Fade Away (Myron Bolitar Series #3)

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The home was top-notch New Jersey suburban. The living room was Martha Stewart. The basement was Legos—and blood. For sports agent Myron Bolitar, the disappearance of a man he'd once competed against was bringing back memories—of the sport he and Greg Downing had both played and the woman they both loved. Now, among the stars, the wanna-bes, the gamblers and groupies, Myron is unraveling the strange, violent life of a sports hero gone wrong, ...
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Fade Away (Myron Bolitar Series #3)

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Overview

The home was top-notch New Jersey suburban. The living room was Martha Stewart. The basement was Legos—and blood. For sports agent Myron Bolitar, the disappearance of a man he'd once competed against was bringing back memories—of the sport he and Greg Downing had both played and the woman they both loved. Now, among the stars, the wanna-bes, the gamblers and groupies, Myron is unraveling the strange, violent life of a sports hero gone wrong, and coming face-to-face with a past he can't relive, and a present he may not survive.

In novels that crackle with wit and suspense, Edgar Award winner Harlan Coben has created one of the most fascinating and complex heroes in suspense fiction—Myron Bolitar—a hotheaded, tenderhearted sports agent who grows more and more engaging and unpredictable with each page-turning appearance.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wisecracking sports agent Myron Bolitar returns with style in his third mystery (after Deal Breaker and Dropshot). This time, Myron is given a chance to return to professional basketball after being sidelined by a heartbreaking injury 10 years ago. No, the owner of the New Jersey Dragons doesn't want Myron to play. He wants him to use his skills as a onetime FBI undercover agent ("the worst kept secret in the continental United States") to find a missing player and former rival. The hunt for the absent player turns up an ugly web of complications that include a dead body, blackmail, a nasty custody suit, out-of-control gambling and thugs intent on revenge. Myron finds himself dragged in deeper than expected as the case stirs unresolved issues from his own past. With the help of his lethally loyal pal Win, he untangles the mess with bravado and not a little personal pain. Coben writes a fast-moving narrative in a style witty enough to keep pace without straining too hard. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
"Brilliant! Perfect for fans of Sue Grafton, Robert B. Parker, and everyone else!"—Nancy Pickard, author of I.O.U.

"Fast action, snappy dialogue...[An] enjoyable read."—Toronto Star

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440222682
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/1996
  • Series: Myron Bolitar Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 4.20 (h) x 0.99 (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-three 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, and the upcoming Promise Me), he is also the author of Tell No One, Gone for Good, The 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

Chapter One

Just behave.”

“Me?” Myron said. “I’m always a delight.”

Myron Bolitar was being led through the corridor of the darkened Meadowlands Arena by Calvin Johnson, the New Jersey Dragons new general manager. Their dress shoes clacked sharply against the tile and echoed through empty Harry M. Stevens food stands, Carvel Ice Cream carts, pretzel vendors, souvenir booths. The smell of sporting-event hot dogs—that sort of rubbery, chemically, yet nostalgically delicious aroma—wafted from the walls. The stillness of the place consumed them; there is nothing more hollow and lifeless than an empty sports arena.

Calvin Johnson stopped in front of a door leading to a luxury box. “This may all seem a bit strange,” he said. “Just go with the flow, okay?”

“Okay.”

Calvin reached for the knob and took a deep breath. “Clip Arnstein, the owner of the Dragons, is in there waiting for us.”

“And yet I’m not trembling,” Myron said.

Calvin Johnson shook his head. “Just don’t be an ass.”

Myron pointed to his chest. “I wore a tie and ?everything.”

Calvin Johnson opened the door. The luxury box faced midcourt. Several workers were putting down the basketball floor over the hockey ice. The Devils had played the night before. Tonight was the Dragons’ turn. The box was cozy. Twenty-four cushioned seats. Two tele?vision monitors. To the right was a wood-paneled counter for the food—usually fried chicken, hot dogs, po?tato knishes, sausage and pepper sandwiches, that sort of stuff. To the left was a brass cart with a nicely stocked bar and minifridge. The box also had its own bathroom—this so the corporate high rollers would not have to urinate with the great unwashed.

Clip Arnstein faced them, standing. He wore a dark blue suit with a red tie. He was bald with patches of gray over both ears. He was burly, his chest still a barrel after seventy-some-odd years. His large hands had brown spots and fat blue veins like garden hoses. No one spoke. No one moved. Clip glared hard at Myron for several seconds, examining him from head to toe.

“Like the tie?” Myron asked.

Calvin Johnson shot him a warning glance.

The old man made no movement toward them. “How old are you now, Myron?”

Interesting opening question. “Thirty-two.”

“You playing any ball?”

“Some,” Myron said.

“You keep in good shape?”

“Want me to flex?”

“No, that won’t be necessary.”

No one offered Myron a seat and no one took one. Of course the only chairs in here were the spectator seats, but it still felt weird to stand in a business setting where you’re supposed to sit. Standing suddenly became difficult. Myron felt antsy. He didn’t know what to do with his hands. He took out a pen and held it, but that didn’t feel right. Too Bob Dole. He stuck his hands in his pockets and stood at a weird angle, like the casual guy in the Sears circular.

“Myron, we have an interesting proposition for you,” Clip Arnstein said.

“Proposition?” Always the probing interrogatory.

“Yes. I was the one who drafted you, you know.”

“I know.”

“Ten, eleven years ago. When I was with the Celtics.”

“I know.”

“First round.”

“I know all this, Mr. Arnstein.”

“You were a hell of a prospect, Myron. You were smart. You had an unbelievable touch. You were loaded with talent.” “I coulda been a contenda,” Myron said.

Arnstein scowled. It was a famous scowl, developed over some fifty-plus years in professional basketball. The scowl had made its first appearance when Clip played for the now-defunct Rochester Royals in the forties. It grew more famous when he coached the Boston Celtics to numerous championships. It became a legendary trade?mark when he made all the famous trades (“clipping” the competition, ergo the nickname) as team president. Three years ago Clip had become majority owner of the New Jer?sey Dragons and the scowl now resided in East Ruther?ford, right off Exit 16 of the New Jersey Turnpike. His voice was gruff. “Was that supposed to be Brando?”

“Eerie, isn’t it? Like Marlon’s actually in the room.”

Clip Arnstein’s face suddenly softened. He nodded slowly, giving Myron the doelike, father-figure eyes. “You make jokes to cover the pain,” he said gravely. “I understand that.”

Dr. Joyce Brothers.

“Is there something I can do for you, Mr. Arnstein?”

“You never played in a single professional game, did you, Myron?”

“You know very well I didn’t.”

Clip nodded. “Your first preseason game. Third quarter. You already had eighteen points that game. Not bad for a rookie in his first scrimmage. That was when fate took over.”

Fate took the form of big Burt Wesson of the Washington Bullets. There had been a collision, a searing pain, and then nothing.

“Awful thing,” Clip said.

“Uh huh.”

“I always felt bad about what happened to you. Such a waste.”

Myron glanced at Calvin Johnson. Calvin was looking off, arms crossed, his smooth black features a placid pool. “Uh huh,” Myron said again.

“That’s why I’d like to give you another chance.”

Myron was sure he’d heard wrong. “Pardon?”

“We have a slot open on the team. I’d like to sign you.”

Myron waited. He looked at Clip. Then he looked at Calvin Johnson. Neither one was laughing. “Where is it?” Myron asked.

“What?”

“The camera. This is one of those hidden camera shows, right? Is this the one with Ed McMahon? I’m a big fan of his work.”

“It’s not a joke, Myron.”

“It must be, Mr. Arnstein. I haven’t played competitive ball in ten years. I shattered my knee, remember?”

“All too well. But as you said, it was ten years ago. I know you went through rehabilitation to rebuild it.”

“And you also know I tried a comeback. Seven years ago. The knee wouldn’t hold up.”

“It was still too early,” Clip said. “You just told me you’re playing again.”

“Pickup games on weekends. It’s a tad different than the NBA.”

Clip dismissed the argument with a wave of his hand. “You’re in shape. You even volunteered to flex.”

Myron’s eyes narrowed, swerving from Clip to Calvin Johnson, back to Clip. Their expressions were neutral. “Why do I have the feeling,” Myron asked, “that I’m missing something here?”

Clip finally smiled. He looked over to Calvin Johnson. Calvin Johnson forced up a return smile.

“Perhaps I should be less”—Clip paused, searched for the word—“opaque.”

“That might be helpful.”

“I want you on the team. I don’t much care if you play or not.”

Myron waited again. When no one continued, he said, “It’s still a bit opaque.”

Clip let loose a long breath. He walked over to the bar, opened a small hotel-style fridge, and removed a can of Yoo-Hoo. Stocking Yoo-Hoos. Hmm. Clip had been prepared. “You still drink this sludge?”

“Yes,” Myron said.

He tossed Myron the can and poured something from a decanter into two glasses. He handed one to Calvin Johnson. He signaled to the seats by the glass window. Exactly midcourt. Very nice. Nice leg room too. Even Calvin, who was six-eight, was able to stretch a bit. The three men sat next to one another, all facing the same way, which again felt weird in a business setting. You were supposed to sit across from one another, preferably at a table or desk. Instead they sat shoulder to shoulder, watching the work crew pound the floor into place.

“Cheers,” Clip said.

He sipped his whiskey. Calvin Johnson just held his. Myron, obeying the instructions on the can, shook his Yoo-Hoo.

“If I’m not mistaken,” Clip continued, “you’re a lawyer now.”

“I’m a member of the bar,” Myron said. “I don’t practice much law.”

“You’re a sports agent.”

“Yes.”

“I don’t trust agents,” Clip said.

“Neither do I.”

“For the most part, they’re bloodsucking leeches.”

“We prefer the term ‘parasitic entities,’?” Myron said. “It’s more PC.”

Clip Arnstein leaned forward, his eyes zeroing in on Myron’s. “How do I know I can trust you?”

Myron pointed at himself. “My face,” he said. “It screams trustworthiness.”

Clip did not smile. He leaned a little closer. “What I’m about to tell you must remain confidential.”

“Okay.”

“Do you give me your word it won’t go any farther than this room?”

“Yes.” Clip hesitated, glanced at Calvin Johnson, shifted in his seat. “You know, of course, Greg Downing.”

Of course. Myron had grown up with Greg Downing. From the time they had first competed as sixth graders in a town league less than twenty miles from where Myron now sat, they were instant rivals. When they reached high school, Greg’s family moved to the neighboring town of Essex Fells because Greg’s father did not want his son sharing the basketball spotlight with Myron. The personal rivalry then began to take serious flight. They played against each other eight times in high school, each winning four games. Myron and Greg became New Jersey’s hottest recruits and both matriculated at big-time basketball colleges with a storied rivalry of their own—Myron to Duke, Greg to North Carolina.

The personal rivalry soared.

During their college careers, they had shared two Sports Illustrated covers. Both teams won the ACC twice, but Myron picked up a national championship. Both Myron and Greg were picked first-team All-American, both at the guard spots. By the time they both graduated, Duke and North Carolina had played each other twelve times. The Myron-led Duke had won eight of them. When the NBA draft came, both men went in the first round.

The personal rivalry crashed and burned.

Myron’s career ended when he collided with big Burt Wesson. Greg Downing sidestepped fate and went on to become one of the NBA premier guards. During his ten-year career with the New Jersey Dragons Downing had been named to the All-Star team eight times. He led the league twice in three-point shooting. Four times he led the league in free-throw percentage and once in assists. He’d been on three Sports Illustrated covers and had won an NBA championship.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 131 )
Rating Distribution

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(57)

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(39)

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(18)

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(9)

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(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 132 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent Book, as is all Harlan Coben books.

    This book is the First Myron Bolitar series and I could not put it down. The first Book of Coban's I read was The Woods and after that I was hooked. As I explained to my father (who also enjoys a good book) Coban's books are non stop from page 1 throughout the end. I used to think Dan Brown was my favorite author, but Harlan Coban beats him by leaps and bounds. Read this book and all the rest - anyone who enjoys a good can't put down book will love all the Harlan Coban's.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    Great series

    If you like any of Bruce Willis's movies where he is a tad bit of a smartie pants, you'll love Myron. I've thoroughly enjoyed this series and can hardly wait to start the next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2012

    Still good

    Some of my favorite books of all time are from coben like Tell No One and No Second Chance. I love sports and thought the combination of basketball and mystery would be great. But this book was not memorable and the basketball scenes are not possible. Still one ofmy top 5 authors.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2010

    Myron Bolitar is my hero!

    I discovered Harlan Coben and Myron a few months ago and I just love it. I have so much reading them and this book is no different than the others. They are equally great and the best one is whatever I am currently reading. The audio-books are great too if anybody is interested. The characters make these books so much fun. Winn is the coolest guy ever! i hope they have a Myron Bolitar movie or movies one day.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    Good fast read

    Coben has a writing style that is fun to read and the characters are fun to follow

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2008

    Great Book

    Fade Away is a solid Thriller/Mystery novel from cover to cover. I am not usually a big fan of the genre and even though my father bought this book for me, I still really enjoyed it. Coben's character Marvin Bolitar is a ex-FBI agent who previously had a career ending injury and is now asked to join the New Jersey Dragons, a NBA team. The reader is thrust from the beginning beyond this simple story of living ones dream when we learn that Bolitar is not expected to actually play for the team, but rather he is investigating the murder of one of the star players who has mysteriously dissapeared who just happens to be his former rival. The novel begins with basketball being a main focus eventually transitioning to more of a mystery and involves a robbery and many other elements of crime from the past. One of the reasons I enjoyed the novel is because it is able to remain serious throughout the novel while being humourous at the same time because of Marvin's actions and thoughts. Many of the characters such as Esperanza and Big Cyndi have a large part in creating this effect. The main part of the storyline keeps the reader interested and preparted for the fantastic ending that Corben has written, which was truly surprising and fufilling of a great novel such as this one. One of the main reasons that this novel really kept me entertained was the dialogue. It was able to move the story foward in an effective manner while at the same time able to remain witty and insightful. Marvin's many comments on the world around him serve as one of the more entertaining parts of the novel to me. The best part of the novel to me was the ending. Coben is able to create an ending that though it is not expexted and surprising is still reasonable and makes sense when one looks at the novel at a whole. Harlan creatively ties together the multiple story lines of the novel into one cohesive ending, and even leaves the reader with some suspsense of what is going to come afterwords. I would recommend this book to others and I plan on reading more of Corbens work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    By Gen

    This one got a bit long in the middle, but leave it to Harlen to bring it all together in the end, and make a wonderful ending. I feel bad for Myron now that he knows the truth, but you will have to read for yourself, what Myron finds out. Good read. By Gen Monte

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    just read

    I got up at 4 this morning to finish it. it was one of the best he has done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Loved this book

    I'm addicted to the Myron Bolitar series. I never really figured out "who did it" till the very end. Great book and as always Harlan Coben kept my attention with his "witty" sense of humor and Colorful characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Harlan Coben is in my opion one of the top mystery writers today, he keeps you in suspense and has twists and turns throughout while being reall down to earth,, I am on my 6th Myron Bolitar series book....Stallion

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  • Posted January 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    3 Times the Charm

    This 3rd installmenr was the best so far.

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  • Posted July 1, 2009

    hooray for harlen coben

    love myron bolitar!! keep 'em coming

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    this rocks

    i love the myron bolitar series

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Long Weekend- Short Story

    If you were a successful mystery writer and you suddenly needed to come up with some pocket money, say to buy something frivolous, maybe a boat, you might go away for a long weekend and churn out a cute little story that was short on substance and maybe a little long on heart. Your readers would be happy, you'd have your quick cash, and the next thing you'd be sailing away, maybe thinking about that next real novel you were going to write. You know. The one with some substance, some character, some real plot- the kind that keeps your name up there with the good crime writers. After all, you wouldn't want to fade away.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2008

    a superb story

    Ten years ago an injury ended his stint in the NBA without him playing one professional regular season game, but though Myron Bolitar has always thought of what could have been he uses self deprecating humor to move on and mope over what was lost to fate. He spent time as the most visible undercover FBI agent in the country (remember this is pre Plame days) before deciding to become a sports agent.---------------- New Jersey Dragons owner Chip Arnstein wants to hire Myron to find his longtime sports rival going back to the sixth grade and the ACC, Greg Downing, who has had an illustrious pro career. The word to the media is he sprained his ankle but on the street and in the Dragons front office Greg vanished five days ago. Using his not so honed FBI skills, Myron investigates with clues leading to a corpse, gambling, bold thirsty point shaving mobsters and a bit of everything else. Myron realizes he never came to grips with the injury that ended his career before it began.--------- The reprint of the third Bolitar tale (see DEAL BREAKER and DROPSHOT) is a superb story that easily overcomes the initial credibility of an owner hiring a sports agent to play sleuth due to the hero. Myron is wisecracking throughout targeting himself more so than others, but as he gets closer to finding his firmer rival, he realizes the humor hides his disappointment. This is a terrific series that holds up nicely a decade plus since its first printing as this entry affirms.------------ Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2006

    Coben scores a hit

    A great read, a touching conclusion, and an outstanding addition to the Bolitar series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2005

    absolutely fantastic

    I am addicted to Myron Bolitar so this noevel was, i have to say, one of the best books i have read. The plot is gripping form start to finish, the humor out of this world-Harlan Coben is simply the best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2004

    Brilliant... his best in the Myron Bolitar series

    Wow... that sums up this novel. I've read 3 other Myron books and 3 of his stand alones, and 'Fade Away' is as good as my previous favorite of Coben, 'Gone For Good' (a stand-alone). Fade Away definitely deserved the Edgar Award. It was also the wittiest of all of Coben's books that I've read. I literally laughed out loud. The fact that Coben followed this masterpiece with such an average novel 'Backspin' is beyond me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2003

    Fade Away -- A Great Read!

    Excellent book -- worthy of the Edgar award. Harlan Coben keeps a quick pace, high wit, and adds lots of intriguing characters who are never quite what they appear to be. He is a joy to read and this book, in my opinion, rates as one of his best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2001

    I love It!

    The writer suspends his reader from beginning to end...great story, great plot, one for everyone.

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