I am lucky enough to have a family that not only supports my reading habit but endeavors on reading habits of their own. In addition to a White Elephant gift exchange and the new tradition of a beer exchange (let’s take a moment and appreciate having family that is mostly overage and has good taste in beer), we do a book exchange. It’s set up like the white elephant except instead of a combo of fun gifts and gag gifts, it’s all books. This year I picked Missing You by Harlan Coben and was told it’s supposed to be a page turner. I have to admit I scoffed at that after reading the tag line “A nightmare is just a click away”, but then I stayed up till two in the morning reading it. What can I say? I got sucked in.
It’s not my habit to pick up mysteries or thrillers. Part of why I started this blog was to force myself to expand my horizon, genre wise, but for some reason it never occurred to me to give this particular genre a try. I’d like to be able to say that snobbery plays no roll in that but, if I’m being honest, I’ve been in the academic world of reading and writing for just long enough to be a bit of a snob. Which is a shame because when it comes to writing a book that entertains, which is always at least part of the goal in writing, authors like Harlan Coben know what they are doing. By the end of every chapter there is something we’ve discovered and in that discovery there is a question that can only be answered by reading the next chapter.
Missing You follows Kat Donovan, an NYPD detective as she tries out the world of online dating and runs into an ex-boyfriend. This run in prompts several discoveries, all disturbing, some horrific, that Kat needs to tangle through in order help a boy find his missing mom and herself to figure out her father’s murder. Basically, there is a lot packed into this one book. It never felt like there was too much going on though, if fact, I’d say any less would have left the story missing something. What’s interesting about this, is part of the appeal of this type of book is that there is constant discovery and consequence. Corben, instead of breaking genre to take time with his characters, uses a plot line of discovery and consequence to aid in explaining the characters to the readers.
My only real issue with this book is one that, I suspect, shows my age. The catalyst is a dating website and various modern technologies appear throughout the book. It drove me absolutely crazy when the characters didn’t understand some pretty common knowledge technology things. I’m not a techie by any means, but I am a 25-year old living in 2017. If I’d been handed this plot line and told to write the story, it would have been a tad shorter, if not non-existent, via basic internet etiquette and rules of thumb. It’s worth considering a few things with this particular critique: I may not be the target audience for this book (I suspect an older generation), the main character is 40 years old (though I think this excuse is a little insulting to 40 year olds), and, if only to flatter myself, that I’m more tech literate than I thought I was. Regardless this was, indeed, a page turner and it felt so good to be so involved in a story that I lost track of time.
Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep listening. Keep creating.