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November 18, 2010
Recently, Harlan Coben’s March novel “Long Lost” was released in paperback, and immediately hit the New York Times bestseller list. . .and with good reason. This book is another installment of the highly acclaimed Myron Bolitar series.
Here, Bolitar (a sports agent/private investigator/moral crusader) receives a mysterious phone call from an old flame who needs his aid in Paris. When his current relationship with a 9/11 widow goes south, he makes the international flight to immediately become entrenched in a global conspiracy.
His Parisian ex tells Bolitar she believes her daughter (who died years earlier) may still be alive. As he tries to unravel her familial mystery, he somehow becomes entangled in a “sinister plot with shocking global implications,” as claimed by the back cover.
As usual, the writing is superb. Coben is a master at quick, witty dialogue and masterfully weaves lively comedic writing with an intricate and sophisticated plot. His descriptive and narrative voice is thorough without being fussy and complete without over-narrating.
He can simultaneously make his audience laugh while dealing with large social issues (and the personal issues of his characters). In short, he is a great writer who consistently published good books. As with every other novel Coben has penned, “Long Lost” is a great read and is definitely hard to put down, as cliché as that may sound.
Familiar and loved characters (such as Win, or Windsor Horne Lockwood III, Esperaza, or Little Pocahontas and even Terese Collins, who has been absent in the previous two novels) serve as a lively supporting cast who keep the action and the dialogue moving.
And, as in previous installments of this series, Bolitar spends a great deal of time pontificating the necessity and consequences of violence in his line of work. In a particularly poignant chapter, he himself becomes the victim of prolonged violence and spends the remainder of the book dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety attacks stemming from his captivity.
The book deserves kudos and its place on the national bestseller list, but this particular Myron Bolitar adventure does something the earlier ones did not: it may just go over the top. Before, the protagonist dealt with relatively believable issues, no matter how complicated the plot became or involved the ancillary characters were with that plot.
Perhaps for the first time, fans of this series may question the credibility of this misadventure. The subplots deal with global terrorism, genetic diseases, stem cell research, infertility treatments, government-sanctioned torture, etc. And while Coben does somehow tie it all together in a way that makes sense, the combination of so many hot-button topics does stretch the imagination a bit. Not to say it isn’t an entertaining read, but this book may not be as good as its predecessors.