A novel by Harlan Coben
Book review by Jules Brenner
Dutton, released 9/20/16, 400 pp., $17.30/28
Return to list of books

How can "home" be more meaningful than to two six year-old boys who are taken from theirs?

In this latest of Coben's Myron Bolitar mystery series featuring the ex-sports agent, now a private investigator in London, the case reaches back ten years when cousins Rhys Baldwin and Patrick Moore disappeared. Now, after their wealthy families had receive one ransom demand shortly thereafter, followed by ten hard years of silence, Myron is awakened by a phone call telling him where the boys will be that day. The tipster hangs up, message delivered.

Myron will need help. After calling his old American buddy Win (Windsor Horne Lockwood III) to fly to London immediately, Myron rushes to the place the tipster said, a dark area under the trains at King's Cross Station where illicit trade is carried out in the shadows. Sure enough, he spots a boy looking a lot like a teenage version of Patrick. But three threatening hoodlums divert him long enough for the kid to take off. Rhys, the second boy, is nowhere to be seen.

With Tim's arrival, a complicated investigation begins and leads to Fat Ghandi, a parasitic human trafficker who offers the boys for a price. But this is the same nefarious con he pulled off with Rhys's rich dad Chick Baldwin a decade ago, so that lead is crossed off.

Much effort and time is expended before Myron and Tim locate the boy he saw at the train station and return him to his mother, now divorced. But while mom is delighted with the return of her son, Myron is none too certain the teenager is who he says he is. He calls for a DNA test as old suspicions resurface. The Moores had an au pair at the time of the kidnapping and there were suspicions about her.

But, where is Rhys, Myron's cousin's son? Patrick isn't telling that, or can't. To help open him up, Myron brings his son Mickey in for some teen-to-teen contact (and, likely, a new character for the Bolitar series). The twisted reasons for the kidnapping and the search for the missing boy becomes a complicated and baffling narrative from Coben, loaded with non sequiters. And I haven't even mentioned anything about the tipster who doesn't seem to be a subject for discussion for a long while (though not forever).

Coben's "The Stranger" and "Missing You," two "keeping-you-guessing" thrillers, held much tension and suspense for me. The key here, however, is a broader examination of hope that people can sustain under the grief of loss to evil depravity. But it does make some surprising compromises with plausibility in it's rather trying construction, perhaps a minor issue to the sleuth's fans who've been waiting half a decade for it. Is patience a theme here?

If you don't yet own Home and would like to purchase it (usually at a sizable discount), click here.