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….
- 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