Just One Look
Harlan Coben
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Buy *Just One Look* online

Just One Look
Harlan Coben
400 pages
April 2005
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Very few authors can keep you turning pages late into the night, desperate to know what happens to their characters and trying to unravel their plots. Harlan Coben just happens to be one of those authors. His previous books, including the "Myron Bolitar" series, have always had the heart-stopping plots, but thereís always been something just a tiny bit off about them. Maybe it was the characters; I was never too fond of Myron, and Cobenís books not featuring this character seemed to feature one that was just like him. However, his newest book, Just One Look, goes in a different direction by featuring a woman as the main character. Pair this with the same gripping plot and pages that seem to fly by, and Just One Look rates as Cobenís best book yet.

Cobenís new novel focuses on Grace Lawson, a married woman with two small children who is very happy with her life, despite the fact that she still has a limp and nightmares stemming from the concert she attended fifteen years prior. The concert, now known as The Boston Massacre, turned into one of the biggest riots in history, nearly crushing Grace to death. Now that she has a family and a successful career as an artist, she thinks the drama in her life is over. Sheís wrong. After picking up her developed photos one day, she finds a strange picture inserted into her pack. The picture is over a decade old and features four peopleóone of whom looks like her husband.

When Grace returns home, she shows the picture to her husband. He denies that the photo is of him, then takes off in his car and doesnít return. When he isnít home by that morning, she calls the police and embarks on a desperate attempt to find her husband, save her children from the threats that begin arriving and trying to figure out how her past may have led to her tragic situation.

Itís rare that you find a book that has such a convoluted, twisted plot yet is not confusing in any way. Coben has a talent for pulling his readers into his characterís drama and never letting go until the last page is turned. The pace is relentless, the clues many. And, in this case, the character of Grace is a good one. Sheís a strong, brave mother and wife who is completely believable and sympathetic. However, Cobenís books have never been about the characters, theyíve been about the storyóand this story is a doozy. If you havenít picked up a Coben book, I urge you to do so now with Just One Look. Then I dare you to try putting it down.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Angela McQuay, 2004

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