Saturday, February 17, 2018
Books

Review: 'Stay Close' by Harlan Coben a family thriller of reinvented lives and a past that won't stay past Review: 'Stay Close' by Harlan Coben a family thriller of reinvented lives and a past that won't stay past

A hallmark of Harlan Coben's bestsellers has been his precise look at ordinary people caught up in extraordinary situations, forced to deal with violence and the seamy side of life. These family thrillers are hauntingly realistic, showing how characters who could be our neighbors — or ourselves — discover an inner resolve.

Coben's 22nd novel spins a new approach to his family thrillers. In the excellent Stay Close, Coben shows us three people who know too well the sleazy side of life and how they have either risen above their past, or fallen in its mire. Stay Close works well as a novel about past mistakes, fresh starts and regrets, showing the fragility of orderly lives.

Ray Levine, police detective Jack Broome and Megan Pierce are each bound, in some way, by the disappearance of Stewart Green 17 years ago in Atlantic City. Back then, Ray was a talented news photographer whose photos on the battlefield brought him acclaim and awards. Now he ekes out a living as a fake paparazzo "covering" events for the celebrity-fixated wealthy. Jack's investigation into Stewart's vanishing has become a mission for himself and for the man's family. Megan has reinvented herself as a suburban wife and mother of two, leaving behind the days when she was known as Cassie, an exotic dancer at an Atlantic City strip bar.

The disappearance of another man, 17 years to the day after Stewart vanished, pulls all three back together and kicks Broome's investigation into high gear.

Stay Close skillfully illustrates the effects of life-changing moments while delving deep into each character's psyche. Coben also weaves in the debilitating effects of physical and sexual abuse, showing how some people sadly accept this as part of their lives.

In Stay Close, Coben again shows his acumen for delving into our most intimate fears as he moves his story from quiet domesticity to sheer terror — all while keeping us highly entertained.

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‘Hello, Universe’ and ‘Wolf in the Snow’ top American Library Association awards for books for young readers

‘Hello, Universe’ and ‘Wolf in the Snow’ top American Library Association awards for books for young readers

The American Library Association announced its 2018 Youth Media Award winners Monday during its midwinter meeting in Denver.The annual awards honor books, video and audio for children and young adults and are highly regarded guides for booksellers, t...
Published: 02/16/18
Review: Paul Goldberg’s ‘The Chateau’ sets sharp political satire in a Florida condo

Review: Paul Goldberg’s ‘The Chateau’ sets sharp political satire in a Florida condo

The election is fraught with wild allegations and vicious character assassination, accusations of corruption and kickbacks, misspelled messages and outrageous debates — and of course the Russians have their hands all over it.The 2016 presidential rac...
Published: 02/16/18

Events: Dr. Steven Masley to discuss ‘Better Brain Solution’ in Tampa

Book TalkRoslyn Franken (Meant to Be: A True Story of Might, Miracles and Triumph of the Human Spirit) will discuss and sign her memoir at 2 p.m. Feb. 22 at Seminole Community Library, St. Petersburg College, Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N.Dr. Ste...
Published: 02/15/18
Lauren Doyle Owens’ ‘Other Side of Everything’ a suspenseful look at life and death in suburbia

Lauren Doyle Owens’ ‘Other Side of Everything’ a suspenseful look at life and death in suburbia

Adel Minor dies alone, in her three-bedroom ranch house in a South Florida suburb. It’s the fire people notice first, a column of smoke rising amid the 1960s ranch houses of Seven Springs, but once it’s put out the firefighters find Adel, a widow in ...
Published: 02/14/18
Jeremy McCarter, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s co-author, tells us what he’s reading

Jeremy McCarter, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s co-author, tells us what he’s reading

NightstandJeremy McCarterMcCarter, 41, is the co-author with Lin-Manuel Miranda of the book Hamilton: The Revolution. It was McCarter who introduced Miranda to Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of the Public Theater in New York, and that introducti...
Published: 02/14/18
Review: David Pedreira’s ‘Gunpowder Moon’ a gripping story of murder on the lunar surface

Review: David Pedreira’s ‘Gunpowder Moon’ a gripping story of murder on the lunar surface

Gunpowder Moon drops the reader right into the action — and I do mean drops."Dechert stood at the crater rim and looked down," David Pedreira writes in the opening line of his debut novel. "Dionysius was a monster — two miles deep and wide enough to ...
Published: 02/09/18
Amy Bloom’s ‘White Houses’ explores love between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok

Amy Bloom’s ‘White Houses’ explores love between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok

Imagine what it would be like to love someone who belongs to the whole world.When we fall in love, we always compete with other people and forces for our beloved’s attention. Amy Bloom’s smart and tender new novel, White Houses, takes us inside the e...
Published: 02/09/18
Crimes and passion: Three very different kinds of love story

Crimes and passion: Three very different kinds of love story

We love lovers’ stories that pit them against all sorts of obstacles, and these new books do just that — whether it’s a young couple struggling with an unthinkable separation, middle-aged lovers whose affair is heightened by religious guilt, or a guy...
Published: 02/09/18
Ryan McIlvain reads for the radical

Ryan McIlvain reads for the radical

NightstandRyan McIlvainMcIlvain, 35, is an English professor at the University of Tampa who received his MFA degree from Rutgers-Newark University and was awarded the Stegner Fellowship in Fiction at Stanford University. In his new novel, The Radi...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/12/18

Events: Pulitzer winner Wesley Lowery talks about ‘They Can’t Kill Us All’ at USF

Book TalkKeep St. Pete Lit and Friends of the Mirror Lake Library present author Steph Post (Walk in the Fire) discussing and signing her Florida noir novel at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at the library, 280 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg.Tampa Bay Times staff wr...
Published: 02/08/18