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Stay Close by Harlan Coben

Stay Close Reviewed by Allen Hott

There is no doubt that Harlan Coben is one of the top suspense writers of our times and Stay Close is another of his really great books. He is able to take ordinary people in ordinary situations and then build a story that is full of intrigue and suspense. His characters are believable, his descriptions are right on, and the dialogue keeps the story moving at a great pace.

In this one a typical housewife with two kids and a husband has never really disclosed to anyone some of the happenings in her past. And as the story progresses the reader understands why and even agrees with Megan as she goes about her normal suburban life. But the problems begin when she begins to fixate on some happening long ago.

At the same time in Atlantic City there is a photographer who is barely eking out a living by shooting fake paparazzi type photos for rich kids to act out their dreams as celebrities. In truth Ray is a truly fine photographer who should be doing what he did in an earlier day. At one time he was a well-known and renowned photographer who traveled the world doing photos for international news organizations. His drinking and lifestyle have not really altered his expertise but he also seems to spend a lot of time reminiscing at least in his mind.

Also in Atlantic City Broome is a police detective who does a great job but who is unable to release a seventeen year old cold case. He still travels periodically to check on the young widow and her children. The widow is still living in hopes that her long missing husband will someday; somehow return to her and the family. And because he feels some responsibility in not solving the case Broom wants to help make that happen.

The housewife, photographer, and detective had met at an earlier time in a strip club that is still in business and still has several bartenders from those old days. Lorraine one of the bartenders who had a one night stand with Broome years ago is still her happy, carefree self-welcoming in all those who just want to sit and have a drink and not necessarily care to watch the antics on the stage. She is also somewhat a mother hen to the young girls who do strut their stuff on that stage.

All of the above characters and a few others are brought together by Coben as he pieces together a truly suspenseful story of abuse and murder. The entire story takes place in the Atlantic City area and gives the reader some insight into that area and some of its attractions. Most of the action takes place today but part of the suspense revolves around Mardi Gras over the years even though Atlantic City is not normally connected with that event.

Just a really interesting suspenseful mystery that keeps the reader involved all the way to the end. And chances are that the killer is not whom the reader thought it was!

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