The Innocent
Harlan Coben
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The Innocent
Harlan Coben
528 pages
April 2006
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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From his early Myron Bolitar novels to his current thrillers, Harlan Coben has made a name for himself with his tightly plotted, exciting mysteries that are the epitome of the term ďpage turner.Ē Cobenís newest novel, The Innocent, does not stray from this winning formula.

Matt Hunterís life was irrevocably changed when he attended a fraternity party in college and accidentally killed a man during a fight. After spending four years in prison, Matt is no longer the same person. All the joy has gone out of his lifeóuntil he meets Olivia. Olivia and Matt had met years earlier in Las Vegas but never stayed in touch until Matt looked her up after getting out of prison. When they meet again, the two instantly form a connection and are soon married. When they become pregnant, neither of them could be happier. Then Matt gets a picture sent to him on his cell phone. It shows his wife in a seemingly compromising position with another man. This one picture starts a whirlwind of chaos that will tear Mattís life apart and make him reevaluate everything he ever knew about his wife.

This is a very short plot synopsis that does not even begin to go into the many twists and turns that make up The Innocent. Revealing more, however, will lessen the enjoyment as the reader discovers something new in every chapter. Coben is a master when it comes to plots - theyíre innovative, jaw-dropping and original. I have not yet read a Coben novel that has not kept me up past my bedtime, desperately wanting to learn just one more secret.

Unfortunately, Cobenís character development is not as strong as his plots, but this is easily forgivable as itís difficult to get to know any character in the short time frame that Cobenís novels usually encompass. Matt and his wife do invoke some sympathy and come across as good, decent people, but they never really sparkle with life. Itís not a big issue, though, as Cobenís plots are more than enough reason to pick up any of his thrillers. If youíre in the mood for a stay-up-all-night mystery that will leave you in awe of the authorís plotting ability, The Innocent is the book for you.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Angela McQuay, 2005

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