Hold Tight by Harlan Coben

I picked up the paperback edition of Hold Tight by Harlan Coben last week. I've been reading nothing but nonfiction lately so I needed a fiction fix. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of starting it when I was riding home from the high school art competition on Saturday. Big mistake.

As a result, the family had leftovers Saturday night because I didn't want to put the book down. Even worse, I stayed up all night to finish it because once I was on that accelerating train, I couldn't put it down even though the subject matter, parental fear about the many things that can destroy a teen's life, isn't one of my favorite things to read. There's just too much crap in real life that can entrap a teen and destroy lives so it's not my idea of a fun entertainment.

Pushed My Buttons

I'll confess the book pushed my buttons beginning with the back cover quote from the New York Times: "A thriller for the Google era." Yep. That did it. Ring up the sale. I like technological thrillers and mind-expanding ideas, and I usually learn something from them.

The interesting thing is that the book is a slow build. Sure, it begins with a hook that's just plain good writing. That leads to a horrific scene that let's you know real fast what you're in for yet it's nowhere near as graphic as any of the TV shows dealing with forensic evidence and crime scenes.

Then the story unfolds with increasing tension as a normal man copes with situations beyond his experience. A novel is characterized by rising motion, and this certainly can be described that way. You get locked into this man's emotional agony, and you root for him to save his kid.

My Only Quibble

I'm not a big fan of coincidence which figures prominently in the book. I know the author was reaching for the subtlety of "6 degrees of separation" rather than coincidence. The average reader probably saw it as "6 degrees." We writers are just a more critical bunch, a fact which I wish wasn't true since it takes away some of the pleasure of reading.

You'll like the normal relationships expressed by the husband and wife who "star" in the book, and you'll be glad it's them going through the parental trial by fire, not you.

Takeaway Truth

Nothing beats a good book for engrossing entertainment, and Hold Tight is certainly that.


  1. I devour Coben. He's definitely what I discussed as a 'dessert book' on my blog the other day. I'm a huge fan of "slower" starts and escalating trouble. (Must be why I write that way!)

  2. Hi, Terry. Yes, there's something delicious about anticipation, isn't there?

  3. I'd like to thank you for your comment about "slower" starts. It helped me coagulate thoughts for my latest blog post, "Epiphanies: Secrets of Wealth, Sex & Orange Soda" at http://canthook.com/node/994

    My style is to start out slow, ramble about aimlessly, and just sort've fizzle out altogether. Or sumpin like that.

    In any case, I've included a little link love to both your blogs. If either of you would prefer different pix of yourselves, please let me know. Joan's is too small; I generally try for pix about 240x320.

    I've been a regular follower of Sling Words for some time now, as Joan knows. I've just discovered your blog, Terry, but it looks delicious, and I've added it to my Sharpreader.

    And may you both enjoy bountiful aliquots of wealth, love, (and not to be ignored, orange ice cream soda.)

  4. Thanks, Harl - I've left a comment on your blog post elaborating a bit on what I meant by "slow". Glad you've discovered Terry's Place.

  5. Thanks, Harl, and I enjoyed your post. I just may quote you on Written Wisdom.


  6. Wisdom is such A high standard. January and February is coming, and I live in Pennsylvania. I'd hate to be caught without a hat that fits. It's a shame you don't have an Opinionated Glurge instead....

  7. Harl, I'm sure they sell hats in inflated sizes. You're too self-deprecating for me to fear you'll develop "le big head."


  8. I picked 'Reviews' from your sidebar so I could say that I noticed NOISES OFF in your favourite films. I loved that film - just roared laughing - it was clever and funny and could cure illness I think.

    having got here (Reviews) I find Harlan Coben, another thing I love. I got Promise Me as a gift and was hooked, and read my way through his back catalogue. Just love his psycho-Preppy character, great plots, and gentle observance. A great read.

  9. Hey, BwcaBrownie. Nice to meet another Noises Off fan. It still cracks me up. And you like Coben too? Sweet!