By Harlan Coben
One thing you can say for the rain, not counting that the country is green and beautiful, is that rainy days are great reading weather.
You could read something deep and serious or you could go and pick up this latest Harlan Coben mystery, and “cocoon.”
Personally, I like a mystery that rolls along and eventually ends with all made clear, that is, I don’t want to think too hard myself. It is for that reason that you have a detective.
Caught doesn’t have a detective but a nosy reporter who doesn’t give up; that’s almost as good.
Dan Mercer was a foster child, and though married once, he now has no one in his life. Instead of sinking into crime or depression, he works with children who have had a similar fate.
He coaches the teams from the poor neighbourhoods and takes the late night phone calls from the kids who have made bad choices and live on the street.
Dan is one of the good guys. Except that now there is evidence he is a pedophile and how can anyone believe that?
Wendy Tynes is a television reporter for a sleaze station, if she can’t find evidence, she is not above “tweeking” what she does find. Is she as unlikable as she sounds, or is she a victim of her job and circumstances?
Harlan Coben can be counted on for a readable mystery with lots of twists; he’s written 16 novels and knows the ins and outs of the genre.
As Wendy Tynes begins to dig into the life of Dan Mercer, she finds that people connected with him, though successful once, are now doing nothing and going nowhere. No jobs, no opportunities, it seems that they can’t get a break. Some of these men came from good families, well connected. So what gives?
Added to this is the disappearance of a young woman, Haley McQuaid, a senior in high school. Haley’s parents report that she is a good student, an athlete, always calls home, she even keeps her room clean. Do they really know her? She’s been gone three months and there are no clues.
Question is stacked on top of question and Wendy Tynes is hooked on the case. The evidence against Dan is throw
n out of court, but he has disappeared too, maybe for his own safety or maybe someone helped him along.
When Wendy puts all the pieces together, the past catches up with a group called, The Fathers Club.
There is one character here that may be put in for comic relief. He’s called “Pops” and he’s Wendy’s father-in-law. He rides a Harley and chases women or at least talks a good line. Deep down he seems to care for Wendy and her son, but there is no explaining the clown act.
If you just want to relax and let the reporter solve the puzzle then one character who is a tad tiresome shouldn’t be a problem.
Peggy Freeman is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.