The pleasures of violence, suspense, and local color are here in about equal measure. Not to mention the pungency of...

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HEADBANGER

Dear old dirty Dublin, here through the eyes of a cop who single-handedly—and -mindedly—takes on an entrenched gang of vicious businessmen-hooligans.

Pat Coyne has a pretty and ever-cheerful wife, three kids, and a nice house—but he’s let the Cunningham gang get under his skin to the point where, given his hair-trigger anger, he risks losing everything. The Cunninghams, indeed, are despicable drug dealers, torturers, and murderers, with just enough legal savvy to have gotten away with it for years, all the while keeping up ritzy appearances and even opening up, of late, a nightclub. All hateful enough, but there are other things to feed Pat Coyne’s pent-up rage, readying it to be triggered by the vile Cunninghams. Coyne can’t stand his hypercritical mother-in-law, for example, yet she made the down payment on the house he otherwise wouldn’t have. And his wife, Carmel, has taken up art classes—anathema and affectation to plain-speaking Coyne, who thinks there’s too much art in the world already. Not to mention his deeper source of on-going anger. He may not be highly educated, but he’s a thinker, reads incessantly about nature, and is convinced that ecological doom lurks just around the corner—even though no one will take him seriously. They laugh—just like the Cunningham gang laughs at him, too. It’s enough to send a man over the edge—which is where he goes starting when a hatchet comes through his squad car windshield. Sometime later, and very drunk, he torches Berti Cunningham’s fancy car, a true declaration of war. And after getting suspended from his job (he assaults Carmel’s unbearably effete art instructor), it seems there’s nothing for it but to go after the devils alone.

The pleasures of violence, suspense, and local color are here in about equal measure. Not to mention the pungency of language—“gobshite” abundant—and of course the question of whether Pat Coyne will or won’t survive to enjoy the comforts of domesticity.

Pub Date: May 15, 2001

ISBN: 1-56858-195-5

Page Count: 242

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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Now that Coben’s added politics to his heady brew, expect sex and religion to join the mix.

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THE BOY FROM THE WOODS

Coben’s latest darkest-suburbs thriller sets a decidedly offbeat detective on the trail of a crime with overtones unmistakably redolent of once and future presidential elections.

Wilde is called Wilde because nobody’s known his real name from the moment a pair of hikers found him foraging for himself in Ramapo Mountain State Forest 24 years ago. Now over 40, he’s had experience as both a lost boy and a private investigator. That makes him an obvious person to help when his godson, Sweet Water High School student Matthew Crimstein, expresses concern to his grandmother, attorney Hester Crimstein, that his bullied classmate Naomi Pine has gone missing. Matthew doesn’t really want anyone to help. He doesn’t even want anyone to notice his agitation. But Hester, taking the time from her criminal defense of financial consultant Simon Greene (Run Away, 2019) to worm the details out of him, asks Wilde to lend a hand, and sure enough, Wilde, unearthing an unsavory backstory that links Naomi to bullying classmate Crash Maynard, whose TV producer father, Dash Maynard, is close friends with reality TV star–turned–presidential hopeful Rusty Eggers, finds Naomi hale and hearty. Everything’s hunky-dory for one week, and then she disappears again. And this time, so does Crash after a brief visit to Matthew in which he tearfully confesses his guilt about the bad stuff he did to Naomi. This second disappearance veers into more obviously criminal territory with the arrival of a ransom note that demands, not money, but the allegedly incriminating videotapes of Rusty Eggers that Dash and Delia Maynard have had squirreled away for 30 years. The tapes link Rusty to a forgotten and forgettable homicide and add a paranoid new ripped-from-the-headlines dimension to the author’s formidable range. Readers who can tune out all the subplots will find the kidnappers easy to spot, but Coben finds room for three climactic surprises, one of them a honey.

Now that Coben’s added politics to his heady brew, expect sex and religion to join the mix.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4814-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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