Review: NYPD detective Kat Donovan has never fully gotten over a period in her life, 18 years ago, when her father was murdered and her engagement to Jeff Raynes fell apart. Now, both events have re-entered her life. The man, Monte Leburne, convicted of murdering her father is dying, a man she never believes committed the crime, and a chance sighting of a profile on an online dating site suggests that Jeff, now a widower, may be open to getting back together, in Missing You, a stand-alone thriller by Harlan Coben.
Kat decides to visit Monte on his deathbed. He refuses to deny killing her father, but strangely doesn't convincingly admit to it either. She's convinced he was just a fall guy, and the real killer is still out there. Separately, she responds to Jeff's online profile only to receive a non-committal response. Frustrated that she gave in to an urge to even contact him, she's also hurt when he says he wants to move on. But what puzzles her more is a message she receives from Brandon Phelps, a teenager who contacts her about his missing mother. It turns out Brandon had hacked the online dating site his mother used to meet her current boyfriend, and came across Kat's message to Jeff. "This is the guy my mom went away with," he tells her. "I got it off the website." And he hands her a picture of Jeff.
Missing You is a meticulously plotted, nearly flawlessly executed suspense thriller. The three primary storylines — Kat Donovan searching for Jeff; Brandon searching for his mother; and Kat trying to reach closure on the murder of her father — are seamlessly interweaved with a series of crimes being committed in remote Pennsylvania. The author wisely spends only a minimal amount of page time on the victims' captivity, just enough to give a sense of how horrific their situation is without becoming sensational. The pacing throughout is ideal, keeping the tension level high as the storyline progresses. The unknowns are numerous, and clues to how everything will turn out are few in number but strategically placed. The only quibble, and it is just that, is in the ending. The door is left wide open for a sequel, which is fine and would be welcome indeed, but the resolutions to Kat's issues seem just a little too neat and tidy. They are foreshadowed, to be sure, and it is ever so slightly frustrating that Kat doesn't catch on or at least suspect sooner, even though she didn't have all the facts needed to confirm what ultimately happens. On balance, however, this is a minor point of criticism in an otherwise exceptionally well-crafted novel, definitely one of the best books of the year, and one that should not be missed.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided an eARC of Missing You for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Dutton (Hardcover), March 2013
ISBN-13: 9780525953487; ISBN-10: 0525953485
Dutton (Hardcover), March 2015
ISBN-13: 9780525953500; ISBN-10: 0525953507
Location(s) referenced in Missing You: New York City; Connecticut; Pennsylvania
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Missing You by Harlan Coben
Publication Date: March 2013
List Price: $27.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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