Jerry's Reviews > Play Dead

Play Dead by Harlan Coben
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Jun 04, 12

Read from May 25 to June 03, 2012

This is the first of two novels Coben has recently re-published from the early 90’s: this one and “Miracle Cure”. While he somewhat disavowed the quality of these early novels in a similar foreword to each, we found “Dead” a somewhat acceptable thriller, with an extremely complicated plot. Like “Cure”, it features a professional basketball player in the story, perhaps the precursor to the Myron Bolitar character in that successful Coben series…

When ex-supermodel Laura and pro hoops star David elope to Australia to get married, he dies in a drowning incident while she’s off conducting a little business. Or did he, as the novel’s title leaves us to wonder? Or was he really murdered? If we have a complaint about this tale, it’s that we readers are in the dark for a long time about the several inter-personal mysteries posed by the helper friend-cop “TC”, the mother (Mary), the father (James), the aunt (Judy), the best girlfriend Serita, the ne’er-do-well brother Stan, the glamorous but odd sister Gloria, etc. etc. That it took over 550 pages to sort all this out is almost no wonder, trying our patience in the process! We suspect that with this first effort Coben was anxious to display talents at crafting an intriguing, multi-layered plot; and indeed, while he has generated a modicum of suspense, we felt strung-out for a long time ere events culminate. Like the author himself opined, fans won’t want to skip this, but newcomers to Coben might better start elsewhere.
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