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Darkest Fear (Harlan Coben): Review

Darkest Fear (Myron Bolitar, #7)Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben

Darkest Fear represents an interesting transition between Coben’s comparatively lightweight and formulaic early novels and his more recent, nervier and darker novels such as Tell No One and Gone for Good. It is part of the series dealing with the misadventures of Myron Bolitar, sports agent and occasional investigator, but this time Myron has more than the convenience of his clients on his mind. An old girlfriend turns up with the revelation that her son is dying for a bone-marrow transplant–and that the son is his. Myron has always had an overdeveloped sense of personal responsibility and this time it goes into overdrive. He, and his efficiently violent friend Win, find themselves involved with one of the richest and most secretive families in America, with a particularly brutal serial kidnapper and murderer and with the FBI on one of its off days.

Coben takes his wise-cracking series hero and puts him in real physical and emotional jeopardy–the book is impressive, and a decisive break with the formula he had established earlier. After this, gloomier and more dangerous books were inevitable, and protagonists less fundamentally cheerful than the ebullient Myron. —Roz Kaveney

                                                                                                                                                                 

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like Myron and Win. I read the books out of sequence, as I find them, which I find makes things more interesting, putting the threads together.

This filled in the Myron-Jeremy link that I’d come across in later books. There was less Win in this book, a shame as I like Win (he wouldn’t like me!).

The plotting was classic Coben, with a couple of extra twists and unanswered questions that hung about like bad smells until inspiration struck Myron. Coben captured the savoir faire of today’s teenagers perfectly in the last chapter.

I think the reason I disagree with RK’s assessment above regarding the dark/light transition in Coben formula is because I read the books out of sequence.  I’ve already read several of the later Bolitar books as well as a number of the non-series novels, so I think of Coben as a somewhat dark writer and thus Darkest Fear fits right in with that assessment.

Either way, if you like mysteries, you’ll like this.

I’m claiming this book as No. 5/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge.
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