Review: Missing You by Harlan Coben

missing-youFrom #1 New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben, a heart-pounding thriller about the ties we have to our past…and the lies that bind us together.
It’s a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.
Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her.  But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.
As the body count mounts and Kat’s hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancé, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.”

I have an admission to make: Harlan Coben books are one of what I call my “secret pleasure” reads. You know, the books that don’t really stretch your mind too much, but that are deliciously good at the same time? Yes, ever since my dear friend, Justy, introduced me to good ol’ HC, I’ve been able to count on him for a good read. Well, until recently. I was very eager to accept an offer to read Coben’s upcoming new novel, Missing You, to be released on March 18, 2014. Unfortunately, things just didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Allow me to explain (please try to stay with me, it gets very confusing).

As we are brought into the tale of Missing You, we meet NYC detective Kat Donovan. Kat’s BFF has bought her a year’s membership to an online dating site, where Kat sees the profile of her former fiancé, the love of her life. Or is it him? We’re not really sure. In the meantime, Monty Leburne is dying in prison after murdering Kat’s father, Henry, eighteen years ago. Or did he? We’re not really sure. Also, a young man is making contact with Kat to ask for her assistance in locating his mother, who has gone missing. Or has she? We’re not really sure. Oh, yes – let me not forget the additional storylines (yes, plural) involving Kat’s yoga teacher who is also her schizophrenic former college BFF, the former pimp who is holding people hostage in underground boxes, the search for the truth about Henry Donovan’s death, the search for Kat’s former fiancé (who may or may not be related to the hostage-taker), and the discovery of Henry Donovan’s big, bad secret named Sugar. Whew! Are you with me?

There was simply far too much going on in this novel for me to truly delve deeply into it and enjoy myself. As a reader, I was unable to become invested in things as a whole, as it was too fragmented due to the multiple directions each storyline veered off in. Another point of contention for me is what appeared to be Coben’s attempts at humor. I don’t know if he was truly trying to pass these conversations off as humorous, or if he was making fun of himself and his characters. Basically, one of his characters, Stacy, is drop-dead gorgeous, and Coben produced numerous instances in which she was hit on by men with truly lecherous and too-corny-to-be-real come-ons. Examples:

If I flip this coin, will I get head? ….Whoa, great rack! ….Hey, babe, do you have Wi-Fi? Because I’m feeling a connection. ….You know what would look good on me? You.”

Seriously, Harlan Coben? I get that you were going for cheesy humor, but it just doesn’t work for you. Your writing – and humor – used to be so much smoother and so much classier. This is the second book in a row by Coben that I have been disappointed by (Six Years was a major flop for me, as well). What has happened, Harlan?! I miss the old days, the days when I could snuggle up with you, my dog, and my Diet Pepsi and read happily for hours… Alas, that time has passed.

Now, folks, I’m a picky, picky girl who puts a lot of demands on my men (such as HC). Just because I wasn’t happy with what I read doesn’t mean you won’t be, either. I do try to keep an open mind when I read reviews and if a novel seems interesting to me, I check it out anyway. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Missing You by Harlan Coben is available for purchase on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. Buy it, read it, love it.

2 out of 5 stars

Source: Penguin Group/Dutton {via NetGalley}

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3 thoughts on “Review: Missing You by Harlan Coben

  1. Mira says:

    Maybe he doesn’t write the stuff himself anymore. That dialogue doesn’t sound like him at all! I read only one of his books but what I really enjoyed above everything else what his feel for dialogue.

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