Monday, March 26, 2012

LIVE WIRE by Harlan Coben, (2011) Penguin, 421 pages

Chatting with my colleague this morning who introduced me to Myron Bolitar a year ago has me all fired up again about the thriller I read on a recent trip to NYC, a perfect place, in fact, to be immersed in the landscape of a Coben novel. I had just strolled along Central Park West to enter the park across from The Dakota, where not only Yoko Ono shared her life with John Lennon, but also where Bolitar's best friend Windsor Horne Lockwood has a tony pied a terre in which Bolitar flops on nights he's too tired to make the commute home to New Jersey.

In addition to the moral satisfaction of witnessing the bad guys and dolls be suitably punished by tale's end, what especially keeps me hooked to Coben's books are his fully formed eccentric characters and the popular culture references that make me feel like one of the cool kids, albeit one who came of age with showtunes and bad '80s hair.

In LIVE WIRE, Bolitar's clients--former tennis star Suzze T and her rock star husband Lex--receive an anonymous Facebook post questioning the paternity of their unborn child and Lex disappears. In his search for Lex, Myron also unexpectedly finds his long-estranged sister-in-law Kitty who seems tied to a nefarious underworld that she is unable to escape. Supporting Myron on his quest to set things right are his best friend Win, his business partner (and former wrestler) Esperanza and their dutiful office assistant, Big Cyndi, whose predilection for outrageous makeup lands "somewhere between nineties goth and seventies KISS."

"The ugliest truth, a friend once told Myron, is better than the prettiest of lies." That aphorism and opening gambit is the moral crucible that Myron faces over and over again in LIVE WIRE as he puzzles out the ugly truths he is forced to face about his clients, his family and himself.

If you haven't yet found your way to Harlan Coben's smart, sassy, and satisfying thrillers, well, what are you waiting for?

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