Kindle Edition, 410 pages
Published: March 18, 2014 by Dutton Adult (1st published January 1, 2014)
Setting: New York
After her father, a New York City cop, was killed in the line of duty, Kat Donovan followed in his footsteps, becoming a NYPD detective. Eighteen years after losing her dad, she is still plagued by unresolved feelings and questions about his murder. Kat’s friend Stacy tries to enrich her personal life by buying her a subscription to an online dating service. When Kat logs on, she unexpectedly bumps into her former fiancee, Jeff Raynes, who ended their relationship after her father’s death.
Kat has a rather odd online interaction with Jeff. A teenager from outside the precinct approaches Kat, asking her to find his missing mother, but is evasive when questioned about the situation. An Aspergian scientist finds himself imprisoned underground after being kidnapped on his way to propose to the love of his life. How are these three threads connected? What really happened the night Kat’s father died…and why? As these plots converge, a suspenseful, twist-filled story unfolds.
This is my first novel by this author — it was recommended by a dear friend. During the first few chapters, it felt a bit like a the opening of a conventional romance with a bit of heavy-handed humor by way of barroom banter — it almost lost me. However, the mystery soon began to unfold, and I was hooked.
I admire Coben’s sleight of hand in manipulating multiple story lines. He is also masterful with clever pacing and choosing the perfect time to reveal information to the reader. I read this 400-page novel within 24 hours, keeping me up well into the night — it’s a page-turner.
I liked the appealing characters, including Kat, Brandon, Gerard, and “Chewie.” However, the character development was not as deep, complex, and interesting as one would experience in a more character-driven novel. To be fair, this is not a character-centric story — it revolves around plot. And as the creator of a plot-driven mystery, Coben is clearly a master of his craft.
He also explored the regret, jealousy, and longing provoked by the loss of a relationship. Coben’s fictional online dating service gives readers a sense of the loneliness, longing, and even desperation so many people experience due to the difficulty of finding lasting, genuine love.
I highly recommend this to fans of suspenseful plot-driven mysteries.This was a terrific read that kept me guessing and indulging in “just one more chapter” again and again.