Sunday, March 11, 2018

Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben

Detective Napolean Dumas, known as "Nap", is stuck in the past.  In his senior year in high school, a tragedy occurred.  While he was out of town playing hockey one Friday night, his twin brother was killed by a train.  Killed along with him was the police chief's daughter, Diana.  It was unclear what happened and how the accident occurred.  Nap's girlfriend, Maura, disappeared the same night.  His first love, he was stunned to find her gone and her mother was of no help at all, just saying she had transferred to another school.

Now, fifteen years later, Nap has an okay life.  He grew close to the police chief after their joint tragedy and ended up joining the police force himself.  It's a sleepy little town and the job isn't that taxing.  He still lives in his boyhood home; in fact, he still sleeps in the bedroom he shared with his brother Leo.  Not much happens in his life, but when your stuck in the mud, nothing is okay.

Then he gets a call that changes everything.  A policeman has been killed in another town and it turns out to be one of Leo's friends.  Nap hadn't kept up with him and was vaguely aware he had also become a policeman, but when his police force was asked for help, he volunteers.  He is shocked when he arrives and finds out there is evidence of someone else involved in the death, and that all signs point to it being Maura. 

This is the first he has heard of Maura in all these years and he is determined to find her this time.  As he investigates the death, things start to happen that indicate the logjam of silence is about to break about the past.  Another friend from high school, a brilliant boy who went off the tracks and is now the town homeless crank, has gone missing.  With the reluctant help of the police chief who just wants to forget the night he lost his daughter, Nap starts to put the pieces together to unearth the truth of what happened all those years ago.

Harlan Coben is one of the mystery genre's shining lights.  A winner of the Edgar, Shamus and Anthony Awards, his books feature tight mysteries that make unseeable twists that leave the reader wanting more.  He has written twenty novels in addition to a series about a detective.  This was one of his standalone novels and readers will find the Coben magic in full force.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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