Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Julie's Review: The Stranger

Author: Harlan Coben
Series: None
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 455
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Crime, Thriller
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A deeper, fascinating look into living the American dream at all costs
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world. Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life. Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne's deception, and realizes that if he doesn't make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy hes stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.

Review: The Stranger is exactly what I want and expect out of a Harlan Coben thriller. It's what he does so well: taking ordinary people and putting them in extraordinary situations to see how they react. It's a study of human psychology and resilience in unusual circumstances.

Adam Price is living the dream. He's got two great boys, a loving and beautiful wife. He also loves his wife. Unfortunately, things aren't  always as they appear. Corrine has been keeping a secret from Adam and his world falls apart when a complete stranger tells him the secret. As anyone would, Adam begins to investigate what the stranger told him. He quickly falls down the rabbit hole into a world where things quickly spiral out of control. It is pretty apparent that Adam is in over his head.

What Mr. Coben does so well is he keeps you guessing by throwing different issues or secrets into the mix. He likes to steer you in several directions and to keep you changing your theory. It really isn't until he starts to reveal the missing pieces of the puzzle that you say "AH HA".

There's a reason that Mr. Coben is one of the best thriller/mystery writers out there. He takes idealistic situations and turns them on their head. There's always some plausibility with his stories but he always ratchets it up a notch. I will say it's never unbelievable.

When reading his books you can always identify people you know in your neighborhood, school or heck even your friends. It's obvious he's a good at reading people and getting into their heads.

If you've never read him then The Stranger is a great one to start with or any of his other stand-alone novels. If you want to start a series then I definitely recommend his Myron Bolitor books.

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