Author: Harlan Coben
Published: March 2019 by Cornerstone Digital
Category: Suspense, Thriller, Family Drama, Book Review
You’ve lost your daughter.
She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found. Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble. You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.
As Simon Greene sits the Strawberry Fields area of Central Park watching the ‘street musician’ give her rendition of Penny Lane, memories of happier times when his children were younger are running through his head.
He’s devastated. The girl in front of him is his first born, Paige. They’d always been close but he hadn’t seen her for six months. Then a neighbour mentioned seeing her in the park, although Paige looked so different he wasn’t absolutely sure. Simon had followed up and here he was.
Simon’s eyes stayed locked on the panhandling girl mangling John Lennon’s legacy. Her hair was matted clumps. Her cheek-bones were sunken. The girl was rail-thin, raggedy, dirty, damaged, homeless, lost.
She was also Simon’s daughter Paige.
In the past he’d hired a private investigator, searched the seedy and dangerous areas, but hadn’t had a single sighting. Up until now. Simon blames Paige’s boyfriend Aaron for her drug addiction, not without cause. When Simon approaches Paige she runs. Then her boyfriend appears and Simon lashes out as Aaron tries to stop him going after Paige. She disappears in the confusion. Well-meaning members of the public restrain Simon until the police arrive. A video of the incident goes viral on YouTube.
Three months later Simon gets a visit from Detective Isaac Fagbenle. Aaron has been murdered and Simon is the prime suspect based on previous events. Paige has gone missing—Simon has to start looking again. The story mainly follows Simon and his wife as they try to figure out where Paige might have gone, and what could have sent her off the rails in the first place. Their search leads to life threatening danger and with a couple of seemingly random sub plots slowly and cleverly merging into the main storyline, I had no idea what was going to happen.
One aspect of the plot might be considered a little over the top but it worked, adding to the overall scenario and I was happy to go with it. The emotional turmoil Simon goes through is expressed vividly. Totally family orientated, he and Paige were always very close, and there’s no saying what lengths a parent would go to in order to save their daughter.
I’m fairly new to Harlan Coben’s books, only having previously read a couple, but each one makes me want to read more. Well observed, developed and empathetic characters drive the fast paced plot—complex, engaging and very suspenseful—taking unexpected directions and completely throwing me off track. Great writing, action, flashes of humour, secrets, lies and family drama all combine to make Run Away extremely enjoyable.
I chose to read and review Run Away courtesy of Random House UK via NetGalley.
About the Author
Harlan Coben was the first ever author to win all three major crime awards in the US. He is now global bestseller with his mix of powerful stand-alone thrillers and Myron Bolitar crime novels. He has appeared in the bestseller lists of The Times, the New York Times, Le Monde, Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.
He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.