I enjoy Harlan Coben’s work a lot. I’ve been reading him for years. The Myron Bolitar novels remind me a lot of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series, and I love Myron’s sidekick, Win – one of the deadliest, coldest guys in the room.
When Coben shelved the Bolitar series, temporarily, and started doing the stand-alone thrillers, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. However, Tell No One made an instant believer of me and introduced me to another side of the author’s bag of tricks. Nobody writes thrillers like Coben does.
Except Coben himself. He’s written other novels in a similar vein, all with vicious little twists. Which is a problem only if you’ve gotten to looking for those twists and have stopped believing in what the author is doing. Most of those plot zingers require the reader to not be looking for them. Admittedly, I have been.
But just when I’d become wary of Coben’s writing style and got harder to fool, he changes his writing yet again in Hold Tight. Coben dives deeply into the parental pool in this novel, bringing up and discussing all the myriad questions parents have to deal with on a daily basis when it comes to protecting and guiding children. How much supervision is too much? How much is too little? How does a parent control what information a child receives about sex, drugs, and rock and roll when that information is out there on the street? And next door?
Coben is a caring parent. I understood that by reading between the lines. His previous books show that as well. I met him once at a BoucherCon. He’s an entertaining and giving guy, the kind of author readers love to meet.
During the course of the novel, Coben also takes his readers on a tour de force of the software that’s available out there to help watch over your child. I have to admit, I thought a lot of it was really invasive and would never do it. However, just how far would you go as a parent to protect your child? That question keeps bouncing back through the frantic course of the novel. Every time I thought I had an answer, Coben threw something else at me till I didn’t know what I would do.