Thanks to NetGalley and Dutton for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: September 26th, 2017
Synopsis: Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year in high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, for both Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks like he may finally find what he’s been looking for.
When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only lead to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared to imagine.
I’m a huge fan of Harlan Coben and I’ve reviewed a few of his standalone novels. After finishing Don’t Let Go last night, I can honestly say it’s his best story yet!
Coben starts by relating in his Author’s Note, what inspired him to write this. During the Cold War, there were hundreds of Nike missile sites scattered all over the U.S. These were ostensibly created to shoot down any bombers that Russia may send our way. Many of these bases were located in or near major population centers including the town in New Jersey where Coben grew up and my own town in MA. Naturally these places were magnets for the child and teen residents of the towns. My husband recalls being confronted by an armed soldier when he and a friend got a little too close to the perimeter. Thankfully these sites were all closed by the mid-1970s, especially in light that some of these missiles were tipped with nuclear warheads! So, there’s my brief history lesson, now for the actual review.
Building upon his hometown legend, the book is centered around all the secrets and lies surrounding the deaths of the main character, Nap’s twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana, 15 years ago. While the rest of the town has accepted that this was either a suicide pact, or a tragic accident, Nap has never attained closure, partly because of his belief that the tragedy is tied to to the mysterious disappearance of his own girlfriend, Maura which happened about the same time. Now, a police detective, Nap is determined to uncover the truth, when a former classmate and friend is found murdered, and Maura’s fingerprints turn up at the scene.
Without a doubt, Nap is one of my favorite characters that Coben has created and that includes Myron Bolitar (who makes a brief appearance) from that popular series. His past, his continuing love for Leo—with who he converses with in his mind, and his stubborn determination to solve this mystery even when others, including friends, seek to discourage him, makes him a likable and relatable character. Like all of the characters that make up this tale, he’s flawed, yet he’s someone you’d not only want in your corner, but also as a friend in real life.
The plot itself takes off immediately from the first page. It’s full menacing and suspenseful, and of red herrings and other surprises, which had me second-guessing myself right up until the satisfying conclusion. While Nap’s quest for the truth is a dark and dangerous one, his sarcastic sense of humor had me laughing more than once.
I think I’ve said this before, but if you haven’t tried Harlan Coben and you’re a fan of suspense/thrillers, you’re missing out! If you don’t want to commit to a series, his standalones are exciting and entertaining, and Don’t Let Go is a great place to start. I guarantee that once you’ve picked it up, you won’t be able to tear yourself away!