Sunday, 7 April 2013

HARLAN COBEN - PLAY DEAD


Synopsis/blurb......

Ex fashion model and successful business woman Laura Ayars' perfect world is shattered at a time which should have been the happiest of her life. On her honeymoon, her sports superstar husband goes for a swim - and never returns. But what has happened to David - can he really be dead? Whilst struggling to cope with her almost overwhelming grief, Laura is plagued by questions and doubts. Was it an accident? Or suicide? Or is it some terrible, ill-judged hoax? As events begin to unfold, Laura starts to question David's mysterious disappearance. She begins to uncover a conspiracy which reaches deep into the past, and is now slowly beginning to destroy everyone involved. Someone will do anything to keep Laura away from the awful truth - and she has no idea who she can trust . . .

I’ve read a few of Coben’s books in the last 6 or 7 months. My wife enjoys his stories and if she reads something I usually follow on a few months later. This was a reprint of Coben’s first book published back around 1990. He does write a forward in which he gently attempts to steer people away from this and in the direction of another of his books first. About halfway through reading this I could sort of guess why......if I had picked this as my first Coben read, I probably wouldn’t come back to him at all.

Perfect Laura was an imperfect physical specimen of a child, but having overcome those awkward school years with the help of her sister who sort of looked more perfect than her at this stage, she blossomed through puberty into.....how to say it......a perfect physical specimen who became the world’s greatest superstar fashion model, aided by her perfect feet, perfect legs, perfect butt, perfect hips, perfect waist, perfect breasts, perfect neck, perfect mouth, perfect lips, perfect nose, perfect eyes, perfect ears and beautiful hair.....which was always styled to perfection. I think her perfect posture may have also helped. After retiring from modelling, she decided to become a successful businesswoman. Everyone laughed, everyone mocked, everyone scorned her, but do you know what? She was absolutely perfect at it. Fast forward a bit, she meets David. He’s a world class mega-smega-superstar basketball player, whose pretty perfect.....perfect looks, perfect bank account, and where does he find the time to do all that charity work for the children? They fall in love, they marry.........at this stage I wanted them to quickly pop out a child, because I was kind of curious to see if it would be ....perfect.....but I’m digressing.......

The wheels fall off, Laura’s family has secrets, you know dark ones that will come back to haunt you. David disappears, and I was thinking.....wait - perhaps it has something to do with dark secrets from Laura’s past. Without giving too much away, Laura’s world goes all imperfect for a fair few hundred pages or so, and she doesn’t know who to trust, apart from Australian Graham.

Still I needn’t have worried as we were safe in Harlan’s hands.

Unbelievable plot, unbelievable characters, unbelievable reactions from unbelievable characters to unbelievable situations. If he could have addressed those minor flaws, it would have been perfect.

2 from 5, on the basis that I didn’t quite reach the point where I wanted to commit hari-kari with my bookmark whilst reading.

My copy was bought last year probably second hand, can’t remember to be truthful.
 
PS, I will no doubt read him again and I'll look forward to it. Generally I've enjoyed his books in the past, this was a stinker though.

2 comments:

  1. Col - Oh, I've had that happen too, where I get terribly disappointed in a book by an author whose work I've liked. To be honest, I like Coben's Myron Bolitar novels better than the standalones. But that could be just me...

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    1. Margot, I can forgive him this, and to be honest he did sort of warn people away from it.
      I'll get to the Bolitar books as and when my wife reads them. She doesn't read as much as me, sometimes she actually likes to talk to the rest of the family!
      I've tracked down the Christie, Rendell and Sayers books you recommended, hopefully in the next month or two I can get a couple read,
      Thanks,
      Col

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