“Missing You” by Harlan Coben
399 pages, Dutton
Published March 18, 2014
NYPD Detective Kat Donovan has been single for 18 years when her best friend, Stacy, decides to set up a dating website profile for her. Kat is initially opposed to the idea, but then she becomes intrigued … even more so when she stumbles across Jeff, the fiancé who left her 18 years ago. But Jeff seems to want to leave the past in the past.
Around the time Jeff left, Kat’s cop father was murdered. When the man convicted of killing him dies in prison, Kat begins to wonder if the real murderer was brought to justice.
Meanwhile, Kat gets caught up in a missing person case that involves a woman who met someone on the same dating website Kat’s been using. And she’s floored when she learns who the man is. As she’s drawn deeper into the investigation, Kat realizes there’s so much more at stake than the life of one woman who just wanted to start all over.
Sorry for the long synopsis, but as you can see, there is a lot going on in this book – to the point that I was kind of overwhelmed the more I read it. This was my first time reading a Harlan Coben novel, so I have nothing to compare it to in terms of his work. First impression, though, is he seems like a wannabe James Patterson (and I’ve only read one Patterson book, but still).
I loved the fast pace of this book. Although Coben made it clear pretty early on what had happened to the missing woman, Dana Phelps, he drew out the suspense with hints of a sinister plot. If I were still single, I think I’d probably swear off online dating for a while. I know it’s only a book, but still. It reminds me that you just never know who you might be talking to.
The romantic elements of this book seemed super cheesy to me. Like other reviewers, I think the fact that Kat is still pining for Jeff after 18 years is a little ridiculous. I know the time lapse was important to the sequence of events, but I wasn’t totally buying it.
Somehow, in the end, all of the seemingly random elements of this novel tie together, and while that made my head spin, I was also impressed. Granted, the last few chapters – as action-packed and exciting as they were – also felt a bit rushed and somewhat sloppy.
I was mildly annoyed at the very end, but at the same time I liked how Coben left it a bit open-ended so the reader could draw his or her own conclusions.
I’m sure I’ll check out more of Coben’s work in the future, but I have to admit that I found a paperback of one of his older books on sale at the library today – and just looking at it exhausted me. So it might be a while before I read another Coben novel. But I’m a lot less likely to ever read Patterson’s work again – so I guess Coben must be doing something right.
About the author
With over 60 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last seven consecutive
Coben is the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – and he has received an eclectic variety of honors from all over the world. His novel TELL NO ONE has been turned into a hit French film of the same name. His essays and columns have appeared in many top publications.
Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.