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Caught

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Overview

Reporter Wendy Tynes is making a name for herself, bringing down sexual offenders on nationally-televised sting operations. But when social worker Dan Mercer walks into her trap, and is tied to the disappearance of a seventeen-year-old New Jersey girl, the shocking consequences will have Wendy doubting her instincts about the motives of the people around her.

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Caught

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Overview

Reporter Wendy Tynes is making a name for herself, bringing down sexual offenders on nationally-televised sting operations. But when social worker Dan Mercer walks into her trap, and is tied to the disappearance of a seventeen-year-old New Jersey girl, the shocking consequences will have Wendy doubting her instincts about the motives of the people around her.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Coben (Hold Tight) has a knack for taking everyday nightmares and playing with life’s endless “what ifs,” as shown in this stand-alone thriller, a tightly choreographed dance of guilt and innocence, forgiveness and retribution. Frank Tremont, a world-weary, near-retirement investigator for New Jersey’s Essex County, has to face his failure to solve his last case—the disappearance of a teenage girl. Meanwhile, Dan Mercer stands accused of being a sexual predator thanks to the ambush journalism of Wendy Tynes, a tabloid TV reporter, who must cope with her husband’s death caused by a drunken driver as well as reckon with the possibility of Mercer’s innocence. When Tynes finds a link between a father of one of Mercer’s alleged victims and others felled by scandal, she could become a killer’s next victim. If the wealth of characters dilutes the suspense, Coben gives readers lots to think about when judging rights and wrongs. 500,000 first printing; 12-city author tour. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Teenager Haley McWaid doesn't come home one night, and when months go by without a word her parents assume the worst. Reporter Wendy Tynes conducts a sexual predator sting, working with the local police to capture men on camera and later televising the footage. Her latest suspect is community social worker Dan Mercer, and those who know him can't believe he's guilty. Tynes begins to question her instincts, but she carries on with her investigation, which reveals a shocking link between Mercer and the missing Haley, with aftershocks that will destroy a community. VERDICT Coben is in top form exposing the dark underside of modern suburbia. The story will chill readers, especially parents of teenagers. Complex and intricate, this is his best book since Promise Me. Don't escape, get Caught. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/09.]—Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451232700
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/22/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 98,009
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben is the winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony awards. His critically acclaimed novels have been published in thirty-seven languages around the world and have been number one bestsellers in more than half a dozen countries. In addition to the Myron Bolitar series (Deal Breaker, Drop Shot, Fade Away, Back Spin, One False Move, The Final Detail, Darkest Fear, Promise Me, and Long Lost), he is also the author of Tell No One, Gone for Good, No Second ChanceJust One LookThe Innocent, The Woods, and Hold Tight

Biography

Harlan Coben may be the only mystery writer to have inspired the dubious endorsement, "Raymond Chandler meets Bridget Jones" (as the Chicago Tribune wrote about Darkest Fear). But it's not hard to see what the critic means: Coben knows how to create a good chase, but he is also adept at generating laughs along the way. His books often start with a few pieces of bad news and end with the closet door flung open to reveal a few skeletons.

Debuting in 1995, the series that cemented Coben's reputation revolves around Myron Bolitar, a wisecracking sports agent who always finds himself getting into trouble, via his clients or his own past. What's endearing about these books is Coben's willingness to have fun as he spins a story. He might poke fun the yuppie wardrobe of Bolitar's partner, Win, or his gal Friday (and sometime female wrestler), Big Cyndi's, tendency to wear "more makeup than the cast of Cats." There's a slight boys' club air to the series, but it's more frat house than locker room -- or more appropriately, rec room, since Bolitar finds himself still living at his parents' in his early 30s.

Sports-averse readers should not avoid the Bolitar books; in the end, sports play only a peripheral role in the story, which is primarily about the mystery. Given this, it's not surprising that Coben has called William Goldman's Marathon Man one of his favorite thrillers and has cited Philip Roth and Alfred Hitchcock as influences.

And yes, there's certainly life beyond Bolitar! Coben has crafted a number of superb stand-alone thrillers filled with tortuous twists and turns and peopled with characters you can't help but root for. In a 2001 interview, the author stated, "I love a book that sneaks up behind you at the end and slaps you in the back of the head." Ultimately, that describes everything in Harlan Coben's oeuvre.

Good To Know

Coben has four children with wife Anne, his sweetheart since age 20.

Coben advises aspiring writers thusly: "Write. Don't take classes. Don't join workshops. Don't listen to me," he told the Charlotte Austin Review. "Just write. Oh, and cut. Cut a lot. You're probably not editing yourself enough. Then rewrite. Then rewrite again. Repeat. Like with shampooing."

Coben says his mother was his best literary inspiration in an interview with the Page One literary newsletter. "We'd go to the old Barnes & Noble in Manhattan (back then, if you can believe this, I think there was only one) and spend the entire day. We didn't have much money back then and we almost never bought toys -- but we were always allowed to get whatever books we wanted."

In our interview, Coben shared more fun facts:

"I once worked as a tour guide in the Costa del Sol of Spain."

"I pretty much only wear Lilly Pulitzer ties because my best friend owns the company."

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    1. Hometown:
      Ridgewood, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 4, 1962
    2. Place of Birth:
      Newark, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.A. in political science, Amherst College, 1984
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

I knew opening that red door would destroy my life.

Yes, that sounds melodramatic and full of foreboding and I’m not big on either, and true, there was nothing menacing about the red door. In fact, the door was beyond ordinary, wood and four-paneled, the kind of door you see standing guard in front of three out of every four suburban homes, with faded paint and a knocker at chest level no one ever used and a faux brass knob.

But as I walked toward it, a distant streetlight barely illuminating my way, the dark opening yawning like a mouth ready to gobble me whole, the feeling of doom was unshakeable. Each step forward took great effort as if I were walking not along a somewhat crackled walk but through still-wet cement. My body displayed all the classic symptoms of impending menace: Chill down my spine? Check. Hairs standing up on my arms? Yep. Prickle at the base of the neck? Present. Tingle in the scalp? Right there.

The house was dark, not a single light on. Chynna warned me that would be the case. The dwelling somehow seemed a little too cookie-cutter, a little too nondescript. That bothered me for some reason. This house was also isolated at the tippy end of the cul-de-sac, hunkering down in the darkness as though fending off intruders.

I didn’t like it.

I didn’t like anything about this, but this is what I do. When Chynna called I had just finished coaching the inner-city fourth-grade Newark Biddy Basketball team. My team, all kids who, like me, were products of foster care (we call ourselves the NoRents, which is short for No Parents—gallows humor), had managed to blow a six-point lead with two minutes left. On the court as in life, the NoRents aren’t great under pressure.

Chynna called as I was gathering my young hoopsters for my postgame pep talk, which usually consisted of giving my charges some life-altering insight like “Good effort,” “We’ll get them next time,” or “Don’t forget we have a game next Thursday,” always ending with “Hands in” and then we yell, “Defense,” choosing to chant that word, I suppose, because we play none.

“Dan?”

“Who is this?”

“It’s Chynna. Please come.”

Her voice trembled, so I dismissed my team, jumped in my car, and now I was here. I hadn’t even had time to shower. The smell of gym sweat mixed now with the smell of fear sweat. I slowed my pace.

What was wrong with me?

I probably should have showered, for one thing. I’m not good without a shower. Never have been. But Chynna had been adamant. Now, she had begged. Before anyone got home. So here I was, my gray T-shirt darkened with perspiration and clinging to my chest, heading to that door.

Like most youngsters I work with, Chynna was seriously troubled, and maybe that was what was setting off the warning bells. I hadn’t liked her voice on the phone, hadn’t really warmed to this whole setup. Taking a deep breath, I glanced behind me. In the distance, I could see some signs of life on this suburban night—house lights, a flickering television or maybe computer monitor, an open garage door—but in this cul-de-sac, there was nothing, not a sound or movement, just a hush in the dark.

My cell phone vibrated, nearly making me jump out of my skin. I figured that it was Chynna, but no, it was Jenna, my ex-wife. I hit answer and said, “Hey.”

“Can I ask a favor?” she asked.

“I’m a little busy right now.”

“I just need someone to babysit tomorrow night. You can bring Shelly if you want.”

“Shelly and I are, uh, having trouble,” I said.

“Again? But she’s great for you.”

“I have trouble holding on to great women.”

“Don’t I know it.”

Jenna, my lovely ex, has been remarried for eight years. Her new husband is a well-respected surgeon named Noel Wheeler. Noel does volunteer work for me at the teen center. I like Noel and he likes me. He has a daughter by a previous marriage, and he and Jenna have a six-year-old girl named Kari. I’m Kari’s godfather, and both kids call me Uncle Dan. I’m the family go-to babysitter.

I know this all sounds very civilized and Pollyanna, and I suppose it is. In my case, it could be simply a matter of necessity. I have no one else—no parents, no siblings—ergo, the closest thing I have to family is my ex-wife. The kids I work with, the ones I advocate for and try to help and defend, are my life, and in the end I’m not sure I do the slightest bit of good.

Jenna said, “Earth to Dan?”

“I’ll be there,” I said to her.

“Six thirty. You’re the best.”

Jenna made a smooching noise into the mouthpiece and hung up. I looked at the phone for a moment, remembered our own wedding day. It was a mistake for me to get married. It is a mistake for me to get too close to people, and yet I can’t help it. Someone cue the violins so I can wax philosophical about how it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. I don’t think that applies to me. It is in humans’ DNA to repeat the same mistakes, even after we know better. So here I am, the poor orphan who scraped his way up to the top of his class at an elite Ivy League school but never really scraped off who he was. Corny, but I want someone in my life. Alas, that is not destiny. I am a loner who isn’t meant to be alone.

“We are evolution’s refuse, Dan. . . .”

My favorite foster “dad” taught me that. He was a college professor who loved to get into philosophical debates.

“Think about it, Dan. Throughout mankind, the strongest and brightest did what? They fought in wars. That only stopped this past century. Before that, we sent our absolute best to fight on the front lines. So who stayed home and reproduced while our finest died on distant battlefields? The lame, the sick, the weak, the crooked, the cowardly—in short, the least of us. That’s what we are the genetic byproduct of, Dan—millenniums of weeding out the premium and keeping the flotsam. That’s why we are all garbage—the worst leftovers from centuries of bad breeding.”

I forgo the knocker and rapped on the door lightly with my knuckles. The door creaked open a crack. I hadn’t realized that it was ajar.

I didn’t like that either. A lot I didn’t like here.

As a kid, I watched a lot of horror movies, which was strange because I hated them. I hated things jumping out at me. And I really couldn’t stand movie gore. But I would still watch them and revel in the predictably moronic behavior of the heroines, and right now those scenes were replaying in my head, the ones where said moronic heroine knocks on a door and it opens a little and you scream, “Run, you scantily clad bimbo!” and she wouldn’t and you couldn’t understand it and two minutes later, the killer would be scooping out her skull and munching on her brain.

I should go right now.

In fact, I will. But then I flashed back to Chynna’s call, to the words she’d said, the trembling in her voice. I sighed, leaned my face toward the opening, peered into the foyer.

Darkness.

Enough with the cloak and dagger.

“Chynna?”

My voice echoed. I expected silence. That would be the next step, right? No reply. I slip the door open a little, take a tentative step forward . . .

“Dan? I’m in the back. Come in.”

The voice was muffled, distant. Again I didn’t like this, but there was no way I was backing out now. Backing out had cost me too much throughout my life. My hesitation was gone. I knew what had to be done now.

I opened the door, stepped inside, and closed the door behind me.

Others in my position would have brought a gun or some kind of weapon. I had thought about it. But that just doesn’t work for me. No time to worry about that now. No one was home. Chynna had told me that. And if they were, well, I would handle that when the moment came.

“Chynna?”

“Go to the den, I’ll be there in a second.”

The voice sounded . . . off. I saw a light at the end of the hall and moved toward it. There was a noise now. I stopped and listened. Sounded like water running. A shower maybe.

“Chynna?”

“Just changing. Out in a second.”

I moved into the low-lit den. I saw one of those dimmer switch knobs and debated turning it up, but in the end I chose to leave it alone. My eyes adjusted pretty quickly. The room had cheesy wood paneling that looked as if it was made from something far closer to vinyl than anything in the timber family. There were two portraits of sad clowns with huge flowers on their lapels, the kind of painting you might pick up at a particularly tacky motel’s garage sale. There was a giant open bottle of no-name vodka on the bar.

I thought I heard somebody whisper.

“Chynna?” I called out.

No answer. I stood, listened for more whispering. Nothing.

I started toward the back, toward where I heard the shower running.

“I’ll be right out,” I heard the voice say. I pulled up, felt a chill. Because now I was closer to the voice. I could hear it better. And here was the thing I found particularly strange about it:

It didn’t sound at all like Chynna.

Three things tugged at me. One, panic. This wasn’t Chynna. Get out of the house. Two, curiosity. If it wasn’t Chynna, who the hell was it and what was going on? Three, panic again. It had been Chynna on the phone—so what had happened to her?

I couldn’t just run out now.

I took one step toward where I’d come in, and that was when it all happened.

A spotlight snapped on in my face, blinding me. I stumbled back, hand coming up to my face.

“Dan Mercer?”

I blinked. Female voice. Professional. Deep tone. Sounded oddly familiar.

“Who’s there?”

Suddenly there were other people in the room. A man with a camera. Another with what looked liked a boom mike. And the female with the familiar voice, a stunning woman with chestnut brown hair and a business suit.

“Wendy Tynes, Eyewitness News. Why are you here, Dan?”

I opened my mouth, nothing came out. I recognized the woman from that TV newsmagazine . . .

“Why have you been conversing online in a sexual manner with a thirteen year-old girl, Dan? We have your communications with her.”

. . . the one that sets up and catches pedophiles on camera for all the world to see.

“Are you here to have sex with a twelve-year-old girl?”

The truth of what was going on here hits me, freezing my bones. Other people flooded the room. Producers maybe. Another cameraman. Two cops. The cameras come in closer. The lights get brighter. Beads of sweat pop up on my brow. I start to stammer, start to deny.

But it’s over.

Two days later, the show airs. The world sees.

And the life of Dan Mercer, just as I somehow knew when I approached that door, is destroyed.

• * *

When Marcia McWaid first saw her daughter’s empty bed, panic did not set in. That would come later.

She had woken up at six am, early for Saturday morning, feeling pretty terrific. Ted, her husband of twenty years, slept in the bed next to her. He lay on his stomach, his arm around her waist. Ted liked to sleep with a shirt on and no pants. None. Nude from the waist down. “Gives my man down there room to roam,” he would say with a smirk. And Marcia, imitating her daughters’ teenage singsong tone, would say, “T-M-I”—Too Much Information.

Marcia slipped out of his grip and padded down to the kitchen. She made herself a cup of coffee with the new Keurig pod machine. Ted loved gadgets—boys and their toys—but this one actually got some use. You take the pod, you stick it in the machine—presto, coffee. No video screens, no touch pad, no wireless connectivity. Marcia loved it.

They’d recently finished an addition on the house—one extra bedroom, one bathroom, the kitchen knocked out a bit with a glassed-in nook. The kitchen nook offered oodles of morning sun and had thus become Marcia’s favorite spot in the house. She took her coffee and the newspaper and set herself on the window seat folding her feet beneath her.

A small slice of heaven.

She let herself read the paper and sip her coffee. In a few minutes she would have to check the schedule. Ryan, her third grader, had the early Hoops Basketball game at eight am. Ted coached. His team was winless for the second straight season.

“Why do your teams never win?” Marcia had asked him.

“I draft the kids based on two criteria.”

“That being?”

“How nice the father—and how hot the mom.”

She had slapped at him playfully and maybe Marcia would have been somewhat concerned if she hadn’t seen the moms on the sideline and knew, for certain, that he had to be joking. Ted was actually a great coach, not in terms of strategy but in terms of handling the boys. They all loved him and his lack of competiveness so that even the untalented players, the ones who were usually discouraged and quit during the season, showed up every week. Ted even took the Bon Jovi song and turned it around, “You give losing a good name.” The kids would laugh and cheer every basket and when you’re in third grade that’s how it should be.

Marcia’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Patricia, had rehearsal for the freshman play, an abridged version of the musical Les Miserables. She had several small parts, but that didn’t seem to affect the workload. And her oldest child, Haley, the high school senior, was running a “captain’s practice” for the girls’ lacrosse team. Captain’s practices were unofficial, a way to sneak in early practices under the guidelines issued by high school sports. In short, no coaches, nothing official, just a casual gathering, glorified pickup games if you will, run by the captains.

Like most suburban parents, Marcia had a love-hate relationship with sports. She knew the relative long-term irrelevancy and yet still managed to get caught up in it.

A half hour of peace to start the day. That was all she needed.

She finished the first cup, pod-made herself a second, picked up the “Styles” section of the paper. The house remained silent. She padded upstairs and looked over her charges. Ryan slept on his side, his face conveniently facing the door so that his mother could notice the echo of his father.

Patricia’s room was next. She too was still sleeping.

“Honey?”

Patricia stirred, might have made a noise. Her room, like Ryan’s, looked as if someone had strategically placed sticks of dynamite in the drawers, blowing them open; some clothes sprawled dead on the floor, others lay wounded midway, clinging to the armoire like the fallen on a barricade before the French Revolution.

“Patricia? You have rehearsal in an hour.”

“I’m up,” she groaned in a voice that indicated she was anything but. Marcia moved to the next room, Haley’s, and took a quick peek.

The bed was empty.

It was also made, but that was no surprise. Unlike her siblings’ abodes, this one was neat, clean, anally organized. It could be a showroom in a furniture store. There were no clothes on this floor, every drawer fully closed. The trophies—and there were many—were perfectly aligned on four shelves. Ted had put in the fourth shelf just recently, after Haley’s team had won the holiday tournament in Franklin Lakes. Haley had painstakingly divided up the trophies among the four shelves, not wanting the new one to have only one. Marcia was not sure why exactly. Part of it was because Haley didn’t want it to look like she was just waiting for more to come, but more of it was her general abhorrence to disorganization. She kept each trophy equidistant from the others, moving them closer together as more came in, three inches separating them, then two, then one. Haley was about balance. She was the good girl and while that was a wonderful thing—a girl who was ambitious, did her homework without being asked, never wanted others to think badly of her, ridiculously competitive—there was a tightly wound aspect, a quasi-OCD quality, that worried Marcia.

Marcia wondered what time Haley had gotten home. Haley didn’t have a curfew anymore because there had simply never been a need. She was responsible and a senior and never took advantage. Marcia had been tired and gone up to sleep at ten. Ted, in his constant state of “randy,” soon followed her.

Marcia was about to move on, let it go, when something, she couldn’t say what, made her decide to throw in a load of laundry. She started toward Haley’s bathroom. The younger siblings, Ryan and Patricia, believed that “hamper” was a euphemism for “floor” or really “anyplace but the hamper,” but Haley, of course, dutifully, religiously, and nightly put the clothes she’d worn that day into the hamper. And that was when Marcia started to feel a small rock form in her chest.

There were no clothes in the hamper.

The rock in her chest grew when Marcia checked Haley’s toothbrush, then the sink and shower.

All bone-dry.

The rock grew when she called out to Ted, trying to keep the panic out of her voice. It grew when they drove to captain’s practice and found out that Haley had never showed. It grew when she called Haley’s friends while Ted sent out an e-mail blast—and no one knew where Haley was. It grew when they called the local police, who, despite Marcia’s and Ted’s protestations, believed that Haley was a runaway, a kid blowing off some steam. It grew when, forty-eight hours later, the FBI was brought in. It grew when there was still no sign of Haley after a week.

It was as if the earth had swallowed her whole.

A month passed. Nothing. Then two. Still no word. And then finally, during the third month, word came—and the rock that had grown in Marcia’s chest, the one that wouldn’t let her breathe and kept her up nights, stopped growing.

Excerpt from CAUGHT by Harlan Coben © 2010.
Published by Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA). All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 794 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 795 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    CAUGHT

    WOW!! What A Story!!

    I don't want to tell you too much because I don't want to spoil any of the suspense the builds throughout this book but here are the basics:

    This is the story of high school senior, Haley McWaid, the pride of her family, good grades, never gets in trouble, a little obsessive compulsive who doesn't come home one night and goes missing.

    It is also the story of Dan Mercer, a social worker, who works with troubled teens, who may be a sexual predator, as he is "CAUGHT" by a television show, hosted by Wendy Tynes who is on a mission to expose internet predators. It also delves into the lives of Dan's old college roommates and how they may have complicated Dan's life. The whole thing leaves Wendy worrying about who she can trust.

    This story takes more twists and turns than an old country road and you better be belted in. It is a story filled with tension, stress, pressure, that challenges the reader. It is a thrilling, gripping, spine tingling novel that deals with things that could only be seen on television setting up shop in this community.

    Harlan Coben takes all these plots and ties them together in what I believe will be the best book I read this year.
    You will be "CAUGHT" from the first page and you will not be RELEASED even after the last word.
    If you have not Pre-ordered this book, you should do it NOW.
    This is definitely not a book to me missed.

    http://dollycas.blogspot.com/

    25 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    !

    Thanks to harriet klausner and all the other plot spoiling posts, here is another book ruined. Why cant u ppl learn to write a review and not a book report, cliff notes and dissertations. Most ppl like to read a book and be surprised. When u tell every detail u ruin ior others. These ppl should be banned from posting their plot reveals.

    15 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Save Your Money...

    I was OK with it up until about mid-way through. Then the number of inplausible events started to multiply into the silly. There are many twists and turns throughout the second half of the book, one more unbelievable (in not a good way...) than the next. In the end, I was very annoyed that I stuck it out through the entire book. Not worth the money...and certainly not worth the time!

    12 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2010

    Such a Let down

    I have read most of his books, and i was quite excited when i saw that he came out with a new one. I went right to the store and bought it. It is an easy read, but over-all a complete let down. The whole time i was reading it, it seemed like it wasnt even him that wrote it. It was like the publishers were like you need a new book, so write one. Well no good. It will never be a timeless classic due to its use of the way too modernized use of "facebook" and "twitter" when i read those in there it ruined it for me. Honestly the end was good, but as a whole i give this book a thumbs down. And to everyone that has only read this book by Coben, try not to let it ruin his other books because honestly he has some pretty amazing other books. Really try reading Gone for Good, or Tell No one. These two books are absolutely amazing.

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Bitterly Disapointing

    I am a great fan of Harlan Coban. I have read all his books and usually clamour for more. I was eager to start reading his new book, Caught, and was certain that I would stay awake till all hours in order to finish it.
    Oh, but what a bitter disappointment I encountered. This book is boring, boring, and more boring. The plot is poorly created, the characters lack in luster. Coban has tried to create a modern day social problem, that of child molestation in the suburbs, and has infused it with corny dialogue and poor literary style. The only saving grace of this immaturely written novel, is that the reader gets a glimpse of Win, a character we have seen in Coban's more exciting former books. Unfortunately, this glimpse is only that, a glimpse.
    I have snoozed my way through this book, and instead of staying awake to read it, I have used it as a sleep aid. It is boring to the core. I kept reading, hoping that the book would turn out to be as good, if not better, than the other books I have read by this author. I was bitterly disappointed.
    If you are a Coban fan, do not read this book. You may never read another one written by Coban again. If you are a newbie to Coban, do not read this book, as you will be turned off to the man who has written so many entertaining and delightful books in the past. Bottom line, save your time and put it into better reading. I recommend that you skip this book completely.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This will hook readers from start to finish with terrific twists throughout

    National TV investigative reporter Wendy Tynes exposes sexual predators on her show Caught in the Act. When a seventeen years old lacrosse playing high school student Haley McWaid vanishes without a trace, her hometown is stunned. Three months later, they remain shocked as the good girl never came home and there is no word about her.

    Wendy investigates the case and finds evidence that links the missing teen to social worker Dan Mercer. She exposes him on national TV as a sexual predator of children, but soon begins to find discrepancies in the slam dunk evidence. When a father of another teen victim claims to have killed Dan in what is vigilante justice, Wendy wonders what she has wrought as she now reconsiders her instincts though too late as he is caught dead.

    This will hook readers from start to finish with terrific twists throughout as Harlan Coben provides a great thriller. The story line is fast-paced and never stops for a moment; yet is also filled with deep characterizations especially the accused and his accuser. Fans will relish this powerful tale of justice is not blind when the media gets involved.

    Harriet Klausner

    8 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Not his best, but still good

    There is no question Harlan Coben is a master at gripping the reader immediately after the first page. Coben takes us on a roller coaster ride of an adventure, where the story twists and turns and things definitely aren't what they seem. Unfortunately, three quarters of the way through this book, the story falls apart and although the ending is interesting, the reader is left unsatisfied. The idea of forgiveness and how willing you'd be to forgive is questioned and it is one that gives pause. In the end, I can't wait for his next book.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    Too many themes

    I anxiously await a new Coben novel. I pounced on Caught and read it over a weekend. It had some of the hallmarks I have come to expect from Mr. Coben, fast pace, a plot with twists and turns, good writing. In this work the writing style was great, the book had a fast pace, there were plenty of plot twists, but the story had too many underlying themes and the mechanics of getting to the ending was unrealistic. Revenge, forgiveness, loyalty, lack of honor, duty, on and on and on, each chapter seemed to promote a new theme. And the plot device which moved you through sordid details, long held secrets and intimate events was by using characters who exercised no restraint to withhold anything. "I won't tell you." "Please tell me" "Okay". An exaggeration but not too far off. I was reminded of a film noir detective film where the villain at the end, before he is going to shoot the good guy, tells him how he committed the crime. And the poetic license used when the criminal system was involved was way off base. A character is arrested, then released because his lawyer says they are wrong. Unbelievable. No bond setting, no preliminary hearing, just allowing some evil breathed barrister to tell them what they should do. What planet do the characters live on? So, while I read the book quickly, and tried to follow the plot amongst all the disparate themes, this was not a book I ended with a feeling that I had been on a great trip. More like an excursion to an amusement park with diverse rides, none of which provided the thrill which would keep me coming back. Mr. Coben can do better.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Harlan Coben's Caught is a magnificent thriller with more who-done-it's than you can shake a stick at.

    During an investigation for her expose TV show reporter Wendy Tynes has uncovered yet another child predator. This man Dan Mercer has ties in the local community where three months prior a teenaged girl went missing without a trace. As the hammer begins to fall and justice served things start happening that make her question the case and the perpetrator up to this point. There's something rotten in New Jersey the roots of which are far and wide, but to get to the truth Wendy must soul search to find the answers, is she willing to get there no matter the cost, especially when the cost is personal.
    Harlan Coben is a masterful storyteller as proven by this spine tingling can't stop page turning thriller. He brings us a tale of a parent's worst nightmare right from the front pages of newspapers all over the world, and then he ups the ante by taking his readers on a roller coaster adventure ride where the dips and turns are as dangerous as they are entertaining, where he has you constantly wondering "Who-Done-IT". He uses dialogue that informs us and entrances us, that scares us and gives us hope. His star character Wendy is a complicated and complex woman, one you'll spend time deciding whether she's friend or foe, but believe me it'll be time well spent. His supporting characters, all memorable are so intricately important to the story that you'll find yourself intimates with each one, some you'll cheer and some you'll curse but all you'll never forget.
    Be prepared to be wowed as you get enmeshed in a web that just keeps getting bigger the farther you read, be prepared to be entertained with nail biting tension and edge of your seat excitement, be prepared to be wowed when you reach the pinnacle. But most of all be prepared to spread the word of this must read and Number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list.
    This book will make you think, make you cringe, and make you mad, but above all this book will make you glad you read it.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Highly recommend

    First book I have read from this author and it will not be my last. Thriller with lots of twist and turns to keep you turning the pages. No sex, cuss word here and there, over all a very good read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2010

    If your into Mystery, this is definelty a book you want to read!

    A mystery book that will make you want to keep reading. This was a really interesting and emotion-packed book. I loved it. Coben shows that holding a grudge is not that best way to go. Also that you can't really judge someone without knowing them fully. Be careful with what you say to other people.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    You think you know where this is going...

    ..but I promise you really don't. Some neat plot twists take you in directions Coben foreshadowed, so don't blame him if you guess wrong! It was fun to see Facebook and Twitter used in the story, but I'm afraid some of the references are too "now" to make sense to a reader even a few years down the road (a recent commercial is references, for example) Of course, Facebook may well be passe by Christmas, so who knows. Love the balance of the first and last chapter! (no peeking, gentle reader)

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    Very Disappointed

    This was the first book I have ever read by this author and I guess it will be my last. The synopsis of the book seemed very promising and I know that Harlan Coben is a best selling author so I figured it would be very interesting. However, I did not find the book interesting at all. Mr. Coben's writing style is all over the place, jumping from one scene to the next without any convincing cohesion. I found that I never cared enough about his characters to want to turn the page and find out what was their next move. I did notice that several Coben fans have written reviews that this was not one of the authors best books. However, from the lack of character development and leap-frog plot development, I doubt that I would like this authors best book, either.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2010

    Kept me interested

    Harlan Coben is one of my favorite authors and I always enjoy reading his books. I was not sure I was going to like Caught as much as his previous books when I first started reading, but (in my opinion) it turned out to be one of Coben's best books yet! I am an avid mystery reader and could not put this book down. Just when I thought I knew where things were going, Coben would throw a curve - but it worked well! Caught was definitely suspenseful, but the message(s) in the book are also important. I look forward to Coben's next book - hopefully it will be just as good!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Pay close attention

    There are several storylines with many twists and turns in Coben's latest offering. This is good, but not one of the best by this author. I do like the way he brings up current issues, such as the role parents play in the formation of their children's values. The idea of forgiveness of course is a Christian one, even though Coben downplays the spiritual and belief in an afterlife.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2014

    A very fascinating riveting story that drew me in immediately. S

    A very fascinating riveting story that drew me in immediately. Several plots are occurring simultaneously in this book that appear to be separate and individual but begin to connect together. A missing teenager who vanishes in the middle of the night without a trace and leaves the entire community baffled. A social worker’s arrest as a sexual predator of children opens up more questions than answers. I was prepared to dislike Wendy Tynes initially. She struck me as a Nancy Grace type of journalist looking for explosive headlines and bright lights and assuming her target was guilty without due process. The story weaves in and around the characters of this story to make the reader unsure of their own convictions. Several times while reading this book I was positive that Dan Mercer was a pedophile and had killed the missing girl, but a few pages later, I began to doubt and then start the process over again. This book really made me think about the criminal justice system in this country, when it works and works well, and also when it doesn’t.




    This book is also about rash decisions and how they can alter lives forever. Decisions made by Haley, Dan, Wendy and others lead to actions by others that cause a tsunami effect of destruction in their wake. This book showed me that nothing is ever as it seems on the surface but all too often, people go with that perception and make judgments based on it.




    Harlan Coben is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors to turn to when I want a story that packs a solid punch but still manages to surprise the reader. This story brought out a range of emotions in me while reading. Everything from anger and shock to fear and sorrow combined with some tears and laughter will give the reader a thoroughly entertaining, though exhausting experience.




    If you enjoy James Patterson, I highly recommend you try Harlan Coben. He is definitely a master of his craft. Find a comfortable chair, kick off your shoes and settle in for a thrilling adventure when you open this book. You won’t want to put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2013

    I think this is one of the best books I've ever read.  From firs

    I think this is one of the best books I've ever read.  From first page to last you're taken on a quest trying to figure out what is the truth.  
    Dan Mercer is a pedophile and collector of child pornography.  Then he's not; then he is.  What is the truth?  Corben keeps you hanging
    until the very end where everything is satisfactorily revealed and all the loose ends neatly tied off.  

    I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2013

    Couldn't put it down!

    I loved this book! I hate to use cliches, but it was a real page-turner! Not once when I put it down did I want to and each time I did, I couldn't wait to get back to it. There was a lot to figure out and I ended up being surprised by most of it. I will definitely read another Harlan Coben book again soon!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    Great book

    Lovet it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    One of his best

    I have read many of his books and never read one I didnt like, but this one is exceptional. Lots of twists and very thought provoking while keeping you guessing. I didnt predict any of it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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