(Review originally posted on my website: UnintentionallyBrilliant
I received Live Wire, by Harlan Coben, in a giveaway hosted by the Dutton Books Twitter account. At the time I didn't really pay much attention to the summary of the book, I just scanned it quickly so I'd be able to answer whatever the Monday Giveaway question was.
And I won!
I was so excited. But not enough to go back and actually read the summary of the book I was going to receive. And then, once I received it, it kind of sat on the shelf for a while. It's a big clunky hardcover (I prefer trade paperbacks), so it didn't fit nicely in my purse. Plus, I was in the middle of reading about four books.
So just a little while ago, I finally picked it up off my to-read shelf (yes, I have a specific shelf in my house for the books I own but have yet to read) and started to read. The first thing that caught my attention was the long list of books in the "Also By" list inside the book. Holy cow! This guy has written a ton of books. How do I not recognize his name? Yeah. That's what I thought. Because, apparently, I know the name of every author in the universe, as long as he or she has written more than two books. Or something.
So, as I'm reading Live Wire, I get the feeling that I should know certain things/events/people that are being mentioned. I check out the book online and, sure enough, this is the tenth in a series of books starring Myron Bolitar.
I feel I should mention this fact, that this is the first of the series I've read, so that you completely understand that I went into this book not knowing any of the background of Myron. And the truth is, it doesn't even really matter. Sure, there are certain things/events/people that are mentioned, but I don't feel that reading the previous books makes any difference in following the story. And that, to me, is something that really matters in a series. I believe that each book should be able to stand on its own. And Live Wire can stand on its own.
The quick summary of the book is that Myron Bolitar is an agent who is contacted by a former tennis star (Suzze T) to look into a post on her Facebook page. See, Suzze is 8 months pregnant and some lovely person decided to post a cryptic "NOT HIS" on a photo of her sonogram. Suzze, never doubting the paternity of her child, is worried about her rock-star husband reacting to this post. Said rock-star hubby has also gone missing, so Suzze asks Myron to also track him down.
This is probably the only point where it would've been nice to know Myron's background. As Suzze's former sports agent, I couldn't understand why she would ask him to get all private-investigator for her. But I'm assuming this has happened before. Myron, along with his partner Win (Windsor Horne Lockwood III...and he's as rich as his name sounds), has played the part of an amateur private investigator before. Probably at least 9 other times.
The story gets a lot more complicated after Myron finds out who posted "NOT HIS" on the sonogram photo, and once he finds out where Suzze's rock-star husband has disappeared to. There's quite a few twists and turns, and the plot grows thick with suspense. Because the story isn't really about the Facebook post. It gets so much more complicated, that I was afraid I was starting to lose track of what was going on. But Coben did a nice job summarizing and tying everything up in a nice little package by the end.
I really enjoyed the story; I always love a good thriller and Coben did a nice job with chapter-cliffhangers that encourage the reader to finish the book in one sitting (unfortunately, since I had a hard time finding time to read, I had to read it in 3 or 4 sittings). The plot was intriguing, and the characters well-rounded and enticing. That being said, I am not a fan of Coben's style of writing. I felt that Coben has a tendency to state things in an obvious sort of way, telling the reader what is happening or what a character is thinking, rather than showing. Since this is the first of his works I've read, I'm not sure if this is typical of his style of writing. See, I've seen this sort of thing happen before in a book series. The first couple of books are really great, just fantastic, and then they start to get a little more wooden. I am really left to wonder if this is because the continuation of a series is not always the idea of the author. Maybe sometimes authors feel more forced to continue a series, or to force out a book per year or something, and so later books in the series are not given the same love and attention as the earlier ones.
This is all speculative. I've never had a book published, much less an entire series. I don't know what it would be like. And maybe Coben's writing is always like this. I'm interested to read a few from the beginning of the series, for comparison purposes. Although, for now, that will just have to be something for the future. That shelf of books to read is getting very full and my Goodreads to-read list is constantly being added to. So we shall see.
Live Wire, as I stated, is the 10th in the Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben. You can find out more about Coben and his works by visiting The Official Harlan Coben website, which includes a book trailer for Live Wire, as well as a sample chapter from Coben's upcoming young adult novel featuring a character who was introduced in this novel. Warning: The sample chapter includes spoilers for Live Wire, so don't read it if you haven't read Live Wire.
***Disclosure: I won a copy of this book in a giveaway from Dutton Books. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own***