Daily Archives: September 18, 2011

Shelter by Harlan Coben

Published by Indigo / Orion

To use a basketball expression, which seems kind of apt in the circumstances, the short version of this review of Harlan Coben’s latest would be;

 ‘He shoots. He scores!’

Creating a new character and series but being able to tap into the world of his existing series by having the central character of Shelter be, Mickey, the nephew of his much loved sports agent character, Myron Bolitar, is a stroke of genius and is sure to double his readership.

This first in the new series is also one of the main launch titles of Orion Books’ new YA imprint, Indigo, and one I’m sure will place them firmly on the map as a publisher of some of the best YA books around.  So, new and younger readers will get to snap up the Indigo edition, whilst regular adult Coben readers can get the same great story under the usual Orion brand – and rest assured, it bridges the gap very well indeed, suiting anyone from around 13 years and up.

The story, and I can’t delve too deep for risk of spoilers, concerns 15 year old Mickey and his search for his girlfriend, Ashley, who one day just disappears from school without leaving a trace.  He enlists the help of some new found friends, the crazy but loyal and priceless Spoon and the larger than life Goth, Ema, creating an unlikely detective team as they begin to question those in the school and their town about Ashley.

Mickey is living in the same house as his ‘goofy’ Uncle Myron who seems to hinder his progress with his investigation and the chances of any kind of love life at every turn and, although Myron has fairly little screen time here, the book dovetails very nicely into events within Coben’s most recent title ‘Live Wire’.

There is also a mysterious man in a suit who watches and waits in a long black car, and an odd character, the ‘Bat Lady’, who appears to live alone, just her and a tombstone in her garden – so, plenty to keep the reader guessing right through to the end of the book.

It’s a cracking read – I’m a bit of a sucker for noir set in the high school environment and this reminded me at times of the similarly excellent movie, Brick, which also merged the two conventions so successfully.

A great place for younger readers to discover the wonderful suburban crime dramas of Mr Coben and, for those who know what to expect, another great read to add to their growing collection.

Can’t wait for the next one in the Mickey Bolitar series.

High scoring stuff indeed.

Keith

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