Adam Price, New Jersey lawyer, is “living the dream” in Harlan Coben’s latest thriller The Stranger. The dream includes a comfortable life in a close knit town where residents consider it a privilege to live out their whole lives, with their major preoccupation being family, children and sports.
Then the stranger arrives, and with a few brief words, begins to shatters lives. Adam and Corinne have been married for years with two sons. Adam’s world is rocked when the stranger tells him that Corinne faked her third pregnancy just a few years back. This pregnancy, which Adam believed ended in miscarriage, was actually purchased from an online store which sold novelty items like positive pregnancy tests and false bellies. Since we live in a world where it is very difficult to hide anything, Adam is able to determine, with a search of his computer, that this information was genuine. So what next? What’s real? Are his sons actually his own children? Adam confronts Corinne who asks for more time before they have that conversation, and poof, she vanishes. In the meantime, more secrets are being revealed, more lives are destroyed and the bodies are beginning to pile up.
Harlan Coben is the master of the plot twist and this is certainly the case with The Stranger. Like all good thrillers, The Stranger is fast paced, suspenseful and is populated by characters who are both engaging and relatable. The thing that I enjoy the most about a Harlan Coben novel is that all the plot twists make sense and are logical as the story unfolds. The thing that I least enjoyed about this particular novel was the ending – a little too tied up with a bow for my taste – but I’ll say no more on that. Overall a fun, fast paced read, perfect for a summer weekend.
So what to tackle next? How about: