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One False Move

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

ONE FALSE MOVE, Harlan Coben’s fifth mystery novel featuring former basketball player Myron Bolitar who has become a big-time sports agent and sometime private eye, marks the author’s hardcover debut. Since previous Coben paperback originals won Anthony, Edgar, and Shamus awards, this move upward into the mainstream of publishing was anticipated.

Bolitar’s latest case begins when he agrees to look after star professional basketball player Brenda Slaughter—whose life may be in danger—because he hopes thereby to become her agent. In the event, being her bodyguard becomes more than he bargained for, when he starts looking for her parents and into other aspects of the girl’s past. The job lasts just two weeks, but he tracks people and events spanning decades. Brenda’s parents, one missing for twenty years and the other more recently disappeared, and aunt—the family’s putative font of stability—become key figures in Bolitar’s investigation, which includes a confrontation with mobsters and a climax involving one of New Jersey’s leading...

(The entire section is 339 words.)