By: Harlan Coben
Publisher: Dutton Adult/Penguin
Publication Date: 03/24/2015
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
The #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense delivers a shocking thriller that proves that a well-placed lie can help build a comfortable life—and a secret has the same explosive power to destroy it.
Harlan Coben’s seven consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers feature unrivaled depths of emotion combined with cutting-edge suspense plots that keep millions of readers turning pages deep into the night. In The Stranger, married parents Adam and Hannah confront the shocking secret on which their marriage is built—leaving Adam wondering whether he ever truly knew Hannah at all.
A special thank you to Dutton Adult/Penguin and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
THE STRANGER by Harlen Coben, is an intriguing suspense mystery (not so much a thriller); a marriage, secrets and lies –and a stranger who is about to destroy lives. Adam and wife, Corinne have two sons, Ryan and Thomas. They live in a nice suburban neighborhood in Cedarfield New Jersey. The Stranger did not shatter Adam’s world all at one. However, he would later learn nothing would be the same after meeting “The Stranger.” He meets this stranger at the American Legion Hall. His first statement, “She told you she was pregnant, right?” The Stranger is a normal looking guy who knows things about his wife and family. Did his wife lie? Adam does not know this guy, he says he is The Stranger. The stranger with the important knowledge, to ruin his life. She was never pregnant? The words kept landing like punches as he listened. The tests were fake? He really was not supposed to be at the meeting in the first place. Corinne was the treasurer of the lacrosse board, but her school had changed the scheduling of her teachers’ conference in Atlantic City, and even though this was the biggest day of the year for Cedarfield Lacrosse—indeed the main reason Corinne had become so active—Adam had been forced to step in for her. Not only does the stranger deliver information to Adam; he also informs secrets to Heidi Dann, a middle-aged woman with a family in Beachwood, Ohio and Michaela Siegel, a medical student in New York City. Adam is second guessing his entire marriage and life, like what the heck is going on? However, after he investigates each bit of information, the stranger is right on and continues to give him more tidbts, making Adam almost paranoid. Adam and his wife met in Atlanta and bonded over paternal tragedies and got married. At the time he was trying to help people as a public defender and she was teaching in the roughest neighborhoods of Newark, NJ. When Thomas was born it was time for a proper house and he began allowing his wife to choose the house and the cars, and make decisions, etc. He ended up leaving the job as PD for a higher pay at a law firm, after all this is what fathers do— living the dream. He continues to hear the stranger’s voice “You didn’t have to stay with her . . .” He had lived with her for eighteen years. He had seen her every mood and experienced her every emotion. He even knew her well enough to know that what the stranger had alleged was indeed possible. What about his other two sons – is he even their father? He continues to learn devastating and dark secrets about his wife, Corinne—he has to protect his sons. When Adam receives a desperate text from Corinne the intensity heats up and the text itself is something his wife would not say. Is there a bigger conspiracy and something darker than he can imagine? He has to get back to work. and why would Corrine do something so crazy and now she wants time alone? Coben sends readers down some twisted crazy paths of cat and mouse involving conspiracy, covers ups, stolen money, secrets, and blackmail – a game with a crazy ending. THE STRANGER is quite different than Coben’s other books, (a huge fan); however, and will have to say, this was not one of my favorites; even though as always, he incorporates twists, turns, suspense, and wit. The first part was kind of intriguing as you are racing to learn the identity of THE STRANGER. However, about thirty percent into the book, it slows down, going back and forth with Adam’s confusion with Corinne and The Stranger. Some parts were a little unbelievable (and strange); really did not hold my attention for the remainder, and seemed a little drawn out and repetitive. Overall, was not wild about the story, and would not even classify as a thriller, more so a mystery or puzzle. . . left me wanting more.
Claudio-Marinesco (photo credit)
About the author
With over 60 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last seven consecutive novels, MISSING YOU, SIX YEARS, STAY CLOSE, LIVE WIRE, CAUGHT, LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world.
His books are published in 43 languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in over a dozen countries.
Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – international bestselling author Harlan Coben’s critically-acclaimed novels have been called “ingenious” (New York Times), “poignant and insightful” (Los Angeles Times), “consistently entertaining” (Houston Chronicle), “superb” (Chicago Tribune) and “must reading” (Philadelphia Inquirer).-
Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children. Read More