A Manhattan money manager who once had it all is threatened with losing most of it in Coben’s latest greased-lightning domestic thriller.
Things haven’t been that great for Simon Greene ever since his daughter, Paige, dropped out of college and disappeared. But his world turns much darker the day that, following a tip, he sees her playing guitar in Central Park and tries to talk to her. Paige, clearly strung out on drugs, takes off, and the closest Simon comes to catching her is punching her companion, junkie Aaron Corval, in the face. His attack, captured on the phone videos of passers-by, goes viral, and he’s rebuked by millions of strangers. Three months later, Bronx Homicide Detective Isaac Fagbenle turns up in Simon’s office asking questions about the murder of Aaron, who vanished instead of sticking around to press charges. Simon and his pediatrician wife, Ingrid, go to visit the crime scene in the hope of picking up Paige’s trail, and moments after one of Aaron’s scuzzball neighbors warns them, “Even if you find her, this story won’t have a happy ending,” bullets fly, sending Ingrid to the hospital in a coma. Meanwhile, Chicago PI Elena Ramirez is hired to find the missing adopted son of wealthy Sebastian Thorpe III, and a mysterious pair named Ash and Dee Dee are executing a laid-off meat packer in Boston and a tattoo artist in suburban New Jersey. Clearly all this mayhem is somehow connected, and readers spoiled by Coben’s long history of triple-barreled thrillers (Don’t Let Go, 2017, etc.) will be turning the pages with bated breath. But the broadly hinted connection, a Maine religious commune to which Dee Dee professes undying loyalty, is more cartoonish than compelling, and the alternating chapters recounting the investigations of Simon and Elena dilute the suspense instead of intensifying it. By the time the double-twist payoff arrives, fans will be torn between dissatisfaction and relief.
In seeking to extend his formidable range, Coben overreaches: the far-flung complications feel forced and schematic rather than nightmarish. Wait till next year.