9 February 2017

Review #587: The Innocent by Harlan Coben

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”

----Marcus Aurelius

Harlan Coben, an international bestselling author, has penned a hypnotizing crime thriller, The Innocent in which the author has spun a tale about an ex-con whose after prison life has turned out to be surprisingly good, but unfortunately his dream life threatens to come crashing down when a video featuring his wife is sent to his phone by his wife, and parallely, one murder occurs after another and young cop is trying to connecting the dots of these murders while another teenager tries to dig up the past of her murdered mother and must punish her killers.


The horror of one night is forever etched in Matt Hunter’s memory: the night he innocently tried to break up a fight—and ended up a killer. Now, nine years after his release from prison, his innocence long forgotten, he’s an ex-con who takes nothing for granted. With his wife, Olivia, pregnant and the two of them closing on a house in his home town, things are looking up. Until the day Matt gets a shocking, inexplicable video call from Olivia’s phone. And in an instant, the unraveling begins.
A mysterious man who begins tailing Matt turns up dead. A beloved nun is murdered. And local and federal authorities--including homicide investigator, Loren Muse, a childhood schoolmate of Matt’s with a troubled past of her own-- see all signs pointing to a former criminal with one murder already under his belt: Matt Hunter. Unwilling to lose everything for a second time, Matt and Olivia are forced outside the law in a desperate attempt to save their future together.

An electrifying thrill-ride of a novel that peeks behind the white picket fences of suburbia, THE INNOCENT is at once a twisting, turning, emotionally-charged story, and a compelling tale of the choices we make and the repercussions that never leave us.

Matt Hunter, the most unfortunate man, whose simple idea to save his friend from getting beaten up by some rowdy boys, lands him up in a prison, thereby forcing him to kiss goodbye to his average life and goals. Whereas Matt's post-prison life treats him well, as he lands up a job in his late elder brother's firm and says his marital vows to a wonderful person like Olivia, who eventually becomes pregnant. But all of a sudden, it seems that bad luck won't stop following Matt, when an unpleasant video makes a way to his phone straight from his wife's number, followed by a phone call from the man who claims indecent things about his wife's current whereabouts. Shocked Matt pledges to find the truth as well as the identity of the strange man with the help of a private detective. While on the background, a teenager is looking for her mother's old life, who has been murdered by a cruel man and wants to bring justice to her killer and a female homicide cop with a distasteful past is investigating the murder of a nun with silicon breasts. While Matt, on the other hand, must keep him safe to unravel the brain twisting puzzle that his wife, Olivia laid out for him.

Harlan Coben manages to hit bull's eye with this particular book, where the plot thickens along with the intensity of the mystery, reading which the readers are bound to feel that edgy tension that will grasp them by their minds, souls and hearts. This book is spine chillingly addictive and highly absorbing, and right from the very first page, I was sucked right into the depth of the story line, and could not let myself get out from that rush of this story. The book is a must read for one and all, be the reader a crime thriller fan or not, but one must grab a copy of this book for sure, as the story not only unravels with a mystery but also with the best of human emotions and twists that will leave the readers anxious as well as surprised to their very core till the very end. The chapters end with a complex challenge that will beg the readers to turn the next page and so on.

The author's writing is something, as the author has penned in an arresting manner and it felt like the author knows how to lure his readers into such an engrossing thriller. The narrative is both sentimental and appealing enough to make the readers stick to the pages of this book like a moth stuck on a glowing light bulb. The pacing is extremely fast and the whole story unravels at the speed of some unpredictably wild tornado although it feels deeply satisfying after experiencing Corben's tornado, meaning the book!

There are so many layers and unpredictable twists that come out of nowhere that will make the readers feel like getting slapped real hard right on their face all-of-a-sudden, although that slap feels good and fits perfectly with the mood and the flow of the story line. The author keeps major plot-twisters till the climax that is bound to throw the readers off the edges of their seats. The mystery reads like a roller coaster ride filled with full of anticipative moments and adrenaline rushing scenes. The pace of the revelation of the truth is smooth and will occur gradually through the backstories and only after the readers are well accustomed with the story line.

The characters shine like a gem through their flaws, strength and humanity. The characters are real to their very core and will constantly make the readers comprehend with their demeanor. The main character, Matt is an excellent character, who has flaws yet manages to be a lead an ideal life style despite of the scars in his character certificate. Matt's back story shapes him up into a thoughtful human being and so the readers will easily be able to connect with him. His journey and his investigation will keep the readers rooted till the very end.

In a nutshell, this is an enthralling book with a mystery so well concocted that even the seasoned crime readers can't be able to figure out the major twists and will eventually be left fooled by the innocent characters.

Verdict: One heck of a page turning thriller!

Author Info:
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.
Coben is the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – and he has received an eclectic variety of honors from all over the world. His novel TELL NO ONE has been turned into a hit French film of the same name. His essays and columns have appeared in many top publications.
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.
Visit him here

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