“Coben writes with wit and irony…his flair for exposing the frail balance point between order and chaos in our lives has never been stronger.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review, on Stay Close "[A … see full wiki
I picked up Harlan Coben's latest novel Six Years from the library a week or so ago. I enjoy his books, and I was looking forward to a few days of leisurely enjoyment. What I got instead was a book I had a hard time putting down, as Coben kept me guessing right up to the end. Granted, I read a lot and don't necessarily do a good job of being able to remember plots and story lines of books I read even six months ago. Still, this is one of the best non-Bolivar novels he's written.
The story revolves around Jake Fisher and a lost love. He stayed at an artist retreat a little over six years ago, and while there met and fell in love with a woman named Natalie. He fell hard, and believed that she had done the same. But with little warning, she broke off their relationship. Furthermore, she got married to another guy almost immediately afterwards. Jake was invited (and went) to the wedding, if nothing more than to see who had replaced him in Natalie's life. After the ceremony, she found Jake standing alone on the chapel lawn, looking lost and confused. She confronted him, said what they had was over, she was now happily married, and made Jake promise one thing... that he would never come looking for them. He kept that promise for six years until he found an obituary for her husband, Todd. He showed up at the funeral, unable to stay away now that she was apparently single once again. But that's where the floor dropped out from under Jake's life... the Todd in the obituary was not the Todd Natalie married. The woman who was Todd's wife was not Natalie. And everywhere Jake goes to find Natalie, it's as if nothing that happened and no one he knew ever existed or was who he remembered them to be. But if that's truly the case, why are there people after Jake who also want to know where Natalie is, and are willing to kill anyone they need to in order to find the answer to that question?
Coben starts the action quickly in Six Years by flashing back to the wedding and showing Jake as a torn and confused individual. The six years are skipped over by bringing the obituary into the story, which starts Jake's quest to find his lost love. He strings along the answers to questions that Jake is after, and every time I thought there was a new piece to the puzzle, it usually came bundled with another twist that made the mystery deepen even further. I feel that Coben's use of the first person narration by Jake made everything work perfectly, as I identified and felt for what he was going through, and for what was happening through his eyes.
Six Years was very hard to put down, and it was a great rollercoaster of a ride. It's novels like these that make Harlan Coben one of my favorite authors.