REVIEW: DON’T LET GO By Harlan Coben

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Publish Date Sept. 26, 2017 By Dutton Books

Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for.

When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.

******

In many ways, this might be one of the harder reviews I’ve had to write. I don’t know about everyone else but I often have so much to say when I want to completely gush about a book like I’ve done with several of my recent reads. This one, however, will not bring gushing which is really hard for me to say because I’ve loved almost all of Coben’s standalones in the years past. I’ve thought for a few days about why one of my most anticipated Fall reads fell flat for me, while many others are loving this so much.   As my friend Chelsea recently discussed on her blog  The Suspense is Thrilling Me, that’s the wonder of the book world…we can all read the same book and have vastly different opinions.

Moving on with my actual review…Napoleon “Nap” Dumas is a detective on a serious mission. He’s been unable to make peace with the death of his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana and the subsequent disappearance of his first love Maura. To say he’s been obsessed for 15 years is an understatement as the man has basically put his entire life on hold trying to figure out what happened to his brother and why Maura disappeared. What he slowly starts to discover is a web of tragedies, conspiracies, betrayals and lies that may or may not lead Nap to getting the answers he seeks.

So, that’s a taste of the plot and here’s a breakdown of what worked and didn’t work for me….

What Worked…

  • Lightning fast dialogue. Harlan Coben can seriously write realistic dialogue and there’s a ton of it in this story which I really enjoyed
  • Fast paced plot. With lots of dialogue and a continuously moving plot, this was a super fast read.
  • A fairly difficult mystery to unravel. I wasn’t able to figure out what happened or why which is always a plus for me
  • Nap’s character. I liked that Nap was a flawed character who’s heart was always in the right place even when he was taking justice into his own hands. He was a good guy which made it easy to root for him

What Didn’t Work…

  • An over the top feel to the writing. The writing (example being the first line of the book) often came across as “cheesy” and trying too hard to be funny, witty, sarcastic, etc
  • Most everything about the military base plot line. I found myself uninterested in this plotline which was very central to the story. The author gave quite a bit of background detail about the abandoned military base and I found myself skimming quite a bit when this came up
  • Nap’s 15 year obsession with Maura whom he hadn’t really dated that long…in high school. I just had a hard time buying his complete obsession and inability to move on for so many years as an adult
  • An overall lack of connection. While I liked Nap, I wasn’t overly connected with him or the outcome of the story to consider myself fully invested and have that ‘I can’t stop reading’ feeling

It’s quite possible that I just wasn’t in the mood for this story at this time or maybe my reading tastes for this type of story are changing because five years ago I think I would’ve liked this more. That being said, I encourage you to try this for yourself, especially if you like mysteries with dynamic dialogue. I still highly recommend trying some Coben’s early books as well!

Many thanks to Dutton Books via Netgalley for my copy

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32 thoughts on “REVIEW: DON’T LET GO By Harlan Coben

  1. Excellent review Renee (and thanks for the shoutout!); I think you gave fair, unbiased points and were still very uplifting about the book! I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you, but happy that you found it intriguing enough to finish. I’ll be starting my copy today and can’t wait to chat with you guys about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review Renee. I like the format that you used to list what you liked and what you didn’t. The obsession angle sounds unbelievable and not connecting with characters(especially the MC) can definitely ruin a reading experience.

    I have never read anything by this author though so I am intrigued enough to try out one of his book. Sorry to hear that this one didn’t quite meet your expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Surprising.. I’ve really liked the few Harlan Coben novels I read but I totally get your point.. the military doesn’t speak to me so much either and his school crush still going strong after so many years hmm.. You really were able to pinpoint what worked and what didn’t! I had books I read in the past that I didn’t like but I couldn’t even really say why not :-).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like Coben and would’ve called him a favorite if not for the last few books of his I wasn’t super thrilled with so I tried to figure out exactly what bothered me for this review…sometimes I don’t know why a book doesn’t work either!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love your honest review!
    If we all loved the same books it would be incredibly boring and authors would all have to conform to what readers like. Luckily we all have different tastes, are drawn to books, and no two people see the same book exactly the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry this didn’t work for you, Renee, but I thought this was an excellent and fair review. What’s funny is, the description of the military base really worked for me because there was one next to my hometown. Just goes to show you that there is so much that factors in to how different people will like or dislike a book based on their own experiences!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Very thoughtful review, Renee! I must confess that I’ve never read anything he’s written. There’s no particular reason – I jus’t haven’t. Maybe I should start with one of his earlier titles??

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Loved your review, Renee! Thanks for sharing what worked and what didnt…I like how you formatted that! Coben has always been a favorite of mine, so I’m interested to see how I like this one. The girlfriend thing sounds quite over the top! It’s not on my list to read soon since I’m swamped, but I’ll get to it eventually…and that’s ok lol. I’m no rush right now! I hope your next book is excellent 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I haven’t read this one and don’t know if I will. I’ve loved his standalones for years, but in the last few years he seems to me to have slightly lost the magic. In fact, he seems to be repeating himself – I’ve read at least two other novels by him, both quite recent, where the plot revolves on a man looking for a girl he once loved years earlier who then disappeared. Sorry you found this one a bit disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s always so hard to write reviews of books you didn’t really like, and even harder when it’s an author you love. You handled this one wonderfully, letting people know the pros and cons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Susie, your new reviewing format helped inspire me for this review! I’ve been wanting to try simplifying my reviews like you did. Do you find it’s helped you cut down on review writing time? That’s my biggest issue lately…the time it takes to write them is often too much!!

      Like

  10. I think I’d have thought the same because of the military storyline…I had the same issue with the last Dugoni. But I loved your review and how you explained what you liked and what you didn’t!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great review Renee, I used to be a fan of Harlan Coben and have read most of his earlier books but for some reason have gone off him a bit recently. Maybe it’s because I feel he’s trying too hard? Who knows!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great review Renee! I really loved the beginning and the whole “set up” plot, but I had a hard time with the way it played out in the end. Hence, my 4 star rating! This was only his second book that I’ve read.

    Liked by 1 person

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