Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, June 26, 2015

 TELL NO ONE, Harlan Coben

I wanted a fast-paced suspense novel for a recent trip and had never read one by Harlan Coben. I consulted lists and this one was near the top of every one. So despite having seen a French film version of TELL NO ONE, I picked it up. It did not disappoint except in several curious and informative ways. The book was written in 2001 and it leaned heavily on the ways computers were used and worked in that era. Because most of this is dated now, it took me out of the story several times. I am not sure if there is an equivalent technology that seemed so dated a few years later. In other words, if people talked about listening to the radio in a book written in 1930, it would not occupy so much space and it would not bring the story to a halt if read today.

So a good lesson here: do not base your story too much on current technology. Putting this aside, this was a pretty good thriller although there was no real attempt to have any character development or attention to setting. It was plot, plot, plot.

Beck, a pediatrician, and his wife, Elizabeth,  have been together since childhood and have developed many rituals to celebrate aspects of that love. On one such celebration, the wife disappears. A serial killer is tried and convicted and eight years pass.

Suddenly, Beck receives a message that seems to be from his wife that says, "TELL NO ONE" at the end. Various forces come into play: cops, villains, the wife's family, Beck's family as this is all sorted out.

Clearly Coben has a gift for keeping the reader engaged. He knows how to twist the plot. His characters are likable, violence is mostly offstage. He is able to juggle a lot of plot strains pretty efficiently. A good summer read but not a book that will send me back to the shelves. 

Mark Baker, THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME, Krista Davis
Joe Barone, SWEET, SAVAGE DEATH, Jane Haddam
Les Blatt, DEATH IN ECSTASY, Ngaio Marsh
Elgin Bleecker, SOLDIER IN THE RAIN, William Goldman
Brian Busby, THE EMPIRE BUILDERS, Robert Steed
Martin Edwards, ELEVEN, Patricia Highsmith
Curt Evans, KILL A BETTER MOUSETRAP Scott Ratner
Ed Gorman, THE PLASTIC NIGHTMARE, Richard Neely
John Hegenberger, THE PROTEUS OPERATION, James Brogan
Rick Horton, A LOST LADY, Willa Cather
Jerry House: GREAT BALLS OF FIRE,  Harry Harrison
Randy Johnson, THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY, Charles Willeford
George Kelley, THE GOLDEN AGE OF MURDER, edited by Martin Edwards
Margot Kinberg, SIMON SAID, Sarah Shaber
Rob Kitchin, THE LONG HOME, William Gay; THE INTERROGATOR, Andrew Williams
B.V. Lawson, PICTURE MISS SEATON,  Heron Carvic
Evan Lewis, THE CONAN TRILOGY, Andrew J. Offutts
Todd Mason, MIMOSA, Nicki and  Rick Lynch
Steve Lewis/Dan Stumpf, SOME CAME RUNNING, James Jones
Gerard Saylor, THE FARM, Tom Robb Smith
James Reasoner, TURN ON THE HEAT, A.A. Fair
Richard Robinson, WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE MURDER, Bill Crider
Kevin Tipples. BURN, Jonathan Lyons
TracyK, HOPE, Len Deighton


John said...

I very much enjoyed the French movie adaptation of Coben's novel. Never read anything by him. I don't remember all the computer stuff in the movie, but agree about the dependence on computers in a plot. I have a personal pet peeve against the heavy use of PCs, text messages and cellphones on TV crime shows (SHERLOCK is the worst) and dislike it even more in novels. In college my playwriting professor used to go nuts when people wrote scenes with one person on a telephone. Drama is about people interacting with one another not people interacting with machines, he used to complain. And look where we are now! :^D

Deb said...

I remember an article from a few years back about how writers (especially in the mystery/thriller genres) were having to devise more creative ways to separate their characters from the technology. I read a recent book (it was of the "woman becomes involved with psychopath " variety) where five minutes on Google would have told the heroine everything she needed to know about her evil husband, do the writer was twisting the story into pretzels to keep the woman from a search engine. Felt very labored and false. It's kinda like watching the old Columbos where the plot hinges on using a new electric typewriter or a digital watch.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you again for including my blog.

Jerry House said...

Patti, my book was by Harrison, rather than illustrated by him.

TracyK said...

I have wanted to read Tell No One because I liked the French film so much. As of yet, I have not tried any of Coben's books.

Thanks for including my link also.

Todd Mason said...

Oddly enough, I can remember no details of TELL NO ONE, just general pleasure of watching the film...and I'm a firm admirer of the female lead, the French-Canadian Marie-Josée Croze (now apparently by citizenship Canadian-French). I, too, haven't read any anon Coben's novels yet.