Sunday, June 21, 2009
Myron Bolitar returns in "Long Lost" By Harlan Coben
Myron Bolitar returns in a dark and disturbing tale that is as much social commentary as it is a mystery. The last time Myron Bolitar was with Terese Collins was nearly ten years ago on a tropical island. She might have been the one for him and then she disappeared. Now, all this time later and out of the blue she calls and asks him to drop everything and join her in Paris. There is something more to her request than she is letting on, but Milton isn’t just going to jump on a plane for her. Too much time has passed and he has a new relationship now.
At least, he thought he did. But, Ali has plans for her and her son Jack and the plans don’t involve Myron. That fact, along with the possibility of facing charges in an assault case, quickly pushes Myron to take the trip to Paris. After a strange incident with immigration and others at the airport, he meets Terese. That meeting soon leads to upheaval, pain, numerous deaths and an appalling discovery.
Part of what always made this series entertaining was the humor angle. Puns and jokes in the dialogue between Win (his good friend and back up) and Myron always seemed natural and spontaneous. So too was the sarcasm expressed by Myron towards other characters and himself. That enjoyable humor is missing in this book. The puns, jokes and sarcasm are all there but in virtually every case the effort comes across as forced and flat. They simply aren’t funny and often reflect more of an elementary school level humor that just doesn’t work. The humor and sarcasm might have also failed because of the dark and horrifying nature of the mystery which provides the backdrop of the book. Beyond the fact that Terese needs help and the horrible secrets in her history, there is an overall darkness to the book that provides a considerable amount of social commentary.
It could also be the fact that since there have been several stand alone novels from author Harlan Coben since the last Myron Bolitar book he might now be incapable of writing the same type of enjoyable Bolitar book. Authors evolve and change (at least the good ones who aren’t writing cookie cutter books that are the same book after book) and writing styles change as do the tastes of readers. But, that quality of humor described above is clearly missing and sorely lacking.
The return of Myron Bolitar, Win and occasionally Esperanza is bittersweet at best. The case is interesting and there are plenty of twists to keep one interested to the horrifying conclusion. But, the read is reminiscent of losing touch with a good friend for years and then getting back in contact only to discover that the other person has radically changed.
And maybe you have too.
Book provided by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2009