Guest Review: Six Years by Harlan Coben
March 19 2013
Received from publisher
Yummy Man – Jake Sanders
From Goodreads –
Six years have passed since Jake Sanders watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.
But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for . . . but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for more than a decade, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life—a time he has never gotten over—is turned completely inside out.
As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart—and who lied to him—soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on carefully constructed fiction.
Harlan Coben once again delivers a shocking page-turner that deftly explores the power of past love and the secrets and lies that such love can hide.
I have to admit that I was a little hesitant to take on Six Years by Harlan Coben. Two big reasons for that really: One being that I don’t read that much and when I lose interest in something it takes nothing short of a rerun of Showgirls on public cable at 2:30 in the afternoon to reel me back in. That and Harlen Coben once made me eat yellow snow in front of a high school girlfriend over a disagreement about something Super Nintendo related. Okay, I may have made up that second part but the first one is very valid. That being said, I took a break from my desk at the office, took the elevator to the 8th floor washroom and proceeded to read the first chapter from the Kindle app on my iPhone.
There’s something to be said about hooking a reader and Coben was able to do that with me within the first few paragraphs. Six Years opens with our protagonist Jake enduring a heart wrenching ceremony where the woman he loves is getting married to another man. Coben give Jake dialogue and emotions that were all too familiar with me and love lost in my younger years. It was as if Coben himself had been through the rigors of those kinds of emotions and poured them onto the page. After all, six years is a lot of time to have pass from the moment Jake thinks he loses the love of his life forever until a chance tidbit of information falls onto his lap that spurs Jake on to seek out that lost love triggers the crazy turn of events that follows.
Nothing could have prepared me for the rollercoaster of events that follows in this book. Coben is able to give Jake the characteristics of an everyday average professor at a University and then stir in all kinds of mayhem when Jake decides that he wants to find that lost love (Natalie) after all these years. To me, this is where a lot of the appeal for the protagonist is developed. Being able to look back at this book and see myself falling into a similar situation without having to have a lot of circumstantial education and powerful friends makes the read that more intriguing and engorging. I kept asking myself “How the heck is he going to get himself out of this now?”
My only criticism of the book was that it felt a little hurried at time. Maybe that was because I was reading the book as fast a Michael J Fox in his Delorean, but I did wish that there was a little bit more put into setting the stage for other events that followed. Like I said, it’s light criticism and barely made a dent in my enjoyment of the book.
Without going full frontal on this book I can say that Jake goes on a hunt for answers that takes him a lot further down a rabbit hole than he could have ever imagined. As the pages turn you ask yourself often if the love of another is worth it and that answer comes back the same every time.
As Jake goes through hell and back to figure out where Natalie is and where’s she’s been for the last six years you really see that level of unconditional love illustrated. I wouldn’t classify this book as a “love story” but on many levels it is. It’s like a unicycle ride through that snake pit from Indiana Jones to get to the love of your life. Crazy, thrilling, impossible but totally worth it.
Coben weaves an intricate plot with so many twists and turns that it becomes impossible to know who to trust and if people are really whom they appear to be. I particularly liked the development of lesser characters and their interaction with Jake. I found that the people that helped / hindered him along the way flavored the story and made the book impossible to put down.
And that’s the lead to my final point. This book was impossible to put down from the moment I picked it up. It was the horror of realizing the standard bathroom trip only lasts about 10 minutes maybe 15 minutes if someone brought in Chinese food for everyone beforehand. I could have easily parked myself in the stall for the 3-4 hours it took me to blaze through this book. It was riveting, fresh and most importantly fun to read. As a newbie to the genre I felt it was a great book to pop my “Suspense Thriller” cherry with.
“Was it good for you as it was for me Mr. Coben?”