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06 March 2014

Harlen Coban: Missing You

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Gone but not forgotten
In "Missing You" Harlen Coban returns to a similar theme to his ultra successful "Six Years" - enduring love despite being jilted. This time it is 18 years since NYPD Detective Kat Donavan was left inexplicably by her fiancé Jeff who she thought would be her soul-mate for life. Jeff also disappeared completey out of her and she doesn't know where he is.This happened about the same time as her beloved father, also an NYPD cop, was murdered in the line of duty.

Kat has not got over either event and has never married. One day her best friend, Stacey, gives her a most unusual present - a subscription to an on-line dating service with the message "You need someone. You want someone". With some hesitation Kat decides to have a quick browse through the site for potential dates and her world explodes when she sees a picture of Jeff staring back at her. His bio says that he is widowed with a daughter. Kat plucks up courage to send him an anonymous message that he will understand - a link to a video of their favourite song. She finds it disturbing and weird that Jeff doesn't recognise the song.

At around the same time Kat has a final near deathbed interview with her father's convicted killer, now dying of cancer while still on death row, and believes his confession that while he is guilty of other murders he was set up to take the rap for her father's murder.

Coben then takes us on a switchback of ups and downs and twists and turns as Kat follows up her father's murder, and tries to track down Jeff. She is also dragged into a case of multiple disappearances of people associated with on-line dating.. She becomes enveloped by a huge dark and dangerous envelope as she chases down these disappearances and tries to find the truth about what happened to the two big loves of her life who are "gone but not forgotten".

While Coben continues to display his skills at unfolding several apparently unconnected mysteries without providing all the clues until near the very end. This time Coben has used his author's licence to create some pretty unbelievable conspiracies and introduces some dangerous and violent sociopaths who prey on lonely wealthy people. He ties these together with a couple of shattering climaxes.

IMHO "Missing You" is not as good as "Six Years" mainly because it may have crossed my line in the sand for for implausibility for these kind of suspense thrillers. Nevertheless it is a page-turning top class thriller that will undoubtedly be devoured and enjoyed by most of Coben's many fans.

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