The Stranger by Harlan Coben

The StrangerThe Stranger by Harlan Coben

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Harlan Coben is pretty far up there in my list of favourite authors and so it pains me a little to admit that I really didn’t like this book, but sadly, that is the case.

What makes a Harlan Coben book a good read in my opinion? The fact that he can think up plots that are outside the normal everyday realm and yet make the reader believe them. He can take something ordinary and make it extraordinary. I didn’t see that with this book, and here’s why I feel that way:

Flimsy plot device in the form of silly power-wielding character who causes evil by trying to prevent it. The “villains” in this book are numerous but ultimately I could not suspend belief long enough with the central villain to believe anyone could or would go to such extremes for such a small benefit. It reminded me of a bad rehashing of every religious-leader-gone-bad-fire-and-brimstone-cult-mentality film or book ever written.

Even the protagonists in this story seemed to be thin on character development. Hello person that we really know nothing about, let us support you.

There are a lot of twists, but without a strong backbone for the story, they became all jumbled together. Around every corner is a surprise of some sort, but none of them were particularly impressive to me as I felt the rest of the story still had no oomph. The main character fell flat for me, his wife we didn’t ever get to know and the reader likely spends half the story thinking she was quite possibly evil incarnate. So…how are you supposed to care what happens to them? Combine that with the list of unimportant characters that keep growing and never being sure why they are doing what they are doing in the first place and I found this book to be a recipe for disaster.

Of course, this is just my personal opinion and others might love it. I encourage you to give it a read and see what you think. The author pulled a lot of punches in this book, but I thought most of them missed the target. I also missed the humour that this author’s books tend to have interspersed throughout the more serious subject matter.

Loved the last couple of books, “Missing you” and “Six Years” were both fantastic, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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9 thoughts on “The Stranger by Harlan Coben

  1. A great, unbiased, objective review. Not something we see enough of. And even justification and reason for your views. Sometimes an author we like may leap for the sky and totally miss the mark. But as you say, reading is subjective and what some may hate, others may like. This is the beauty of reading. We all get something different from a book.

    Liked by 1 person

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