Review: Six Years by Harlan Coben

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (March 19, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0525953485
  • Source: Publisher

Six years ago, Jake Fisher watched his soul-mate, Natalie, marry another man. At her wedding, Natalie made Jake promise never to contact her or her new husband, Todd, again. Jake is so in love with Natalie that he makes this promise.  Six years later, Todd’s murder makes that nearly impossible. Jake, now a college professor,  begins to look into Todd’s murder, discovering that he wasn’t, in fact, married to Natalie but to someone else, giving another woman two children. Soon, Jake’s life and the past six years begin to unravel, people from his and Natalie’s past refusing to acknowledge that they knew him. Jake’s search for Natalie intensifies, unveiling deadly secrets that go back decades. His involvement puts his life, and Natalie’s, at risk from people who have connections that are both illegal and quite deadly.

In Six Years, Coben creates an incredibly intense and well-crafted thriller. The intrigue and fast pacing of the storyline begin within the first several pages, culminating into an incredibly dramatic ending. Coben is incredibly skilled at creating a complex thriller that unveils subplots and story-lines as the reader combs through the pages. The secrets he reveals are well-paced, only providing readers with just enough to keep their attention throughout the novel, providing multi-layered twists and turns that at first seem completely implausible but all build up and connect at the end.

As with his previous novels, Coben takes a seemingly ordinary bordering on boring, character and puts him in the most imaginative of circumstances. The story is told by the point of view of Jake, so readers are given a tremendous amount of information about his character. We not only witness life through his eyes, but also experience his emotions and experiences. The reader is provided with clues and answers as they are revealed to Jake, adding to the overall intensity of this thriller. Jake is a man still healing from losing the love of his life to another man, still reeling from the pain and devastation that brought him. This fuels his passion in his search for Natalie and revealing a well-executed plan that provides a new life to those individuals involved in high risk, deadly situations.

Coben also creates a pretty unique and well-rounded set of secondary characters. His humor shines through in Jake’s interaction with these individuals, adding a bit of snark and hilarity to the mix. While elements of the plot are similar to his other books (namely a relatively normal individual receives some sort of communication that reveals devastating secrets about the woman he loves), long-time fans of Coben’s work will still be rewarded with this truly dynamic thriller. Highly recommended!

*Update: Actor Hugh Jackman will play the role of Jake in the movie adaptation of Six Years. *Swoons*

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