by Harlan Coben
Release Date: March 19th, 2013
2013 Dutton Adult
Ebook Edition; 351 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Suspense
Source: Review copy from publisher
3 / 5 Stars
Six years have passed
since Jake Sanders watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another
man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his
career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave
Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her
new husband, Todd.
But six years haven’t come close to
extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary,
he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse
of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for . . . but she is not Natalie. Whoever the
mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for more than a decade,
and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time
of his life—a time he has never gotten over—is turned completely inside
As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect
memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple
either can’t be found or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in
years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart—and who lied to
him—soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he
has become may be based on carefully constructed fiction.
Six Years was an enjoyable novel which I read rather quickly, but it would not be counted as my favourite Harlan Coben novel. There were some things that I just couldn't buy into no matter how much I wanted to and sadly, this lessened the enjoyment for me overall.
The beginning of the novel started off quite well. We have a protagonist who is pining for his lost love for six years, but having made a promise to never search for her, in all that time he never has, not on Facebook, not on Twitter, not at all. But when he suddenly hears of her husband's untimely death, he decides to break that promise and go to the funeral, he gets the shock of his life when he discovers the widow is not Natalie, but someone quite different. And not only that, but this woman has been married to Natalie's husband for quite a few years before Natalie's wedding even occurred. Jake starts to dig into his and Natalie's past and what he discovers opens up a lot of dangerous secrets.
The early part of the novel worked rather well as we've got this university professor who has no experience in this type of detective work fumbling his way through scenario after scenario, and bungling it up quite nicely, in his search for someone who might have remembered Natalie. As he gets more and more frustrated, and as more and more people come after him, he becomes caught up in a situation which is rather above his head and doesn't really know how to handle it other than with his fists. I found myself wondering quite often what I would do in his situation, with little training, and while it's quite easy to read about it, it would be rather difficult to do in a real situation. The part though, that kind of loses me is where he gets all these warnings to stop, but then he keeps going, despite the fact that it could do some serious harm to Natalie and to those around her. After all these years, why would he suddenly find the urge to look for her? The excuses given were rather flimsy and I just didn't buy them. It's not that I didn't enjoy the rest of the story, it's just that it wasn't quite the same as the first half of the story for me.
Six Years was a fairly good thriller, but it didn't have those hooks that we're used to having from a Harlan Coben novel. It was rather easy to figure out quite early on what happened to Natalie, and I personally, would have liked a few more twists and turns in this novel. I did enjoy the novel, but I feel like the character development was somewhat lacking and the plot was a bit on the sappy side; there were times when I actually wanted to wring Jake's neck, or at least shake him and have him snap out of it. That being said, I will probably read the next Harlan Coben book to see if he rises up to his usual skills as this one seemed as if it was just thrown together.