Stay Close by Harlan Coben

Mike’s review

I’m house/dog-sitting in a city in which I do not have a library card. The hosts’ book selection is limited. (I told the hosts’ daughter this predicament and she said, “Did you read a James Patterson book?” and I said, “Basically.”) One is a detective novel wherein one character’s last name is Sherlock, one uses the phrase, “Army fighting legend” (what does that even mean? MacArthur would be pretty close to an Army legend, but didn’t do much fighting. The fighters (no one calls soldiers that) aren’t legendary) on the jacket and this tale of the dark side of the American Dream (as it’s presented on the jacket, including a picket fence with one broken slat, yeesh, but that’s not really accurate. It’s more of a seedy underbelly of Atlantic City tale, but the marketers played up the American Dream Suburban Housewife angle to sell books). This won because it’s the least objectionable and because the author is bald so I feel like I can trust he has emotions.

But most importantly, Coben puts people’s names in his books if they donate to charity, which is pretty badass.

I was skeptical, but paparazzi-for-hire is a clever concept (is this real? I think if I google this, it will be a low point in my life so I refuse to do so) and I’m hooked now, only a few pages in.

Printed March 2012. Look at me, a part of popular culture!

Set a goal to read this all the way through today because I should leave it here when I go and because it seemed appropriate for the material, but I actually want to finish.

If familiar with the tropes, the killer’s identity is probably pretty easily to spot, huh? But then again, when has there ever been a female serial killer?

Why the fuck is it called Stay Close? Those words are never together in the book and it’s not like there’s someone nabbing lone people or children who wander off from their parents or something.

Enjoyable, fun, forgettable. There was another clever concept besides paparazzi-for-hire and I haven’t a clue what that is anymore. I can’t think of a single reason why A Wild Sheep Chase feels more substantial, but it does. Is this my own prejudice? In fact, I had actual problems with A Wild Sheep Chase, which I cannot say about this. They’re both detective stories at heart. Murakami never really develops his other-worldly metaphysical things in Sheep. I think I should have valued this more than Sheep. And while I’m willing to admit I enjoyed reading this more than Sheep, I can’t say that this has more value. Here’s where I try to justify that: Murakami used Sheep as a stepping stone to Kafka, which was phenomenal.


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