Dont Let Go by Harlan Coben

Nap Dumas spends his life searching. He is a cop because on the same night his beloved girlfriend goes missing, and his brother dies under suspicious circumstances. What if fifteen years later the answers are still waiting out there and the person or persons involved are still in town? Nap doesn’t want to wonder every day if he overlooked his brother’s suicidal intent while he was busy being a sports star and he needs to know if his high school sweetheart is still out there.

I am in love with Napoleon Dumas. I like a when a character is charming, witty, and radically honest. I prefer male characters that are in touch with their feelings. Stoic characters tend to be bland narrators. An impartial storyteller is not my preference. Napoleon is an eclectic among cold, sulky, standoffish, mystery genre detectives. Livelier characters tend to add subjectivity and color to the situations making the character relatable and the story emotionally investing. I find Napoleon’s character is a good blend of modern ideology and traditional chivalry. I especially enjoy that he makes his life a testament to the people he lost. Honoring his brother could be about the guilt of his youthful narcissism that impeded his ability decode his brother’s personal troubles, but he asks smokers to quit as a memorial to his father who passed of lung cancer making this a pervasive trait of working to prove how much he loves his family even after they are gone. Additionally, the few people Nap is close to were all damaged by the same tragic night that still troubles him.

I found the plot exciting and surprising. The story starts fast and maintains the pace all the way to the end. Government conspiracy theories are common in the mystery genre, but it complements the theme of vigilante justice which I found interesting. The government can do extreme things in the name of national security, chasing an ideal of safety for all over the rights of an individual. We see this again the book with the persecution of a friendly homeless man whose presence in town is unsettling for some, and in Napoleon who involves himself in his friend, Ellie’s, work at a women’s shelter. All these situations show the subjectivity of right and wrong and why the rights and protections afforded by the legal system are important.

I like Maura. She was an interesting character. It is unique to find such a feral and independent woman. I only wish there had been more of her in the book. I would have liked to hear her story in more detail. I like that this book brings new understanding to Napoleon’s old relationships. People change over 15 years and if he misread his brother how well did he really know anyone else? It has many basic components but is an exceptional book. 10/10 for craftsmanship and for content.

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