Sunday, April 25, 2010

Checking the List: Harlan Coben, CAUGHT

I love discovering great new authors of crime fiction and mystery, and that includes noticing the ones just starting out and getting better in leaps and bounds. There are authors who've been around longer, though, and who make my "must read" list as soon as a new book comes out -- like Michael Connelly, Laurie R. King, Garry Disher, Martin Limón, Charles Todd. Sure, some of their books won't suit my taste, but most have, in some way. Newly added to the list for me: Walter Mosley, Karin Fossum, John Harvey. Others I know I'll catch up with, like S. J. Rozan -- I just enjoyed finally getting to her Shanghai Moon, although I happened to read it in the British trade paperback form, which uses the title Trail of Blood. (Honestly, I liked the American title better on this one; it's a good Lydia Chin Chinatown detective novel. Collectors will also want it in their Judaica/Holocaust sections.)

Typing up the New York Times popular mysteries list the other day pushed me to get around to the new Harlan Coben, CAUGHT. Odds are always in favor of Coben's work being first-rate. And this one, his seventeenth novel, takes the world of catch-them-at-it television, and pairs it with the two-way life ruins surrounding sexual predation (it sometimes seems close to impossible to protect our kids; it's also close to impossible to protect the innocent from innuendo, or to make sense out of sentencing regulations). The ensuing plot is so swiftly tangled that sometimes TV reporter Wendy Tynes isn't sure whether she's a good person or a bad one. Funny thing is, her co-workers aren't sure, either.

I couldn't put it down. Each time I thought I had the threads sorted out, bang, another door would slam open or shut. Check the red door on the cover -- highly significant. It's a great read, and Coben again earns his place on the popular list. Warning: If you have teens at home, you might want to wait a few years before you let this one into your brain.

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