Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review: Live Wire by Harlan Coben

It’s been a few years since the last time I’ve read a novel by Harlan Coben, but I can still remember pretty well his favorite fictional character, sports agent Myron Bolitar, who seems to be moonlighting most of the time as a detective.
     In Live Wire we see Myron getting into a shitload of trouble, as he tries to help one of his clients, the ex tennis player Suzze T., to set things right in her life. The latter is now the proud owner of a tennis academy and with child, the father of which is an infamous musician called Lex Ryder. Or is it? Somebody has a different opinion on the matter and posts it on Suzze’s Facebook profile; and that’s when it all begins, as Lex, just after reading that puts on a disappearing act. Now Myron has to trace the tracks of the musician, as well as find out who’s behind the post. The first he can do easy enough, but when it comes to the second things get a little bit complicated, since the one to blame for all this is none other than his sister-in-law Kitty, someone he haven’t seen for sixteen years.
     When he catches a glimpse of her at a club from a distance, he feels like his world has been turned upside down. What was she doing there and what was her relationship with Lex, whom he also spotted at the same place? That’s the big question. And there are a few to follow, concerning the absence of his brother, the whys of her return to town and so on. He suspects that she has again fallen into drugs, but has no time to find out if that’s so, as she manages to escape with the help of the club’s bouncers, along with Lex.
     The more Myron looks into these interconnected cases, the more things get complicated. As he knocks on doors that do not open and asks questions that go unanswered, he finds himself heading from one dead end to the next. And something that starts as a simple investigation, as time goes by, turns into a fast paced chase, which through its various twists and turns brings to surface lots of secrets and lies. Myron, who feels like he’s a victim and a victimizer at the same time, will put his life at risk in order to bring the truth to light; whichever truth that might be. During his long and dangerous pursuit he’ll come face to face with bouncers and cops, with drug dealers and their minions, and to survive he’ll have to ask for help from his friends: Esperantza the brave, Big Cyndi the, er, big (whom somewhere the author likens to a Volkswagen Beetle) and Win, a muscular and trigger happy millionaire, who likes picking up fights, and nowadays keeps a couple of lovers that go by the names of You and Mee.
     This is one of those books you can read in one sitting, since the writer manages to keep the reader moving fast, page after page, giving him some laughs on the way, but also making him meditate, at least a bit, on the big subjects of love and humanity. And he’s not soft on his hero; he slaps him around every now and then and kind of pushes him to change his way of thinking.
     Crime literature at its best.

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