March 26, 2012

Coben's voice

I'm reading Harlan Coben's latest, Stay Close, at the moment. I'll write more on it later, but I'm fascinated by how he draws you in.

Unless they're part of his ongoing Myron Bolitar series, Coben's books frequently feature 'ordinary' people caught up in extraordinary events. Of course this was Hitchcock's trick, so it's nothing new, but Coben does manage to capture the everyday-ness of life, especially for a particular kind of middle-class, middle-wage, middle-age American. You get the impression that Coben has been there himself - hell, he's probably still there.

But then something out-of-the-ordinary happens to his characters - someone goes missing, or the lead character discovers something that they never knew, or they're attacked for some reason that they can't understand ... Coben's uber-conversational style (he often addresses the reader directly) makes you feel the oddness of the situation and the panic it induces in his ordinary-joe characters.

Seventy pages in and I'm already rooting for the three main characters as they try to figure out what's going on in their various lives. That's quicker than Dan Brown managed ever, as far as I was concerned.

No comments:

Post a Comment