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Six Years    by Harlan Coben order for
Six Years
by Harlan Coben
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Harlan Coben can always be counted on for an unusual and gripping thriller and he delivers that again in Six Years. It opens on Jake Fisher (a college professor 'built like a lumberjack') watching the love of his life, Natalie, as she inexplicably marries another man, an old boyfriend named Todd. After the ceremony she meets Jake briefly to extract a promise from him, to stay away and leave her and her new husband alone.

Six years later, Jake reads Todd's obituary in the newspaper and decides that it's time to break his promise and track down his lost love to see if they can rekindle the primordial feelings they had for each other. His way is blocked at every turn and what he does discover contradicts everything he remembers of the moments of bliss that he and Natalie shared together. He discovers that Todd was happily married to someone else before his untimely death. And he soon learns that he is not the only one seeking Natalie, as his quest pulls him into a maelstrom of violence and death.

Jake has help and encouragement from his best friend, African American Benedict, a humanities prof. He consults an associate, Shanta, with strong links to the FBI, and gets a runaround. And he finds links between Todd and his own old mentor, now retired, and to an organization named Fresh Start. A bewildered Jake wonders what is going on as he fights for his own survival and for Natalie's, wherever she might be. Does he find her? You'll have to read the book to find out, but it's well worth your time, highly recommended!

2nd Review by Mary Ann Smyth:

Jake Fisher found the love of his life and he and Natalie Avery spent idyllic time together until the day he received an invitation to her wedding to another man! At the wedding, she made him promise to stay away from her forever. For six years he kept that promise.

The trouble was he hadn't promised to forget her. He couldn't. But he moved on in his life and became a college professor. Taught his classes and lived a sedentary life until the day, he saw an obituary for her husband. Feeling it wouldn't be out of line to track her down, he starts a search for her. He attends the man's funeral and discovers that the deceased's wife is not Natalie!

What is going on here? He decides he won't give up searching, not knowing the morass he is delving into. Six Years by Harlan Coben is as good reading as his twenty-three previous novels. He must be doing something right. His ready wit is intact. His insight into his players' personalities is spot on. It is a fast read only because you can't put it down. I kept trying to solve the mystery of Natalie's disappearance and never even came close to the answer.

Suspense, intrigue, excitement and a very compelling reason not to text while driving. (Page 73). Wonderful plot. Life-like characters. Dynamic ending. Well done, Mr. Coben. Thank you.

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