They say that Harlan Coben is the master of the thriller novel, and I’m apt to agree. After starting to read his stuff just last year, I’ve become a pretty big fan and look forward to working my way through the rest of his library. The latest of these reads was his newest novel, Run Away, which was just recently published and released by Grand Central Publishing. It stands out, too, with a vibrant orange dust jacket that pops with colour.
Although this book is told from the viewpoint of a few different characters — as is usually the case with Coben’s stories — it is primarily the tale of a New Yorker named Simon Greene. A financial planner by trade, he finds himself in a desperate search for his drug addicted daughter after first seeing her in the park and then finding out that someone close to her was murdered. The story begins in said park, by Strawberry Fields, with Paige mangling a Beatles song as her father listens on, before an altercation causes a video to go viral.
Intertwined within this tale is a private investigator’s search for a missing son, whose wealthy adopted parents are desperate for answers. A search that involves more than once expected, and includes a negative message about those DNA/ancestry services people are so addicted to these days.
Like a good thriller, it’s tough to talk about the plot of this novel without spoiling anything. As such, I’m going to stop where I am and hope that I haven’t already said too much. I’d hate to spoil what is a solid book from a great author.
Going in, I had hoped to love this book, or at least thoroughly enjoy it as much as some other Cobens that I’ve read within the last year. In all honesty, I didn’t quite get that from Run Away, although I certainly enjoyed it and had it keep me guessing. I didn’t find the mystery to be as thought provoking or as immersive as some others, nor did I find the characters to be as interesting as in the past. It’s simply not Coben’s best, that’s all.
Then again, a decent or pretty good Harlan Coben book is better than most. He’s a talented writer, and the quality of writing continues to be strong here. Coben certainly has his own voice, and he uses it very well.
If you’re looking for a thought provoking and entertaining summer read, Run Away is certainly worth picking up. It might not be Harlan Coben’s best, but it’s a solid story.