Years after a mauled knee ended his basketball career in his first preseason game, sports agent Myron Bolitar is still taking body blows. The latest is the news that he has a son by Emily Downing, the college sweetheart whose wedding to rival hoopster Greg Downing he celebrated perhaps too vigorously with her the night before. Emily’s kept her secret for 13 years, but now that Jeremy’s been diagnosed with life-threatening Fanconi anemia, she begs his help in locating a bone-marrow donor who’d be a perfect match for their son if only he hadn’t vanished. And it gets worse. Myron’s search for the missing donor swiftly drags him into the nightmare world of a serial kidnapper whose whispered phone mantra to his victims’ loved ones—“Sow the seeds”—has been spreading terror for years; to the reporter whose exclusive stories on the kidnapper sent his career soaring before wrecking it and killing his girlfriend; and to the obscenely wealthy Lex family, whose members aren’t shy about using their money to destroy anyone who crosses their path—anyone like Myron, for instance. As the complications deepen, the oppressively playful badinage of the opening chapters falls away, revealing Coben (The Final Detail, 1999, etc.) once again as one of the most inventive plotters in the business—until he tries one spin too many with an epilogue that’s too twisty, too sentimental, and way too long.
Even so, Myron runs rings around most of the tough-guy competition in the amateur division, like a class clown who’s much more than just a funny face.