Tell No One

Author: Coben, Harlan
Pages: 384
Genre: Mystery
Published: 2009
Setting: New York City

This is my first introduction to Harlan Coben
books and certainly not going to be the last.
He is best known for his award-winning Myron Bolitar series.
So Tell No One is one of his stand alone novels.

David Beck and his wife are on their yearly vacation for their wedding anniversary at the Beck family beach house. While out swimming under the moonlight, suddenly Beck feels someone hit him on the back of the head with a baseball bat. He is collapsing as he hears his wife screaming for him. When he comes to, he learns of his wife’s kidnap and tragic death.

Eight years later, Beck has become a respectable Physician in New York City where he works with under privileged children. Beck never got over the death of his wife. Closer to his next anniversary, he receives an intriguing email message with a coded phrase known only to him and his wife. His head is spinning – Is someone playing games with him? Could his wife still be alive? Suspense begins to mount…

Determined to find out the truth about what happened eight years ago, Beck starts his own investigations not knowing whom to trust anymore because the message said “Tell No One” and “They Are Watching”. Beck discovers he is up against a powerful and dangerous billionaire, and it doesn’t help him either to learn he’s being investigated by the CIA as the number one suspect in the death of his wife. But David Beck is not holding back. He is determined to unravel this mystery and he will go to any length to uncover the truth about what happened to his wife.

In Tell No One, Coben has masterfully spun a believable layered story with a lot of twists and turns. Towards the end, as the reader is still getting over some unexpected developments, the author throws in an exciting surprise. This mystery story is very suspenseful and thrilling. It will appeal to anyone who loves fast paced, edge on your seat novels.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, now I’m starting a list of similar books I’d like to read. Do you have any suggestions?

Vanished by Robards, Karen
A Prisoner of Birth
by Archer, Jeffery
The Affair by Child, Lee
Smash Cut by Brown, Sandra
Backfire-FBI Thriller by Coulter, Catherine
I’ll Walk Alone by Clark, Mary Higgins
I’ll Look Again by Scottoline, Lisa
Quinn by Johansen, Iris

The Lovely Bones

Author- Alice Sebold
Title – The Lovely Bones
Genre – Fiction
Publication: September 30, 2009
Number of Pages: 368 pages

A # 1 bestseller – Recently turned into a movie-
Susie Salmon is  14 years old  when she is kidnapped, raped and murdered by a neighbor on her way back from school. Her soul is  trapped in “her heaven” a place between earth and heaven where she watches and narrates the subsequent police investigations on her death and  how her family and friends try to cope after her murder.  The entire neighborhood is shaken up by the murder of Susie Salmon. Her friends and teachers are shocked  even as they continue to look for her killer and try to make some sense out of the gruesome incident.

The concept of a dead girl watching from “heaven” intrigued me as well as many other readers. Even though the pacing is  measured, The Lovely Bones is so chilling and gripping that it’s so hard to put down.  With Susie narrating from the dead, the reader is easily drawn to her and able to empathize with her thoughts of ‘what might have been’. Especially about being robbed of the chance to experience teenage life –  her boy crush, her first kiss and other activities her peers are getting into. But sadly, Susie helplessly watches as her murderer moves about freely right in her  neighborhood with no qualms.

The author does a great job of examining the subject of life after death as she explores the question about what happens to the souls of the departed.  Are they truly watching the living? Could the dead possibly intervene in the lives of the living?  This book might provide some answers to readers curious about life beyond death while at the same time resonate with those who actually feel they might have had some real contact with dead. 

As a début novel which immediately became a number one best seller, I give Sebold credit for conceiving such a fascinating theme. However I noted a couple of inconsistencies and unrealistic scenes  especially towards the end of the novel  which made the wrap up a little awkward – You have to read this book to judge for yourself.  
 
The Lovely Bones strongly evokes a sense of sadness and loss.  It is a somber coming of age story that will appeal to teenagers and families  dealing with a loss. 

I found the movie a bit more cheery than the book – go check it out and share your thoughts…