I read this book in a day. Admittedly, I didn’t have much going on that day but still. It is an extremely gripping, compulsive read, littered with twists and turns to keep you reading. It’s a thriller but with strong elements of romance – the protagonist’s motivation to keep digging deeper is for love.
The book opens at a wedding where our hero, Jake, is in attendance. He is watching the love of his life, Natalie, marry another man. She ended their relationship seemingly out of the blue with the news that she was getting married to an old flame, and he is attending the wedding to try and gain ‘closure’. He sort of gets his closure in some form, as after the nuptials Natalie makes him promise to leave her and her new beau alone.
Jake keeps his promise to her for six years. Until, he stumble across the obituary of his love’s husband, Todd. He figures that, as Todd isn’t around any more the promise no longer applies, and he seeks to get the woman he never stopped thinking about back in his life. And what better way to start than by attending her late husband’s funeral? Perhaps not the conclusion we’d all logically jump to, but this is the course of action Jake chooses to take. And that’s where it all starts to get a little bit peculiar.
Because when he attends the funeral, the grieving widow is not his previous lover, Natalie. It is another woman, who Todd has supposedly been married to for over fifteen years. Jake tries to delve a little deeper, and all the evidence is pointing towards the fact that the wedding Jake attended, the wedding which broke his heart, never actually happened. So where is Natalie? And why did she finish with him so suddenly all those years ago?
These are the questions Jake wants to know the answers to, and he won’t stop until he gets them. As the evidence piles up against what he knows to be true, I did find myself questioning his sanity in parts. He claims that he knew Natalie well, and has not gone a day without thinking about this woman in six years – although they only dated for three months. He proclaims that he knows she must have felt the same. Erm, a little stalker-ish?
But as the plot thickens, you soon realise that this is about more than just Jake and Natalie. There is something a lot more sinister going on. The message is clear by around half-way through, when Jake is warned: “This is bigger than you could ever imagine.”
As the book picks up steam in the second half, we start to realise that nothing is as it seems, and Jake isn’t able to trust even his closest friends. Coben tantalises the reader with plot twists at the end of every chapter and enough clues to just make us think we’re starting to get it – or are we? The great thing about his writing is that it is not littered with pointless red herrings; almost every loose end is neatly tied up in the startling conclusion, which involves all of the characters we have got to know so much about.
Whilst it’s not breaking any literary boundaries, this book was a good read. Fast-paced and gripping, if you’re looking for something to completely absorb your attention for a few hours, then this book is for you.