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Posted: June 16, 2019

All readers should try at least one Harlan Coben novel

Book Review

By Derryll White

Coben, Harlan (2013).  Darkest Fear.

This is Harlan Coben’s seventh Myron Bolitar novel.  Many readers will know Myron, the college basketball star headed for the bigs who blew out his knee and became the head of MB Sports Reps, collecting superstar clients.

Bolivar is a comfortable, likeable character with a big heart. Harlan Coben is a very good writer, crafting strong and believable characters. Even Myron’s friend and alter-ego Win (Windsor Horne Lockwood III), quirky and abrasive, extremely wealthy, is believable and extremely well-developed.

Coben has an easy, personable style of writing.  Myron is quick and witty without being bothersome or sarcastic. His Sports Reps partner, Esperanza, plays the straight man and keeps Myron honest and grounded.  Wealthy and privileged Win is the most likeable, schizoid maniac one will meet in literature. Coben always keeps the story moving.  He employs a very nifty little device, every once in a while and not so often that one expects it, where he breaks character and writes directly to the reader – If you can listen to that one without moving your feet, you got some serious rhythm issues.

This is a story about family.  Sure there is mystery, suspense and intrigue. Essentially though, ‘Darkest Fear’ is about love – at all levels. I bounced back and forth between love for the women that have blessed my life, love for my parents, and that deep-seated passion I have for my kids – their success and well-being.  Harlan Coben hits it all, and in an extremely visceral fashion. I really felt this book. All readers should try at least one Harlan Coben novel.

            He saw himself hovering in the boy’s darkened doorway, the silent sentinel to his adolescence, and he felt what remained of his heart burst into flames.     – Harlan Coben

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Excerpts from the novel:

CHOICE – Being an overly attractive bisexual, Esperanza viewed everyone as a potential sex partner.  Myron wondered what that must be like, to have and thus weigh so many options, and then he decided to leave that road untraveled.  Wise man.

OLD LOVES – He wanted her gone, but with ex-loves there is also a pulling sadness.  There before you stands the true road untraveled, the lifetime what-if, the embodiment of a totally alternate life if things had gone a little different.  He had absolutely no interest in her anymore, yet her words still drew out his old self, wounds and all.

DEDUCTION – “Sherlock said that you should never theorize before you have facts – because then you twist facts to suit theories rather than twisting theories to suit facts.  If you see a misdiagnosis, nine times out of ten they ignored Sherlock’s axiom.”

CLEVER – “Part of my plan,” Myron said.  “I’ve weakened your will.  You cannot refuse me.”

“Diabolical.”

“Indeed.”

“And if I refuse?”

Myron wiggled his eyebrows.  “I’ll once again use my brawny body and patented lovemaking technique to make you succumb.”

“Succumb,” she repeated, pulling him closer.  “Is that one word or two?”

THE QUEST  – SOW THE SEEDS – He wanted to talk about society, how computers and technology are doing our thinking for us, how what he does lets us see the power of the human brain.

“That is where God exists,” he says, “that is where all things valuable exist.  True bliss can only be found inside of you.  The meaning of life is not in your new home entertainment system or sports car.  People must see their limitless potential.”

SCHOOL – School removes children from their warm parental cocoon.  School teaches them to bully or be bullied.  School teaches them how to be cruel to one another.  School teaches them that Mommy and Daddy lied to them when they told them that they were special and unique.

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.


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