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by Harlen Coben
Grand Central Publishing, March 2019
384 pages
ISBN: 1538748460

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

New York City financial planner Simon Greene has it all – or does he? The successful partner in a successful firm, a wife who's a doctor at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and two grown children, one away at college.

And then there's their other child. Simon's daughter Paige, a junkie. Six months earlier, following an argument with her mother, Paige disappeared, and Simon has been searching for her ever since.

Months go by, and one day Simon finds Paige and her boyfriend Aaron at Strawberry Fields in Central Park, playing her guitar and singing for handouts. When she spots him she tries to flee. Simon tries to reach her, but Aaron intervenes. The bystanders see Simon as the aggressor and Aaron as the victim, and restrain Simon while the boyfriend disappears into crowd. Before long the incident, videoed by onlookers, goes viral, casting Simon as a rich guy attacking a homeless man, and he's arrested and charged with assault. By this time Aaron is nowhere to be found.

When Aaron's body is found a few weeks later, his throat slit, the NYPD again focus on Simon as the obvious suspect. He calls on a colleague for legal help. But when he tries to locate his daughter Simon finds the trail leads to a squalid apartment in the Bronx. The chain of events that follows takes Simon and his wife on an odyssey that no family wants to endure, and before their journey has ended there will be more bodies and a trail of deception and a pattern of intrigue that will challenge even the most dedicated of crime readers.

Harlen Coben's forte rests in his ability to take ordinary people and put them into life-changing situations that call upon all their resources. His strengths lie in his layered plots, finely-etched characters, and crackling dialogue. To cite one example, Simon's lawyer, Hester Crimstein, is a cross between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a demented pit bull; just the sort of person you'd want in your corner. Witness the following exchange between Crimstein and the judge arraigning Simon on the alleged assault on Paige's boyfriend:

When they headed into the courtroom and she said "Hester Crimstein for the defense," a buzz started humming through the court. The judge raised his head and arched an eyebrow.

"Counselor Crimstein, this is quite the honor. What brings you to my humble courtroom?'

"I'm just here to stop a grave miscarriage of justice."

"I'm sure you are." The judge folded his hands and smiled. "It's nice to see you again, Hester."

"You don't mean that."

"You're right," the judge said. "I don't"

That seemed to please Hester. "You're looking good, Your Honor. The black robe works on you."

"What, this old thing?"

"Makes you look thin."

"It does, doesn't it?”" The judge sat back. "What does the defendant plead?"

Hester gave Simon a look.

"Not guilty," he said.

The recipient of multiple awards for his crime fiction, Harlen Coben has been entertaining crime fans since 1995 with his layered, graphic, and action-packed tales, populated with characters that stay in your mind long after you've finished his books. RUN AWAY follows ten consecutive New York Times bestsellers, and is a welcome addition to the canon of thirty novels that preceded it. It is also an engrossing read for those who simply appreciate a well-crafted, original tale.

§Since 2005 Jim Napier's reviews and interviews have appeared in several Canadian newspapers and on various crime fiction and literary websites, including his own award-winning review site, Deadly Diversions. His debut crime novel Legacy was published in the Spring of 2017, and the second in the series, Ridley's War, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2019.

Reviewed by Jim Napier, April 2019

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