Title: Stay Close
Author: Harlan Coben
Release Date: March 29, 2012
Stay Close is a thriller that unites three unlikely characters in order to solve a slew of disappearances. Megan, the stripper-turned-soccer mom, had fled Atlantic City seventeen years ago, the same night that Stewart Green went missing. Ray, the photographer who has fallen from grace, remembers her disappearance and is plagued by the memories of blood. Detective Broome worked the case and has been continuing to piece together the puzzle since the night it occurred. When another man disappears, Broome believes it could be connected to the Stewart Green disappearance and requires the assistance of Megan and Ray. However, in the seedy backdrop of Atlantic City, police corruption and organized crime threaten to derail the investigation, putting lives in danger.
Although Megan, Ray, and Detective Broome are the main characters that Coben focuses on, he writes from the perspectives of his supporting characters as well. We see into the lives of Del Flynn, the desperate father of the missing Carlton, Lorraine, a bartender at the gentleman’s lounge, Dave, Megan’s husband, and several more. Although I did enjoy the different perspectives, I think a few of them might have been a little unnecessary because they played such a minor role. I did like how Coben transitioned from one perspective to the next and since it was all in the third person, it never got confusing.
Although I liked most of the characters, I did not like Ken and Barbie. The two were very sadistic and I wish that Coben hadn’t let us into their heads. I think their actions went a little too far and because they were so horrible, I didn’t really enjoy reading scenes from their perspectives. I think the scene in the law office is what really made me dislike these two because it just got to be a bit much.
I will go ahead and say that this book has a very depressing tone to it. I don’t necessarily think it’s bad and based on its setting, Atlantic City, and the crimes that it includes, I think that a depressing tone is almost necessary. However, almost every character is living with some sort of regret and I don’t think any of the characters are really happy. The book also delves into some tough issues, such as domestic abuse, and there is quite a bit of violence. I had expected this because I knew that this novel revolved around crime so it never bothered me too much. If you are the type of reader who needs an upbeat character or a happy ending, you will not find it in this book. It is well written and I enjoyed reading it, but there isn’t any happiness in it.
This was the first Harlan Coben book that I read and I really enjoyed it. The plot kept me guessing and I rapidly flipped though the pages of this book. I also enjoyed the change in perspectives and thought it was an interesting concept for a thriller. That being said, if you are a Harlan Coben fan, proceed with caution. Many fans of Coben have said that it may not be his best work, so just know that this novel may be different from those that have come before it.
If you have read Stay Close, I would love to hear your thoughts as well. To view Stay Close on Amazon, please click here.