Run Awayby Harlan Coben Published 19 3 2019
|Publisher||Grand Central Publishing|
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A perfect family is shattered in RUN AWAY, the new thriller from the master of domestic suspense, Harlan Coben.
You've lost your daughter.
She's addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she's made it clear that she doesn't want to be found.
Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she's not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble.
You don't stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.
And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on.
"Run Away" Reviews
“Question: Would you kill someone? Answer: No, of course not. Question: Would you kill someone to save your child? Answer…?”
Coben really knows how to balance thrills and character dynamics. I found it hard to put Run Away down.
Chelsea wrote a great review for this book. I think this is a story that will cut to the core of readers with kids. I found myself sympathizing so much with Simon Greene as he hunts for his missing daughter. His pain and fear felt so real, so visceral, that I was on the edge of my seat. It is a book that really affected me on an emotional level, as well as providing all the exciting thrills I seek out in this genre.
If you're new to Coben's work, I should point out that he's more of a traditional thriller writer. By this I mean he favours high-octane, high-stakes plots, as opposed to the quieter domestic thrillers that have become popular in recent years. I'm telling you this because I have seen a few comments about the plot being "unrealistic", and it definitely is more Die Hard than The Girl on the Train.
That being said, the relationships between the main players in this book made the story so tense and compelling for me. I cared so much about the characters. In this book, Simon Greene's daughter, Paige, is lost. At first, she is lost to drugs and a relationship that he suspects is abusive; then, later, her boyfriend is found dead and she is simply missing. Nowhere to be found. Did she kill her boyfriend and run? Or is the person responsible looking for Paige, now, too?
The plot thickens at every step. Simon discovers new bizarre threads of the mystery, snaking across the country and, perhaps, leading back many years to an old secret. I found myself questioning everyone. The more Simon uncovers, the more questions arise. Does his daughter have a dark secret? Did her boyfriend? Does his wife? I love how Coben hides all his clues in plain sight.
I also really enjoyed the nod to a current trend that is gaining popularity by the minute, and how this could easily be abused. I had wondered when an author was going to tap into concerns and fears surrounding this issue, and Coben does not go easy on us.
I don't know about you, but I found this extremely entertaining. Fast-paced, dramatic, with a side order of WTF.
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Simon's eyes stayed locked on the panhandling girl mangling John Lennon's legacy. Her hair was matted clumps. Her cheekbones were sunken. The girl was rail-thin, raggedy, dirty, damaged, homeless, lost. She was also Simon's daughter Paige."
Over the years, I've found myself moved on a deeply emotional level when I read stories about parents trying to save their wayward children. This is likely due to the fact I'm now a parent myself, and even though my kids are still young and dependent upon me for most everything, I still find myself getting lost in the "what ifs" that come with having another person's life being your responsibility. As children grow and become young adults themselves, at what age is the line drawn where they become dependent on themselves and cut out the middle man? And at what point, as a parent, are we supposed to step back and let our kids make their own mistakes vs. roaming the ends of the earth to save them from life-altering mishaps? These are some of the debates that Coben tackles in his latest thriller.
Don't get me wrong; when I use the term emotional I do not belittle the fact that Run Away is simultaneously a compulsive page turner and a rip-roaring adventure that delves deep in the underbelly of every form of seedy activity you can imagine going on in New York City. Due to Simon and his loved ones being a privileged white family living a more than comfortable life, it was interesting to see how the author picked apart the details of their privilege and how, at the end of the day, it did nothing to protect them from the nightmare they endured. Simon works as a financial advisor on Wall Street and his wife is a pediatrician in NYC as well, and their children grew up sheltered within that cocoon of wealth and providence.
As an avid reader of thrillers and mysteries, we all know it grows more and more difficult to find novels that keep us guessing and entertained for roughly 300-500 pages. The beauty of Coben's books, and what I think a significant number of debuts lack, is the simple aspect of writing characters who come alive off the page and matter to the reader. Once again, Run Away focuses more on drawing the reader in by becoming the conduit to connect reader to cast which results in a memorable read, much more memorable than putting all the proverbial eggs into the "wild, unimaginable twist". Don't get me wrong, there were a few good twists here, and one that I was so blindsided by that I had to reread a certain page THREE TIMES to make sure I was understanding correctly, but the details that have kept me picking up Harlan Coben novels for over a decade now are the deeply personal characters.
And this, my friends, is why Harlan Coben remains KING of the thriller.
*I received a review copy via the publisher.
Wow. Wow. Wow! Harlan Coben, where have you been all of my life!?
“Murder was simple if you kept it simple.”
Run Away has all of the elements that I look for in a thriller: action, intrigue, danger, secrets and lies, twists and turns. It’s well-written, intricately plotted and kept me on my toes! Furthermore, there’s a creepy cult, quirky characters, and commentary on popular culture! Yes, it’s a little over the top, but who cares, because it works!
This is a must read for thriller fans!
Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Simon Greene and his wife Ingrid live a somewhat privileged middle class life, together with their 3 children Sam, Anya and Paige. The kids have had everything that wealth could throw at them, but while mum and dad were busy living their perfect lives, Paige has taken a wrong turning on life’s journey, and has fallen into a world of drugs, dealers, criminals and an abusive boyfriend. It’s a dark and dangerous world hidden from the circles which the Greene’s inhabit, but Simon and Ingrid are about to clash head on with a particularly vicious cast of characters, when Paige disappears, and it’s clear that she doesn’t want to be found.
This is Harlan Coben at his best - the master at work. The slick and entertaining narrative exposes family secrets of enormous proportions, and makes one question how much we really know those closest to us. Right from page one the action begins, with New York’s Central Park setting the scene. And it’s here that Simon discovers Paige busking, but she’s not in a good place, frail to the point of skeletal, she’s just a shadow of her former self. A fight ensues between Simon and Paige’s drug dealer boyfriend, after which Paige disappears again. Shortly afterward her boyfriend is found dead in what appears to be a particularly frenzied and bloody attack, but with both Simon and Paige under suspicion who really did it? In addition to the main storyline, there’s a sub plot that not only adds enormous interest, fear and tension, but produces a shocking conclusion.
The situation regarding Paige’s addiction mimic reality, with scenarios that will be played out in many ordinary homes across the world - the sheer desperation of parents who will do anything to get their child back from the clutches of drug addiction and the deviant world that comes with the territory, but for Simon and Ingrid it takes them head on into that territory into a terrifying world they’ve only ever seen in the movies.
Harlan Coben is renowned for his twisty plots, and it’s what contributes to his reputation as a master of his trade - So not unnaturally there were twists galore as we’ve come to expect, but just when I thought I was all twisted out, Coben does it again and pulls the mother of all twists!
*Thank you to Netgalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for my ARC. I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange*
4.25 Stars (rounded down).
A Fast-Paced Thrill Ride with Lots of Heart.
Harlan Coben knows how to to get my attention in order to bring me into a story. He uses heart and humor and he writes with real human emotion. In addition, he always makes the characters authentic and makes me feel as if I am right there with him. The best part for me is that he includes recurring characters in each of his stories, and that make my heart sing and yeah, it makes my eyes fill with these little things called tears. Just call me a sap why don’t you? What can I say, I just love these guys and gals.
I’ve now read every novel Harlan Coben has ever written, and while the Myron Bolitar series is my favorite, some of his standalones rank pretty high (with his last one “Don’t Let Go” being my favorite so far (perhaps because Detective Nap Dumas reminds me of Myron.. lol)).
In his latest “Run Away” we discover Simon searching for his daughter Paige. He and Paige were always so close - she was the perfect daughter and then well, you know: drugs, crime, the whole gamut. Simon is beside himself, he searches for her everywhere and then finds her in Central Park and when he chases after her, she disappears into thin air.
Simon becomes a desperate man, stopping at nothing to save his child and his family and the cost is higher than he ever imagined.
“Run Away” begs the question: What would you do if your child or your loved one was lost to you? How far would you go? Saving yourself sure. Harming others? There’s no telling, right? Raw human emotion is felt throughout this novel. Harlan Coben always brings it out in his characters and here is no different. You can’t help but want to tear your hair out one minute and cry your darn eyes out the next.
Parts of this novel was crazy, thrilling and completely insane. Insert heart in throat, kind of insane. There was a part this novel that reminded me of Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep” - if you’ve read that, you know what I’m talking about. Chilling.
On a surprising note, for the first time in my life while reading a Harlan Coben, I guessed almost the entire ending (insert shock and awe)! Kaceey would call that being an “Armchair Detective.” (Note she guessed some good stuff too (it wasn’t just me)). Though I got it, it was still full of lots of twists and turns and I loved every darn minute.
Now, I’ll be eagerly awaiting his next novel (fingers crossed it’s a Myron and Win novel, I need my Win fix desperately!).
This was a buddy read with Kaceey of course! Kaceey, I love our buddy reads, I think you know that. So glad we both love Harlan Coben so much! Can’t wait for our next one.
Thank you Harlan Coben for continuing to keep me entertained and thank you to Amazon for my copy (I know, I know.. I shouldn’t be thanking you.. you’re thanking me for being a loyal customer, LOLOL).
Published on Goodreads, Amazon and Twitter on 3.24.19.
Excerpt published on Insta.
I hadn’t read a Coben novel in years and when I saw this latest release getting great reviews I thought it was time to read him again. Per usual, it was gripping, fast moving, great characters and lots of heart!