Book Review – Win by Harlan Coben
My Rating – 4.5 out of 5
Plot Summary – Win
Firstly, among the many Harlan Coben novels that I have read, this is by far the most breathtakingly paced! To bring this into some perspective, Harlan Coben’s first few novels were rather slow and things got better as he kept writing, which is quite natural. Only a few hit the ground running and have a million copy bestseller as their debut novel. WIN is a corollary of the Myron Bolitar series, and those familiar with it will know of Myron’s best friend and diametrically opposite character – Windsor Horne Lockwood III, fondly known as Win.
Win is the narrator of the novel and by all his self-proclamations, comes across as an insufferable, egocentric, spoilt rich brat – much as a towering contrast to the self-effacing Myron. His gloating over himself and his privileges grate over the nerves sometimes, but if you are willing to overlook this persona as a piece of willing literary characterization, you would enjoy the story as an intricately plotted suspense thriller with a rather tame twist at the end.
A recluse living in upper most floor of an upscale apartment is murdered and amongst his possessions are a Vermeer painting stolen from the Lockwood collection decades ago and a leather briefcase belonging to the current Lockwood III. But Win doesn’t even know the man, later identified as Ry Strauss. Ry Strauss is also traced back to an anarchist movement of the 1970’s, in which a group of six people hurled bombs into an empty building but collateral damage claimed a few lives. All had vanished at the time and were never found – one had surrendered many years later – till the murder of their leader, Ry Strauss.
Various layers are slowly revealed and more plot-lines are woven into the first narrative. Patricia and Uncle Aldrich (Win’s cousin and Uncle) play prominent roles in the narrative, owing to their roles in the two decade old incident which have forever marred Patricia’s life. The involvement of the FBI into the investigation of Ry Strauss’s murder and the hitherto unsolved Jane Street 6 debacle from four decades ago add further twist to the tale. Though there is no literary depth to the way the story is told, not that many would expect it from novels of this kind, it is exciting to read as an one time read which is quite the page turner.
Conclusion – Win Book Review
The intricate plotting and continuous twists and turns make this an intriguing read and because this is written in a fast paced manner, one ends up rushing through the book in double quick time. Myron Bolitar, though not present in person throughout the book, makes his presence felt by virtue of the references made to him, his sayings, mannerisms and incidents involving him in flashback. The characters are well developed and a common vein running throughout the novel is the fact that the rich can get away with a lot, escape punishment for large parts of their lives by virtue of being able to suppress facts and buy their way through investigations.
All said and done, this is a book that you’d not mind reading, particularly if you are looking for quick fire entertainment of the thriller kind! I was particularly pleased with the fact that this was written with a sense of urgency that transmits itself to the reader and grips you while you are reading it. So, happy reading, if quick fire entertainers are what you are looking for!
*I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed writing it, do watch this space for more such reviews!*