Book review: Found by Harlan Coben

Friday, September 5, 2014 Permalink

This book could have been a HUGE mistake. There was – most certainly – the potential for it to displease me on SO many levels (cos, you know… it’s all about me and my discerning taste?!!).

It wasn’t until this book popped up in my eReader that I realised:

    1. It was a YA novel
    2. It was the THIRD in a series. (And you know how I feel about arriving late to a party!)

However – I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I enjoyed this book. Perhaps it’s a throwback to my Famous Five, Trixie Belden  and Nancy Drew  days. Or maybe just a Veronica Mars  thing, but I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily I got into the characters in Harlan Coben’s latest Mickey Bolitar book, Found.

I might have even tweeted slightly embarrassing things about how much I loved it!

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It was a bit tricky in the beginning as I’d obviously missed two novels worth of backstory. But it was actually pretty easy to pick up. In fact I can’t decide whether it’s made its predecessors redundant (cos I know what happens) or whether I want to read them anyway cos I LOVED the characters so much.

For those (like moi) not in the know… Mickey Bolitar is a high school student (I have no idea how old he is. I was thinking 17 or so cos it felt less creepy that I could identify with him and his friends!) who is living with his uncle after the death of his father. His parents were estranged from their own families and spent years living overseas before moving back to the US so 6ft 4 Mickey could concentrate focus on his (future) basketball career.

cover49894-mediumJust after their arrival however, his father was killed in an accident and his mother turned to drugs and is now in rehab. At some point Mickey and some new friends (Ema, Rachel and Spoon) were recruited by the woman they call the Bat Lady (and a group called Abeona) to help locate missing young people and Mickey discovered that his parents were once in the same business.

Found  opens as Mickey and his uncle have returned to his father’s grave as Mickey’s been lead to believe he may be alive. The outcome of the exhumation isn’t entirely conclusive but Mickey’s soon sidetracked by – not one, but two cases.

Ema confesses she’s been chatting online with a guy who has seemingly disappeared. And, at the same time Mickey’s high school basketball nemesis has been accused of steroid abuse and asks Mickey for help to clear his name.

Bat Lady also reappears with her bodyguard and Mickey learns a little more about her relationship with his own father and their work together.

So – there’s a lot happening but not confusingly so.

Obviously I really enjoyed this novel. I got through it in a sitting and even skipped dinner to do so (forced myself to survive on chocolate instead)! The writing was snappy – a bit like the old gumshoe detective novels. The plot was actually pretty interesting and – although the ‘being-recruited-by-a-secret-agency-to-find-missing-kids’ part is a bit far-fetched – the rest of it was great. And age-appropriate; so believable. I may have likened it to Veronica Mars  in that respect.

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I LOVED the characters (well, particularly Mickey and Ema) and really wanted to know more. Despite being Australian I grew up in a basketballing family so could really relate to Mickey’s passions in that respect.

In all honesty, if I was a high schooler rather than a 40 something year old, I would have a HUGE crush on Mickey Bolitar.

Somewhere (cannot recall where) I read this is the final in the series – which makes me want to throw myself on the ground and weep (perhaps YA novels suit me more than I think!) – but I guess I’ll survive. Plus, perhaps they were wrong.

I would love to see this series on screen. As much as JD Robb’s ‘In Death’ series or Martha Grimes’ Richard Jury books. Of course, that’s providing they don’t stuff it up.

Found by Harlan Coben will be released via Hachette Australia and the Orion Publishing Group on 9 and 11 September 2014 (respectively).

* I received an advance copy from the publisher for review purposes.


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