlists Doc and his mystical, pot-smoking pal Tomlinson in a quest to recover artifacts that belong to his tribe. Soon, the three find themselves face to face with relentless treasure seekers who will stop at nothing, including murder. Ford has been a model of steely-eyed self-control in this series, so it’s a treat to see him flustered by his on-again, off-again love affair with Hannah Smith, a free-spirited fishing guide, in the story’s subplot. Ford actually gets jealous and then berates himself for it. The convoluted main plot of “Bone Deep” is difficult to follow in spots. None of the secondary characters, except a retired circus elephant, are particularly well-drawn. The appeal of the novel lies largely in the subplot and in the fascinating details about Florida’s hidden treasures and the geological forces that produced them. Over the years, White’s Doc Ford series has been solid — and often outstanding — and his new series featuring Hannah Smith as the protagonist is off to a great start. Although “Bone Deep” has its moments, it is not among his stronger offerings.