thriller reviews

No Secrets Are Safe In Harlan Coben’s The Stranger

We get mad at someone for cutting us off in traffic or for taking too long to order at Starbucks or for not responding exactly as we see fit, and we have no idea that behind their facade, they may be dealing with some industrial-strength shit. Their lives may be in pieces. They may be in the midst of incalculable tragedy and turmoil, and they may be hanging on to their sanity by a thread.

― Harlan Coben, The Stranger

the strangerHarlen Coben’s newest thriller, The Stranger, is a book about the secrets we keep, and what happens when they get spilled all over our usually well-kept lives.

Adam lives the American dream, settling in the posh but cozy town of Cedarfield, New Jersey, with his two lacrosse-playing boys and beautiful wife Corinne. Adam has it all. Or he had it all, until a stranger walks up to him in the local dive bar, where banker dads are gathering to form teams for sixth grade lacrosse, and reveals a bizarre and life-shattering secret. The stranger walks away, and when Adam steps out of that bar he steps into a new world, where people keep secrets and loved ones have double lives and justice takes strange forms that often get out of hand.

This sort of opening is Coben’s trademark–he’s a great fisherman and he’ll hook you every time. Although this could be considered a guilty pleasure, this is an example of a guilty pleasure done right. It doesn’t read like a script for a movie, as some fast-paced thrillers do. This type of book is Coben’s jam, and he has totally mastered his craft.

The Stranger on Amazon.com/Powell’s.com/Indiebound.org

If you like Harlen Coben, also try reading:

In Until You’re Mine, All That She Wants Is Another Baby

I’m at that age, early thirties, where everyone is getting married and getting pregnant. So are the characters in this thriller, but with much deadlier results than an avalanche of wedding invites and adorable Facebook photos.

Where Are Our Jetpacks? In Daniel Suarez’s Influx, The Bureau of Technology Control Steals The Future

In Daniel Suarez’s thriller Influx, the government is gobbling up all that advanced technology, hoarding it away from the public and other countries.

Take a Slow and Creaky Ride With Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train

Comparisons to Gone Girl are coming hot and heavy, but where Gone Girl is twisty, The Girl on the Train is slow and stabbing, with Rachel desperately flailing to find answers to her own lost time.

We’re Living In The Perfect Climate For An Arctic Thriller

From melting Arctic ice opening up new shipping lanes, to conflict over the newfound resources, to viruses reanimating after thaw, White Plague places protagonist Joe Rush in the midst of an area primed for conflict.

When Good Genes Go Very, Very Bad: Franck Thilliez’s Bred to Kill

With Bred to Kill, the second English release from the Inspector Sharko series (the sequel to Syndrome E), Franck Thilliez carves a niche for himself by wrapping his thrillers in science, wielding biology as other writers utilize dark streets and shady characters.

Review – One of Us by Tawni O’Dell

One of Us is haunted in all the right ways, with memories and rumors, psychic dogs channeling ghosts while very human monsters slip by undetected.