This weekend I was having a terrible time figuring out what to read. I honestly started a half dozen books, and nothing was pulling me in. So I decided to find a book by one of my slump go-to authors – Harlan Coben.
Caught tells the story of a missing girl, the community stunned by her loss, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can’t trust her own instincts about this story—or the motives of the people around her.
17 year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.
Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate—and nationally televised—sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.
Caught is a mystery centered on a television journalist’s public accusations of pedophilia that lead to murder and the kidnapping of a teenage girl. While the story is driven by crimes and pursuit of the truth, it also has themes of revenge and forgiveness.
Caught had many moving parts that created depth. Still, I had no issues with keeping everything straight. Per Coben’s usual style, it is filled with twists and turns in otherwise quiet New Jersey suburbs. I often think I know what happened when reading a book by Coben, but I also end up happily surprised and wrong. For someone who reads a lot of thrillers, I always find this refreshing.
I love that Coben will reuse some of his characters throughout his non-serial books, and Caught was not an exception. It is always a fun Easter egg, yet if you are unfamiliar with the characters you will not miss out on anything. In Caught, these characters were Hester Crimstein and Windsor Horne Lockwood III – two of my favorites.
For me, Caught was not one of Harlan Coben’s strongest books. I did not think it was as thrilling as his novels typically are. The pace was slower than I expected and found that it took a bit to fully immerse me in the story.
Overall, I enjoyed Caught but did not love it. I would recommend it; however, if you are a new Harlan Coben reader, there are other books I would recommend over this one.
Mysteries & Thrillers
March 23, 2010