Coben is a skilled craftsman when it comes to creating an expressway of plot twists – you just never know where you are going to get on or off… let alone when the detour will lead you in an entirely different direction. When I picked up Hold Tight I had no intention of reading it in the Barnes and Noble café while waiting for my lunch order of spinach quiche to appear at my table (yes, the staff treats me rather well, and I tip them for the kindness and acknowledge them with their managers and corporate). I was loading my cart up with my stash of books and had intended to add it to my never-ending TBR (To Be Read) mountain. The cover spoke to me and I picked it up to read the synopsis – it piqued my interest, so I made a mental note to add it to my bedside pile.
I picked it up again and told myself I would read a chapter – which is something I absolutely abhor due to my fear of getting something on it, thus ruining it, and while I am dishing the dirt on my issues of marred books, I am equally appalled of buying a copy someone has pawed through. Hmmm… some might use the word “anal,” and I have no aversion to that term. Oh, the thought of some stranger with goodness knows what on their hands mauling through my books sends shivers through me. Germaphobe and anal are adjectives I welcome linked to moi!
I tossed caution to the wind and started Coben’s Hold Tight, and once I did, could not put it down for anything. I was hooked and wanted to know who, what, where, when, why… and how! Oh, my first outing with Coben, and he seduced me with his high octane tale of suspense.
Coben tackles the issue of privacy and how the internet and messaging has changed everything. He delves into how in today’s society anyone can write anything they want about you and your loved ones, and there isn’t much you can do. After all, once it is launched into cyberspace, it is out there.
At the core of Coben’s point of issue is the Baye family and the argument of a child’s right to privacy versus a parents’ moral and legal right to know. Mike and Tia install a spy program to keep tabs on their sixteen-year-old son Adam, after one of Adam’s buddies commits suicide. Not long after a tenebrous IM arrives, Mike tries to shelter Adam and keep him home, but instead Adam takes off. Hold Tight kicks into gear with riveting suspense as the search is on for Adam. One of the stops along Mike’s search for his son leads him to the dilapidated underbelly of the Bronx and a deeper look into the world of pharm parties. From there the suspense in Hold Tight propels the reader forward in a manner akin to a high intensity roller coaster ride that leaves you breathless and dizzy, as you feverishly flip pages.
Coben brilliantly maneuvers a few contradistinctive vignettes, which focus on the theme of parents trying to shield their children from the world and learning to distinguish them in their newly appointed roles of burgeoning young adults.
With every plot and subplot Coben unfolds effortlessly, as he hits the summit without a single loose end in sight. It is absolutely nothing short of literary magnificence.