Thursday, January 02, 2014
REVIEW: Caught by Harlan Coben
Author: Harlan Coben
Publication Date: March, 2010
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Description: 17-year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.
Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate-and nationally televised-sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.
In a novel that challenges as much as it thrills, filled with the astonishing tension and unseen suburban machinations that have become Coben's trademark, Caught tells the story of a missing girl, the community stunned by her loss, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can't trust her own instincts about this story-or the motives of the people around her.
My Thoughts: A very fascinating riveting story that drew me in immediately. Several plots are occurring simultaneously in this book that appear to be separate and individual but begin to connect together. A missing teenager who vanishes in the middle of the night without a trace and leaves the entire community baffled. A social worker’s arrest as a sexual predator of children opens up more questions than answers. I was prepared to dislike Wendy Tynes initially. She struck me as a Nancy Grace type of journalist looking for explosive headlines and bright lights and assuming her target was guilty without due process. The story weaves in and around the characters of this story to make the reader unsure of their own convictions. Several times while reading this book I was positive that Dan Mercer was a pedophile and had killed the missing girl, but a few pages later, I began to doubt and then start the process over again. This book really made me think about the criminal justice system in this country, when it works and works well, and also when it doesn’t.
This book is also about rash decisions and how they can alter lives forever. Decisions made by Haley, Dan, Wendy and others lead to actions by others that cause a tsunami effect of destruction in their wake. This book showed me that nothing is ever as it seems on the surface but all too often, people go with that perception and make judgments based on it.
Harlan Coben is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors to turn to when I want a story that packs a solid punch but still manages to surprise the reader. This story brought out a range of emotions in me while reading. Everything from anger and shock to fear and sorrow combined with some tears and laughter will give the reader a thoroughly entertaining, though exhausting experience.
My Final Verdict: If you enjoy James Patterson, I highly recommend you try Harlan Coben. He is definitely a master of his craft. Find a comfortable chair, kick off your shoes and settle in for a thrilling adventure when you open this book. You won’t want to put it down.
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