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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Six Years by Harlan Coben

Six YearsSix Years by Harlan Coben

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  Harlan Coben, the master of domestic suspense, returns with a standalone thriller in the vein of #1 bestsellers Hold Tight, Caught and Stay Close that explores the depth and passion of a lost love . . . and the secrets and lies at its heart. Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd. But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for . . . but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for more than a decade, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life—a time he has never gotten over—is turned completely inside out. As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart—and who lied to him—soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on carefully constructed fiction. Harlan Coben once again delivers a shocking page-turner that deftly explores the power of past love and the secrets and lies that such love can hide.

Read as an audio book.

Premise of the book is after a whirlwind summer romance Jake's True Love married another, and after six years Jake still desperately loves Natalie. The tender glowing embers Jake carries in his shattered heart are ignited upon seeing the obituary for Natalie's husband, Todd. An impulse takes him to South Carolina to...what he doesn't know, but he has to go. Where he learns that the bereaved woman and children are neither Natalie, nor belong to Natalie.

This revelation pulls Jake into a whirlwind of mistaken purposes. Nobody Jake talks to a) believes Jake doesn't know where Natalie is and b) believe Jake's only purpose for looking for Natalie is simply out of love. Everyone suspects our professor has ulterior and sinister motives.

And, just in case the reader doesn't understand the depths to which Jake loves Natalie, Jake will tell you again, and again, and...yet again.

Six Years contains a plethora of incredibly stupid people. Starting with Jake and the big question - why didn't Jake look up the marriage certificate for Natalie and Todd first thing? Church documents are moot. Government documents are not and they are documents of public record.

The threatening cops. So Jake is standing on the side of the road looking at the former access to Recharge Retreat. If the cops had done nothing, or just stopped to ask if they could help Jake, was he lost, so on and so forth, no red flags would have been raised. But nooo, cops bluster and threaten and tell obvious lies and raise Jake's suspicions.

Then we get to Bob and Otto. Before abducting anyone, didn't these people do their research? Jake is doing research. But the bad guys don't? They just show up and torture and murder for the heck of it? Of course they do. They are the bad guys.

Jed, Cookie, and etal at the Retreat in Vermont. Let's threaten to kill the one guy who might have an answer and again, not bother with research. Apparently nobody believes in having a civilized conversation. The few conversations seemed to consist of: "I don't know", "I don't understand", "I don't believe you" and "Leave it alone".

So for suspense, this was decent if you can get beyond the ever present pining for Natalie, their summer of love, and lots of repeated dialog. It had several eye-rolling moments of disbelief, some interesting plot twists, and a web of intrigue that was borderline plausible. Ultimately, recommended with some slight reservations.

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