Harlan Coben - A Biography
An award winning author of mystery and thriller novels, Harlan Coben, a New York Times Best Seller list author, turned to writing while in his senior year at Amherst College where he studied political science. In a surprising act of deference, his first novel, Play Dead, carried an awkwardly apologetic warnings against the inexperience displayed in his writing and plot development. His breakthrough came when he initiated his Myron Bolitar series, stories about an athlete turned sports agent who repeatedly has to help investigate murders involving his various clients. After retiring Myron Bolitar, Coben initiated a Young Adult mystery series featuring Mickey Bolitar, nephew of Myron.
Harlan Coben (1962) was born to a Jewish mother and father in Newark, New Jersey. He attended Livingston High School, then matriculated to Amherst College where he was a friend of Dan Brown of Da Vinci Code fame and a member of Psi Upsilon. Before his breakout success as a mystery and thriller writer, Coben worked for his grandfather in the family travel agency.
After the success of his early Myron Bolitar series, Coben went on to achieve more remarkable successes. He is the first winner of all three coveted literary awards: the Edgar Award, the Shamus Award and the Anthony Award. His novel Tell No One, a New York Times best seller, has been made into an award winning French film. He has had his latest seven consecutive novels on the New York Times Best Seller list. His novels are published in 43 languages. In 2003 The New York Times broke precedence by asking him to write a short story for the op-ed page; in honor of Fathers Day, he wrote "The Key to My Father."
Back Spin - A Summary
One of the mysteries of Harlan Coben's famous Myron Bolitar series, the kidnapping of Jack and Linda Coldren's teenage son sends Bolitar twenty-three years into the past and into an explosive murder. As newly enlisted sports agent to Linda and Jack Coldren, Bolitar is called upon to help solve, first, the kidnapping and, second, the murder that ensues.
[Jack] Coldren had been the surprise leader after the U.S. Open's first day, and now, ... was up by a a commanding eight strokes. ... Linda Coldren was Jack's wife and far and away the top female golfer of the past decade."
Myron Bolitar runs MB SportsReps, Park Avenue, New York City. The man approaching him at the U.S. Golf Open, held at the exclusive Merion golf club, says he is Linda's father and that, if Myron will help them find their kidnapped son Chad, he will have both Linda and Jack as new clients with his sports agency.
The kidnappers call saying that if Jack Coldren does not throw the tournament and lose, they will kill Chad. Myron suspects that ill family will has led Chad to fake his own kidnapping to punish and extort his parents. Once it is discovered, however, that one of the kidnappers is a neo-Nazi, events take on different light.
While sifting through possible suspects, events become sinister when Chad's severed fingered is delivered to his parents; when the neo-Nazi is found dead; and when Jack himself is found dead. Chad's sudden release adds to the mystery. Then Myron discovers Linda murdered her husband Jack because he refused the kidnappers' demand to lose the tournament, even at the threat of Chad's life.
After a trek through twenty-three years of past events, Myron discovers that Esme orchestrated Chad's kidnapping to make sure Jack lost the U.S. Open. In the end, Myron realizes that he is bound to confidentiality and that Linda will probably never be found out as Jack's murderer.