There is a truism involved in reading any of Harlan Coben’s books. I have found it so over the years that I have had the pleasure of reading them. And that is one has to begin to read his latest novel early on an otherwise free day. And that is because the author captures you quickly and it is impossible to put it down before finishing it. “Run Away” is no exception although it does involve a stretch of the imagination to accept the plot closely adhering to what might be real life. But that is the author’s job: telling a good story in a way that captures his or her reader’s interest and attention. And that is what Coben does and does well with this novel being no exception.
Ingrid and Simon, husband and wife, live in Manhattan with their three children. They are both successful in their individual careers; Ingrid a pediatrician and Simon a partner in a lucrative counselling service advising others how to invest their money. Due to their professions an upscale life style is attained. It would be perfect except for a conflict with their eldest child: Paige. She has had many strong arguments with her parents and the opening of the book is at a point where Paige has run away from home. She has not returned nor even called during that period. Simon misses her very much and has taken to sitting in a section of the nearby Central Park at a spot that his daughter loved thinking of her.
About six months after Paige disappeared and while Simon is sitting in that spot he sees his daughter playing the violin for money from the onlookers there. He attempts to talk to her, but she runs from him. The remainder of the book sets up Simon and his wife’s search for Paige. They run into drug dealers, a cult, DNA testing and it’s consequences, two murderers and the killing done by these people. Yes. a search such as is being described would most likely not have all the depicted events occur in real life. But in the hands of Harlan Coben these become a necessary part of the plot and termed the author’s literary license to tell his story. Well done and engrossing novel.
3/19 Paul Lane
RUN AWAY by Harlan Coben. Grand Central Publishing (March 19, 2019). ISBN 978-1538748466. 384p.