Book Review: Run Away by Harlan Coben

Run Away Harlan CobenHarlan Coben is an author I never get disappointed in, and Run Away is a book that, once again, shows that Harlan Coben hasn’t lost his mojo yet. All the standalone Harlan Coben books are edge-of-your-seat action-packed novels mixed with psychological thriller elements, and Run Away is a prime example of this. While the action is a constant in the book, there is so much more to it than that.

Usually, his books tackle the issue of a family member (usually the wife) disappearance while the husband is looking for her. This time around, the focus is on wayward children in a well-off family. A family that had pretty much everything, where you’d think that children would grow up to become individuals with high paying jobs, like doctors, professionals in the finance sector, or business people.

So how come that such a family can become dysfunctional when one of the children leaves everything privileged behind, becomes addicted, and turns to a life of despair?

This is the element the author explores in his bestselling latest book featuring Simon Green, a well-off finance advisor to the rich, who doesn’t know how to cope with his daughter, Paige, running off from home to become a drug addict.

Despite his wife’s protests, he can’t let it go, so he tries to find his daughter, which he does, when he sees her playing guitar in off-tone notes in Central Park. When he calls her name, she runs away straight into the arms of the very man who turned her into the junkie she is now.

And so starts a story of adventure, chase, flying bullets, and a shot at redemption that will keep you glued to the pages to the end. Whenever I thought I knew what would happen next, Harlan Coben surprised me once again. Things would always fly into a new direction at the very moment you start to become comfortable in the knowledge of the plot unfolding in front of you.

I literally stayed up in bed until 2 a.m. to finish the book because I wanted to see where the author would take it. And, boy, did he take the plot to a place I would have never guessed. The ending surprised me so much that I had trouble sleeping for at least a good one hour after that. I couldn’t stop thinking about the end and how it all came to be (no spoilers here, no worries).

I guess it just shows that nobody is immune from dangerous outside influences, no matter how sheltered they think they are. Rich, poor, old, young, women, men, and everything else in between can succumb, and the road ahead becomes really hard. Maybe the hardest you ever had to walk on in your life.

The characters in this book were exquisitely brought to life so much that I felt I knew them all, with all their secrets, hopes, and despair. Their relationships were well explored, and they were as complicated as they got. Nobody was perfect in the book. Everyone had their flaws, aka, they were real human beings stripped of all their societal facets.

You could feel the parents’ desperation in trying to bring their daughter home. They would do anything to save her from a life of a junkie, and by that I mean anything.

Initially, I thought there were two different plot threads going on, however, by the end, all was explained in a way that made sense, and all the threads were tied together in one final major plot. Everything was part of that very plot, and it was glorious. So if you start to read the book and wonder how the initial two threads converge, they will, although it might surprise you just how.

So far I’ve never been disappointed by a Harlan Coben book, and I know I will continue to read his novels until he won’t write anymore (I hope it won’t happen any time soon). While his Myron and Mickey Bolitar series are fun to read, it’s his standalone novels where the author really shines. I’ve never been so happy to sacrifice a few hours of sleep like I was while reading this book.


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