Run Away by Harlan Coben
★★★★✰ 4 stars
“I’ve seen some strange shit. And bad stays. Bad doesn’t go away. You bury bad, it digs itself out. You throw bad in the middle of the ocean, it comes back at you like a tidal wave.”
I find Harlan Coben’s books to be a great source of diversion and Run Away exhibits all of his best trademarks: a suspenseful and fast-paced story, humour, action, and an array of believable and sympathetic characters.
I found Run Away to be completely engaging. I was entertained throughout, unable to leave Simon Greene and his search for his daughter. His love for Paige—his daughter—propels this story and, while there are plenty of interesting side-characters, this book is ultimately about Simon. Throughout this book Coben examines and tests the concepts—and limits—of parenthood (and especially ‘fatherhood’). What is Simon willing to do to find Paige? Can he reconcile himself with her disappearance? Is he to blame for Paige’s drug addiction? Is Paige beyond his help?
Amidst the action characters face heartbreak, grief, and guilt. There a few moments of calm in which we see Simon (as well as other characters) question his choices and actions but for the most part this is a go-go-go sort of story.
Coben’s style is filled with humour. Often it is the narrative itself which provides us with witty descriptions (“Thorpe’s office was decorated in Early American Douchebag”). He also has this ability to instil personality into seemingly ordinary things: “The suite didn’t look so much tailored as birthed, created, cultivated for him and only him”. And he has a real ear for the way in which people speak and move. In a few lines he captures the essence of a certain character (his or her personality). There a few characters who have only brief appearances and yet they are rendered in such a memorable manner that they remained vivid in my mind.
And this being a Coben novel….well, there are plenty of twists. As the paths of different characters come together, the tension rises to a crescendo, and Coben starts dropping all of these ‘wtf-no-way’ bombs. Things that I thought could never happen…they do (yes, I am still upset over that). I do feel that the conclusion was a bit hastened. After this slow build up we get a very short time to adjust to various major revelations/events.
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