Most of us are acquainted with Harlan Coben’s novels featuring Myron Bolitar, the sports agent, but Hold Tight (Harlan Coben) does not feature Bolitar. Hold Tight portrays the dilemma of today’s parents, who desperately want to keep tabs on their children’s whereabouts while at the same time don’t want to appear overbearing or suffocating.
The story begins as two criminals, Nash and Pietra lure a woman, Marianne, into a long and very painful death. They then dress her up as a prostitute and leave her in a shady neighborhood.
Loren Muse is a police officer leading the investigation into Marianne’s murder, who although still a nameless victim, Muse detects is not a prostitute but a woman who has been carefully disguised to appear as one.
We are then introduced to the Baye family, Tia and Michael who have implanted a spying device on their teenage son Adam’s computer after he appears distant and quiet since his friend committed suicide. Although they are racked with a conscience, they still read his posts and discover he is going to a party to get wild with friends which concerns them.
Michael Baye, who is a transplant surgeon and is treating his neighbor’s child, Lucas Loriman who has leukemia, discovers that the father isn’t suitable as a donor which places Mike in the unpleasant predicament of informing the boy’s mother that the child is not from her husband.
We are also introduced to Jasmine, the daughter of Guy and Marianne (the victim). Jasmine was the subject of abuse by her teacher Joe Lewiston, who is friends with Baye’s daughter Jill. After discovering her father’s gun she tells Jill she intends to use it on Lewiston one day.
Meanwhile, Betsy Hill, the mother of the boy who committed suicide, discovers a photograph which reveals that her son had company shortly before his suicide, namely Adam Baye.
The story heats up as Mike follows his son to a shady district where he gets beaten up and put in the hospital. In the meantime, Nash and Pietra kill another woman and we now find out that he is a man deranged by grief from his wife’s passing. As events slowly come together, a connection appears between Marianne who is the mother of Jill, the teacher who humiliated her daughter and the seemingly random killings. And when the mother of Lucas Loriman reveals she was raped by Joe Lewiston’s brother, events all tie up seamlessly in a rousing conclusion.
Hold tight is an intricate tapestry which discusses the trials and tribulations of today’s youth as they struggle to make it socially, and the quandaries that face their parents as they try to balance leniency with responsibility. Although the story had so many angles I almost had trouble following it all, Coben ties it all together masterfully. There is always the tension and mystery throughout as various dramas escalate, and then the answers start spilling faster and faster as the book builds up to a very satisfying conclusion.
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Other reviews: Dan Brown – The Lost Symbol