He’d later learn that it was for show, that Ingrid had the same fears and insecurities that plague all of us, that part of the human condition is that all decent people think they are phonies and don’t belong at some point or another.
The same but different. That’s what Harlan Coben’s novels tend to be. All based on themes of the strength of love, and the danger of secrets. But each one very much its own story. That goes also for his new novel, Run Away, which I liked very much.
Simon Greene is a successful financial advisor. He becomes a YouTube sensation briefly, when he attacks a homeless man in New York’s Central Park. What all the people who liked and shared his video, commenting on how evil he was, didn’t know, was that he was trying to help his drug addict daughter, to save her from the homeless man, who had gotten her hooked in the first place.
The daughter gets away. But then Simon and his wife Ingrid get a tip about someone who might be able to help them find her. They end up in a New York crack house, and shots are fired…
And Simon must go on alone to follow faint leads into a convoluted tangle of bizarre criminal conspiracies. Gradually he learns that his daughter’s plight is only peripheral to a much larger crime, and he will be placed on a lengthening list of people marked for murder, due to no fault of their own.
I found Run Away pretty amazing. Not only does Coben trace the familiar ground of family love and loss, and parental sacrifice, but he also creates a pair of unforgettable villains – remorseless killers who happen to be deeply in love, and very sympathetic in their scenes together. That kind of ambivalence shakes me more than distilled evil ever could. And the final revelation of the story was a genuine shocker, one to keep you awake pondering.
I thought the climax of Run Away a little far-fetched, but overall I consider it one of Coben’s best. Highly recommended. As usual with Coben, the profanity is minimal.