The Innocent (Magill Book Reviews)
The “Innocent” of Harlan Coben's title is Matt Hunter, an ordinary young man from New Jersey with a not so ordinary past. As a college student, Matt tried to break up a fight but ended up killing someone instead. Now an ex-con working as a paralegal, Matt believes that his luck has changed. He has reconnected with Olivia, a beautiful woman he knew in better times. The couple are expecting a baby and they are planning a dream home. But when Matt receives compromising pictures of Olivia and a strange man on his camera phone, his plans and what is left of his innocence disintegrate.
Along with Robert Ferrigno, Harlan Coben has emerged as a modern master of noir, the dark (literally “black”) genre in which violence, fate, and character—make that flawed character—intertwine. On one level Coben's convoluted plots are highly implausible, but on a deeper level they are the stuff of nightmare—irrational, arbitrary, and unrelenting. Coben plunges his readers directly into this nightmare, interweaving a handful of seemingly unrelated storylines that ultimately converge in a dramatic and violent conclusion. One involves Matt himself, another the murder of a nun who turns out to have breast implants, a third a desperate and underage girl from a foster home in Idaho. Most stretch back to what happened years ago at a Nevada strip club ingloriously named the Eager Beaver. Also involved are two bent FBI agents and a policewoman mourning the father...
(The entire section is 289 words.)
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