Book Review–Six Years by Harlan Coben

Title: Six Years
Harlan Coben 
Electronic / Kindle 
Published:  2013


Harlan Coben writes three types of fiction now.  He has his ongoing mystery/thriller series with protagonist Myron Bolitar which chug along in a workmanlike fashion.  He’s recently jumped on the “I want that money too!” bandwagon of Young Adult fiction by creating a series around Bolitar’s nephew.

Six Years is one of the third type of Coben book; a stand-alone suspense thriller.   I first became aware of Coben a decade ago when his third stand-alone novel (Tell No One)  topped the charts.     Since then I’ve read all of his stand-alone books and enjoyed them.     Six Years  would probably fall in about the middle, quality- and enjoyment-wise.

The book’s protagonist, Jacob Fisher, tells the story in first person past-tense.  You spend the entire book riding alongside him while the events unfold.  As with most other stand-alone Coben thrillers, it’s a tale of an average guy with some sort of heartbreak in his past.  In this case, Fisher’s soul mate Natalie dumped him suddenly to marry her previous lover, extracting a promise from Fisher on her wedding day that he never try to find her and her husband again.   Six years later (hence the title) Fisher sees an obituary for Natalie’s husband on his employer’s alumni website.    He attends the funeral hoping to see Natalie again.

When the widow at the graveside service is not Natalie but another woman altogether we fall down the rabbit hole with Fisher, looking for Natalie and looking for answers to a rapidly mounting pile of questions.

The thrill of these types of novels comes from the high curiosity factor.  I plow ahead to find out what happens next and what on earth is behind it all.   That means that the more transparent the mystery the less of a thrill the book is.      Unlike Coben’s best works, the mystery is fairly easily sorted midway through. But it does take a bit longer to suss out than the simplistic webs of his lesser works, so I’d say all in all Six Years is a strong middle entry.

What to rate it?  Well, that’s where things get as complicated as a suspense thriller plot.  I’d honestly give this book two seperate ratings.

If you are just reading it around home or on lunch breaks in dribs and drabs I’d give it three bookworms.



Let’s say you’re on an airplane for five or six hours, in a chair on a beach under an umbrella or in the waiting room of a hospital while a loved one is having outpatient surgery.   In THAT case this is definitely a four bookworm book.    This is the kind of thing that works well for reading in those scenarios where you want to have your attention completely focused on something that compells you and takes your mind off the tedium but doesn’t require a huge lot of brainpower.
4 bookworms


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Sundays With The Bookworm | Just Another Pretty Farce
  2. EP
    Apr 09, 2013 @ 16:40:37

    I think that high curiosity factor you write of is what it’s all about. Now I’m curious about reading the thing.


  3. khurshauthor
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 13:15:08

    Good review. I agree with you, it’s standard and average Coben stand-alone fare, entertaining, not too deep, and only complicated by manipulatively withheld details. I don’t think Coben takes himself or writing too seriously and that keeps his stories fun. You keep up the good work!


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