Coming off the Netflix debut of his TV series, Harlan Coben’s The Five, #1 New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben just added another must-read to his incredible collection of novels with his latest standalone, Don’t Let Go. Coben’s thrillers have kept readers at the edge of their seats for years, and his latest outing is no exception.
Don’t Let Go takes readers on a suspenseful journey alongside New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas, as a new lead reopens the nearly two-decade old investigation into his twin brother’s death. Nap’s brother, Leo, died under mysterious circumstances in their senior year of high school and the detective has been looking for answers ever since.
The Story Unfolds
The week of his brother’s death was also the last time Nap heard from Maura, the girl he’s never been able to stop thinking about after she broke his heart and disappeared from his life just as his world fell apart.
But now, Maura’s fingerprints have been found at the scene of a police officer’s murder right in Pennsylvania. And just like that, Nap is eighteen-years-old again, trying to explain how his whole world imploded so quickly and so thoroughly.
Nap’s witty and, most times, cynical train of thought allows the reader to connect with him on an emotional level as Coben carefully intertwines the detective’s most emotionally charged moments with a bit of dark humor.
He’s a thirty-something bachelor still living in his childhood home, alone. Nap has a very effective I-promise-I’m-not-a-creep smile in his back pocket just to put the neighbors’ minds at ease. He’s not weird; he’s just too lazy to move out of the house he lives in, even if it may be haunted by the memories of his late brother and recently deceased father.
More Twists and Turns
Nap’s circle is small, consisting of his best friend, Ellie, a warmhearted girl he went to high school with who runs a shelter for victims of domestic violence; and his mentor Augie, whose teen daughter was found dead alongside Leo all those years ago.
At the time, their deaths had been ruled accidental, but Nap’s gut is telling him different. And the people around him may be holding the key that will finally allow him to unlock the greatest mystery of his life. That’s if he can stay alive long enough to find the answers he needs.
Title: Don’t Let Go
Nap dives headfirst into the past; uncovering new information that someone has worked hard to keep hidden for the past fifteen years. What he finds will leave readers reeling.
Coben, a Newark native himself, sets the scene in New Jersey and touches on many familiar and beloved landmarks throughout the novel’s 400 pages. Many of Nap’s stops are easily recognizable, as are the pieces of Garden State history that Coben has worked into the narrative.
Cruise down the Garden State Parkway, stay the night in a motel in East Orange or pay a visit to Clara Mass Medical Center to check in on a man who Nap may or may not have put there. Ride by Newark’s warehouses and take in a bit of live music at the Rusty Nail. Though Coben is sure to adjust some details, the places and their names remain familiar.
NJ is at the Heart of it All
When it comes to Garden State history, Coben masterfully weaves these bits of info into the novel’s mystery. The Cold War missile sites scattered throughout the state come into play in an intense and horrifying way; as Nap tracks the last few moments that his brother spent alive.
The detective is up against a bigger enemy than he could have ever imagined; Plus, the people closest to him are beginning to hinder rather than help him get to the bottom of it; so he has to wonder if the answers have been right under his nose the whole time. But could it really be that simple?
Don’t Let Go is a must-read for anyone looking to dive into a complex, deeply-layered mystery with a twist on every page. The book is available now from Dutton (Penguin Random House) in hardcover, paperback and digital form.
Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Carly Weaver / Best of NJ
Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy:
Don’t Let Go Cover Art / Dutton, Penguin Random House
Harlan Coben Photo / Claudio Marinesco