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Six Years by Harlan Coben

Six Years Reviewed by Allen Hott

It must have taken Harlan Coben six years to develop the story line and then put together Six Years as it is one of the most complex, deeply involved stories that readers will ever come across. Not to say that it is too much to comprehend because as usual Coben makes the reading exciting and almost drug-like. It is very hard to put it down because there is a never ending series of events that just keep pulling the reader forward. And, yes, the ending is well worth the work and the wait.

Jake Fisher is a professor in a small college in Massachusetts. The story opens with Fisher watching Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. He has a terrible time believing what has happened. They were without a doubt perfect for each other and deeply in love. When Natalie suddenly dropped him and then within a few weeks married another man he can’t accept it. He attends the wedding and she makes a point to talk to him and tell him to forget her and to never, ever come looking for her. Natalie makes him promise to do these two things.

Six years have now gone by and though he thinks of her continually he has come to the conclusion that they will never ever be together again. He dated but never found another woman that he truly wanted. He has spent his time teaching and dreaming about what could have been.

When one of his students provokes Fisher into looking into the Internet’s many possibilities of finding someone he does in fact find out that Natalie’s
husband, also an alumnus of his college, has died!

That provides Fisher with the reason to break the promise that he made six years ago and he decides to head to Savannah for the funeral.

Not knowing what to expect or how to approach his long lost love, Fisher stays outside and watches from a distance. Everything tells him that it is in fact Natalie’s husband but strangely enough the wife is not Natalie! And even more surprising he discovers that this gentleman has two children.

Now he is really distraught and confused. Everything points to this being the right man. Obituary in the college newspaper, all like obituaries that have been published in the Savannah area all confirm it is the man and he has left children.

Fisher goes back to his campus and tries to figure out what is going on and where exactly is Natalie. He talks the whole thing over with his best friend, Benedict Edwards, another professor at the university. Benedict tries very hard to convince Fisher to forget about Natalie and give up his idea that she is in fact “out there somewhere” and they can be reunited. Benedict tells him that probably her husband probably had more than one wife and that wherever Natalie was hidden away by him she now probably is too embarrassed to want to come back.

But Fisher cannot and does not accept that theory. He begins to really delve into both her background and that of her “husband” trying to find some idea of what went on and where she is.

And that is where “the rest of the story” really gets involved and interesting. Coben pulls together all types of happenings to make this story one of his best. From an almost quiet search, the trail that Fisher ends up on is one that is filled with mystery, mobs, murder, and all sorts of twists. The ending is somewhat of a shock but not so much. Just another great book by Harlan Coben!

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