Promise Me by Harlan Coben
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Jacket Blurb: The school year is
almost over. In these last pressure cooker months of high school, some
kids will make the all too common and all too dangerous mistake of
drinking and driving. But Myron is determined to help keep his friends’
children safe, and so he makes two neighborhood girls promise him that
if they are ever in a bind but are afraid to call their parents, they
will call him. Several nights later, the call comes at two a.m. The next
day, a girl is missing, and Myron is the last person who saw her.
Desperate to fulfill a well-intentioned promise turned horribly wrong,
Myron races to find her before she’s gone forever.
A rather convoluted story that ultimately left me rather dissatisfied.
Promise Me has a plot full of red herrings, dead ends, lies, omissions, the customary 'beat up Myron' scene, and is layered thick with the question 'who knows best'? Personally, I thought the 'who knows best' question was too thick, like the chocolate frosting on a store-bought cupcake, where it's more frosting than cupcake and leaves that funny greasy taste in your mouth. Yeah, like that.
For starters, there is a six year leap in the timeline between Darkest Fear and Promise Me. I'm supposing the characters are to have matured in this time leap, to have grown up. But yet, the whole thing seems to revolve around the past - the drama takes place in Myron's hometown of Livingston, the missing girl's mother is a close friend from high school, Myron's past is continuously brought up, Wyn and Big Cindy haven't changed a bit, and yet again, Myron so busy running around looking for a girl he neglects his business. What kind of mature person does that?
Then we have our runaways. Two 18 year old girls, same school, both pregnant, both end up in downtown Manhattan withdrawing money from the same ATM. That is the link and really, the only link. And from this Myron teases apart the threads and figures out "who done it". The big reveal, the final Ah HA! left me rolling my eyes like aforementioned teens and saying, whatev-ah....
Our cast of characters is so lengthy it would be too confusing to try and explain them all here, which I think was also a problem with the book. Everyone had secrets, and in digging for the explanation behind the girls disappearance, Myron managed to stomp on every single sore spot - the beaten wife, the mob boss, the teacher's affair, the drug dealing, the pregnancies, the marital affair, the college admission cover ups; everyone had something to hide and Myron had everyone spilling their beans. Were all of these relevant? Did they contribute to the resolution? Yes and no...mostly it was a lot of annoying smoke.
Bottom line, not my favorite Bolitar book. Recommended, with slight reservations, if you've read the previous seven.
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