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Play Dead

Play Dead

Book rating: 03 Paperback

By (author) Harlan Coben

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Product description

Ex fashion model and successful business woman Laura Ayars' perfect world is shattered at a time which should have been the happiest of her life. On her honeymoon, her sports superstar husband goes for a swim - and never returns. But what has happened to David - can he really be dead? Whilst struggling to cope with her almost overwhelming grief, Laura is plagued by questions and doubts. Was it an accident? Or suicide? Or is it some terrible, ill-judged hoax? As events begin to unfold, Laura starts to question David's mysterious disappearance. She begins to uncover a conspiracy which reaches deep into the past, and is now slowly beginning to destroy everyone involved. Someone will do anything to keep Laura away from the awful truth - and she has no idea who she can trust ...

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Author information

Harlan Coben is an international number one bestselling thriller author. He is the winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards - the first to receive all three. His books are published in forty languages, with over forty-seven million copies in print worldwide. Both his standalone thrillers and series featuring the indomitable Myron Bolitar have been number one bestsellers in over a dozen countries, gracing the lists of the Sunday Times and the New York Times. His novel Tell No One was turned into the smash hit French film of the same name, and received the highly coveted Lumiere (French Golden Globe) for best picture as well as four Cesars (French Oscar). Harlan lives in New Jersey with his family. www.harlancoben.com

Customer reviews

By Dan Cater 08 Aug 2011 2

Polished? Professional? Engaging? No, unfortunately not. More like Breathless. Amateurish. Predictable. OK, that's harsh, but having forked out good money for this offering, I feel a bit narked. Even Mr Coben himself apologizes in his author's note, (unfortunately, the warning came too late for me) but tells us he hasn't revised this re-release because he doesn't believe in authors re-writing their earlier books. I only wish someone had.

From the start, the central premise is dubious and tests the reader's credulity. And if the many plot twists were landmines, there'd be little risk to the life or limb of any but the most inattentive reader. Even the tightly kept secret of the "surprise" conclusion is as predictable as it is unconvincing.

The narrative is often archly dramatic, especially at section endings, much like the end of a scene in a TV soap. You know the kind of thing. The heroine is faced with some devastating revelation, such as "I'm sorry Dorothy, but your new husband is really your long lost lesbian sister. Gasp! Pause!" just before the commercial break.

Alas, there is little salvation to be found in the stilted dialogue and the unsubtle characterization. When the action bounces back and forth between Australia and the States, the attempted Aussie colloquialisms and accent are just plain embarrasing and even some of the continuity needs an edit.

Anything to recommend "Play Dead"? Well, the cover art is quite nice and the book is very well printed.

Maybe Mr Coben's later work is better, after all he's certainly sold plenty of books. Unfortunately, I'll never know. I only finished this one out of stubbornness. I won't be risking any more of my time or money to find out.

By Eden Moss 02 Sep 2010 5

There is nothing like sitting down with a new book by a favorite author, but Harlan Coben cannot help himself with twists and turns, even his 'new' book is in fact the very first book he ever wrote, back in print and giving current readers a look at how he began his writing career. Harlan himself goes as far to add a note to new readers not to read this book unless they have read others of his, and seems perhaps a little tentative of what today's readers will think of his first born. Is it up to the standard he writes today ? No, there are some obvious faults, and you can tell its not a book by an established author, But, he had what he has now all those years ago, its just a little unpolished, and whatever that factor is that makes great writers so very good to read, shines through while reading Play Dead. I found myself struggling to part with it, thinking about the characters while not reading it, loving every single twist and turn, I never guessed the 'why' which makes up this novels mystery, and just thoroughly enjoyed it, so much I was sad when I turned the final page. Don't listen to Harlan, if you've never read him before, get your hands on this, and make sure you have nothing else to do before you start reading Play Dead.

Review quote

Keeps you in suspense until the final page BIG ISSUE Compelling journey through a complex crime - take a deep breath - its a great ride. BETTY BOOKMARK Slick, fast-paced drama - another page turner from the master of suspense, Harlan Coben MY WEEKLY Coben tells you in the foreword to throw this book away if you haven't read his others, as it's his first novel. Don't listen to him. It's brilliant.