Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben

Dont let go by Harlan CobenDetective Napoleon Dumas (also called “Nap”) is a detective in New Jersey. He’s in his mid-30s, good at his job, but forever brooding.  Something happened many years ago that forever changed him.

His twin brother, Leo, and his girlfriend committed suicide during their senior high-school years.

Nobody knows why; they only know that the couple was found dead at the nearby railroad tracks. Soon after, Nap’s girlfriend, Maura, completely disappeared, never to be found again. That is, until now.

This sets the scene for Harlan Coben‘s latest psychological thriller Don’t Let Go.

Nap could never find the closure he so much wanted after his main losses. How could his brother kill himself? Did he take drugs? Was he just trying to escape the boring every day? And why did Maura disappear? What was she afraid of?

Now, some 15 years later, Nap might have hit pay dirt. He finally got a hit on Maura’s fingerprints, which he entered into the system all those years ago. Except that the fingerprints were found in a rental car that was involved in the murder of a cop. What is Maura involved in this crime? And where did she disappear again?

As usual, Harlan Coben tells a strong story. In fact, this particular story is based on true facts from the author’s native town. You’ll have to read the book to find out what those are, however.

The story takes several twists and turns, and the more answers Nap finds during his renewed investigation, the more questions present themselves to him. People keep telling him to let the past die, but he can’t do that, so he keeps investigating.

Slowly, slowly a haunting picture emerges of that fateful night that draws with it the involvement of a secret government agency that, even today, wants their secrets buried. And Nap does them no favor by his digging efforts.

There are real emotions involved in this novel and the characters feel real, authentic. Everyone is harboring some secrets and revealing those is akin to peeling a deeply-layered onion. You can’t but feel for most of the characters, both present, and past. They are real humans who did what they did to protect others, even if the end result was not one they expected. Nap is a damn good detective, one that is not afraid to take the law into his own hands if he feels things are slipping away and nobody else gives a damn.

The ending of the book was quite surprising. I didn’t see that one coming, although I did figure out a couple of plot twists from the book.

If you like Harlan Coben’s work, Don’t Let Go will grab you and hold on to you long after you finished reading the book. It’s really that good.

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