Author: Harlan Coben
Series: Mickey Bolitar #3
Genre: YA Crime
Summary (from Goodreads)
It’s been eight months since Mickey Bolitar witnessed the tragic death of his father.
Eight months of lies, dark secrets and unanswered questions.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Mickey’s sophomore year of high school brings on a whole new set of troubles. Spoon is in hospital, Rachel won’t tell him where he stands, his basketball team-mates hate him . . . and then there’s Ema’s surprise announcement: she has an online boyfriend and he’s vanished.
Whilst searching for Ema’s missing boyfriend(who may not even exist!), Mickey gets roped into helping his nemesis, Troy Taylor, with a big problem.
All the while, Mickey and his friends are pulled deeper into the mysteries surrounding the Abeona Shelter – until the shocking climax, where Mickey finally comes face-to-face with the truth about his father.
One of the things I like about this series is that it feels very authentically ‘teen.’ I’ve seen some reviews criticising that Mickey is basically a carbon copy of his uncle, Myron. I can’t comment on this, as I’ve never read any of Harlan Coben’s adult novels, but even if Mickey is a carbon copy – the themes explored in the story are very teenage.
While there’s the mystery of Ema’s missing boyfriend and a case of a failed steroids test, and the ongoing case of the Abeona Shelter and the work done by the mysterious Bat Lady, the story is much more to do with the struggle to find your identity – something I think many teens will really relate to.
Mickey wants a taste of what it’s like to be a part of a team, one of the lads. Ema struggles with the duality of online relationships – the intimacy of being able to talk without identity, but the knowledge that it could all be fake. And Spoon has to deal with the fallout of the previous novel, and the impact that has on who he is.
I really like the central trio’s changing relationships as well, particularly between Mickey and Ema, and the new role that Spoon has to play. Their interaction is awkward, self-centred at times, and just authentically teenaged. Their voices were so well done – even when the story strayed into cheese territory, I couldn’t help but love the characters. And to the story’s credit, it’s not afraid to show that bad things happen to people trying to do the right thing.
I’m not sure if this is intended to be the final instalment in a trilogy or just another in the series. Certainly things were wrapped up (a little cheesily) in a way that suggested an ending, but enough was left open that the potential is there for further instalments.
Either way, this was a really enjoyable read.