The Stranger by Harlan Coben begins curiously enough with a stranger meeting Adam Price in a bar and relaying information that he seemingly shouldn’t know about Adam’s wife. The stranger tells Adam that his wife faked a pregnancy and miscarriage to keep him from leaving her. The stranger even offers Adam a way to verify the information. With that revelation, Adam’s happy life begins to unravel.
I was hooked on the story, which is not surprising since I am a big fan of Harlan Coben’s books. (I even read his YA series.) However, I realized too early some of the key plot elements. I’m not sure if that means I’m getting better at solving mysteries or Coben simply let too much slip too early.
While Adam’s encounter shakes his life apart, Heidi Dann’s encounter costs her her life. Her friend, who is a police officer, begins to investigate Heidi’s death and the investigation eventually leads her to Adam.
The story grows more complex with unknown players in the overall mystery, which leaves the reader wondering from time to time who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.
I enjoyed the characters, but I felt some of them seemed too familiar as Coben characters. When the base mystery is solved (there’s more than one mystery that need to be solved), I felt it was so commonplace that it was a let down given all the heartaches and headaches that it had caused.
For someone who is considering starting to read Coben’s mysteries, this is probably not the book to get started with. My introduction to Coben was Tell No One, which is still one of my favorites and it’s also a stand-alone book that doesn’t use Coben’s series detective, Myron Bolitar.
And I do recommend reading Harlan Coben. His books are fast paced with great mysteries and just the right amount of humor.