Tuesday, March 15, 2011

DEAL BREAKER by Harlan Coben (1995) Random House, 343 pages

Although this is Coben's first Myron Bolitar novel, it's not the first time I've met Myron or his psychotic, but critically helpful, former university roommate Win because I haven't been reading the series in order, but rather as each book finds its way to me.

Myron is building his business as a sports agent and he's guided ably by his assistant Esperanza, a former wrestler known as Pocahontas on the ladies' circuit, who suffers no fools--especially the ones who are bullies. His current high profile client is Christian Steele, a football star whose fiancée Kathy Culver mysteriously disappeared from her university campus 18 months previous. The Culver family recently suffered another unexpected loss when Kathy's father Adam was murdered in his own home in what the police regard as a botched robbery. Myron is not so sure that there was a robbery at all or that Kathy and Adam's cases are unrelated. The cases are complicated by Myron's previous relationship with Kathy's sister Jessica and by his undercover instinct to set the record straight.

One of the aspects of Coben's character building that keeps me hooked is his playfulness with popular culture references. In DEAL BREAKER I was continually amused by the Broadway musical theatre posters that decorate Myron's office walls and Myron's ability to reference a song or a moment from one of those very shows as a way to test his closest friends.

As I have come to expect with Coben's novels, DEAL BREAKER is rife with wit, tension and a messy protagonist's need to make things right.

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