Harlan Coben is an author who creates stories that twist and turn throughout their pages. Such is the case with his new novel, Six Years. You immediately are faced with a situation which can't be true, but as the pages unfold you learn that it is. Coben's brilliance is that when it is all explained it makes sense, a talent not shared by some other successful writers.
In Six Years Jake Fisher is the everyman caught up in a web of deceit, danger and betrayal. He is a professor at a small college and really enjoys that life. Then he meets Natalie, the girl of his dreams. They spend an almost perfect summer together in which they fall in love. Then abruptly Natalie tells him she has met someone else and is getting married. She even sends him an invitation to the wedding. Jake is heartbroken.
Six years later Jake is still nursing his broken heart and dreaming of what might have been with Natalie. By accident he learns her husband has died and he decides to go to the funeral. He heads south and arrives at the church where the funeral is being held. He is totally surprised when he gets a glimpse of the widow and it is not Natalie! She isn't even at the funeral.
This raises questions Jake feels must be answered, but in raising the questions he places his life in danger. As he gets deeper involved in the mystery, people he thought he knew become people he can't even trust. All he has to rely on is his own set of skills which are not honed for this type of action.
Coben is a writer who consistently gets it right. He formulates intricate plots that seem to be spiraling into fantasyland and then he expands his story and makes everything seem logical. This is not easy to do especially when in a book like Six Years the story has been taken to the very precipice of unbelievability. To make it all sensible takes a wizard and Coben has a tool of tricks up his sleeve that he pulls out time after time to save the day.
Coben always writes good stories and he creates fantastic characters. He does make it all a bit Hitchcockian as he continually takes a person who should not be in a perilous situation and firmly entrenches him there. This is not an easy thing to do but Coben has the magic touch and always pulls it off.
Any new book from Coben is a cause for celebration, and one as good as Six Years is cause for jubilation. He is still on a roll and his books just get better and better.
SIX YEARS is published by Dutton. It contains 351 pages and sells for $27.95.
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