NEW 2023 HARLAN COBEN NOVEL REVIEW: I WILL FIND YOU (16 MARCH, 2023)
Harlan Coben is one of the most popular authors in the world today and his books are always a ‘must read’. In recent years the success of his twisty, unpredictable novels has been enhanced by a well produced succession of Netflix mini-series based on his books, which have ramped up interest and cemented his international standing as a leading storyteller.
His latest book, I Will Find You (Century, 16 March 2023), is a wild ride of a story that is guaranteed to ehance his reputation as one of the world’s great entertainers.
The plot outline provided by the publishers has that sort of irresistible hook that is typical of Coben’s stories:
“David and Cheryl Burroughs are living the dream – married, a beautiful house in the suburbs, a three year old son named Matthew – when tragedy strikes one night in the worst possible way. David awakes to find himself covered in blood, but not his own – his son’s. And while he knows he did not murder his son, the overwhelming evidence against him puts him behind bars indefinitely.
Five years into his imprisonment, Cheryl’s sister arrives – and drops a bombshell.
She’s come with a photograph that a friend took on vacation at a theme park. The boy in the background seems familiar – and even though David realizes it can’t be, he knows it is.
It’s Matthew, and he’s still alive.
David plans a harrowing escape, determined to achieve the impossible – save his son, clear his own name, and discover the real story of what happened. But with his life on the line and the FBI following his every move, can David evade capture long enough to reveal the shocking truth?”
As to be expected from the above outline, I Will Find You starts with a bang and the pace does not let up until the final dramatic conclusion. Typically of a Coben novel, it is well constructed plot and each aspect is expertly manipulated for maximum effect. Burroughs’ first person narration welcomes the reader in and quickly draws them into his plight. His viewpoint also helps to ground the story and gives it some emotional intensity. Later, the frequent shift of viewpoint to other characters broadens the mystery and allows Coben to introduce the twists and turns that reader’s have come to expect from his books. It all works really well and certainly keeps a firm grip on your attention.
I Will Find You is probably more of an action thriller than Coben’s usual novels, and there is plenty of gunfire and dangerous escapes, as well as the obligatory betrayals. There are also more suspensions of disbelief required, and less of the suburban milieu that was such a feature of earlier books. There are still, however, the familiar themes around family and the chaotic, heartbreaking effects of lost .
The smoothly written narrative certainly engages the reader from the opening page and sweeps them up in an intriguing plot that quickly spins off in unexpected directions. Although the storyline proceeds down some out-of-the-ordinary paths, Burrough’s relatable attitudes and observations come across as genuine and give the story some credibility. There is also a good cast of supporting characters who add to the pleasure, including an ageing crime syndicate boss and a pair of witty FBI agents. Fans of Coben’s earlier books will also appreciate the fleeting references to previous books and characters.
In short, not my favourite of Coben’s novels, but certainly a rollercoaster of a ride that will have you hanging on for dear life as the book careens to its exciting conclusion.
I Will Find You will be released in Australia on 16 March 2023. and in the United States on 14 March 2023.
Thanks to Penguin Random House Australia and the Canberra Weekly for an early copy of the book.