Found by Harlan Coben

Wildcard #10

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★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

I was more than excited when I discovered the third in the Mickey Bolitar series was out – only two years behind the rest! Coben does some fantastic work in suspending an overarching story whilst maintaining individual, stand-alone mysteries in each of the instalments (all of which are written realistically and accessibly for the target YA audience). Found is no less applicable for the latter of these, but it is with the former point that I felt it fell down.

For starters, the plotline in Found is set over a relatively short time period. Whilst this is not necessarily a fault in itself, being written realistically it led to slightly odd side plotlines that seemed to offer little to the main mystery. What really did we get from the Troy storyline that could not have been achieved otherwise in a shorter subplot lasting maybe a chapter or two? In fact, the entirety of Found felt almost as if it was a never-ending filler chapter: very little happened, in all honesty, towards the Abeona storyline, and the other ‘main’ plotlines (those surrounding Troy, Buck and Jared) all turned out to be misnomers that would have typically been a mere side-plot in a typical Coben novel.

Considered analytically, Coben’s writing wasn’t fine-tuned literary finesse either, although it was adequate for a novel. It remained accessible to the readers with a dash of humour, but it had a clearer target at a more of a high school to YA audience. The characters aside from Mickey were also explored much less in this novel, despite their being ample opportunity among the wishy-washy plot.

Viewed all in all, I was a little disappointed with Found. When it came to a plot, there was little substance (although it could obviously stand-alone fairly well). As for the writing and characterisation, it was there, but it seemed to lack the usual ‘je ne sais quoi’ of a Coben novel. It makes me question whether I’d rather have waited another year or two for an instalment that matched the pizazz of the first two, or whether this filler novel was enough to sate the appetites of Mickey Bolitar fans craving for something more. All I can be sure of is that I wait with bated breath and a sense of uncertainty for the next part to unfold.

Recommended for fans of:

  • Seizure by Kathy Reichs
  • Scorpia by Anthony Horowitz
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
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