Call One False Move a slam dunk.
Must reading....Combines Chandler's wry wit with Ross Macdonald's moral complexity.
Los Angeles Times
Poignant and insightful... Myron is gallant, likeable and delightfully original.
Consistently entertaining.... Coben moves himself into the front ranks of mystery fiction alongside heavy hitters like Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton and Robert Crais...And what a plot. Coben unwinds his most twisted, double-backing, surprise-packed story line yet.
San Antonio Express-News
Mystery readers who like their danger spiked with irreverent wit and quirky characters should look no further.
Christian Science Monitor
This is one of the funniest, yet most complex and contemplative series to appear in ages...the action is steady, the dialogue so good you wouldn't miss the action, and the plot a carefully constructed beauty.
Lansing State Journal
Easily in the running for best-of-the-year honors, a story deftly combining dark suspense with wry humor and pathos.
This is one of those thrillers that you can't put down…thoroughly engaging.
Coben displays all the right moves -- snappy dialogue, fast pacing, neat plotting -- to make One False Move a winner. Myron's some serious competition for Robert Parker's Spenser.
Florida Sun Sentinel
Coben's energetic approach keeps the suspense high in this twisty tale that continues to surprise as it entertains... Snappy dialogue and Myron's witty one-liners and wry take on life can outshine most standup comics...One False Move scores big. Coben's sharp humor and precise plotting are foul proof.
Series sports agent Myron Bolitar handles everything with panache: his relationships, his clients, and this search for two missing people. When a sports store mogul asks him to "watch over" basketball star Brenda Slaughter, Myron winds up looking for her father, who disappeared a week ago, and her mother, who deserted the family some 20 years earlier. Myron not only discovers mob interest in female basketball but also a connected suspicious death in a high-profile political family. Standard plotting, then, but authentic conversation, colorful characters, and exciting New York and New Jersey surrounds more than compensate. Strongly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/98.]
It is rare to find a novel that appeals on so many levels. The mystery is complex and Myron is a protagonist who draws me in to the story with both his sense of purpose and his smartass comments....I am proof that you don't have to have a particular interest in sports to appreciate these books. This was a very satisfying read; one of the best mystery novels I've read in a long, long time.
The Mystery Reader.com
Fast-talking sports agent Myron Bolitar won't win any awards for baseball (since his Little League brushback) or basketball (thanks to his bum knee), but his paperback detective work has already won him an Anthony, a Shamus, and an Edgar. His hardcover debut dangles an appealing potential client in front of himBrenda Slaughter, basketball star of the New York Dolphinsbut there's a catch: Before he can sign her, he has to protect her from the threats she's been getting, and maybe even track down her missing parents (Dad's been gone a week, Mom 20 years). What could anybody have against Brendaunless it's the mobsters who want to press her into defecting to a rival women's league, or the wealthy and well-connected Arthur Bradford, the gubernatorial candidate determined to keep the truth about his wife's ancient suicide under wraps, or all the New Jersey cops who are either on Bradford's payroll or would like to be? Undaunted, Myron and his Spenser-inspired entouragehis bisexual assistant Esperanza Diaz, his financial-planning associate Windsor Horne Lockwood III (who, despite his blond complexion, probably shaves in front of a photo of Spenser's buddy Hawk), and his ex-wrestler temp Big Cyndi, who doesn't like to be called just Cynditake on every soul in New Jersey with a gun, a bank account, and a bad attitude, and uncover a satisfyingly complex tangle of skullduggery. Could Myron, who pushes his wisecracking charm hard, be any more tough and adorable? It'll be a pleasure waiting for the next installment to find out.
From the Publisher
"A slam dunk ... You race to turn the pages ... both suspenseful and often surprisingly funny."—People
"A winner."—Orlando Sentinel
"Fast-paced ... layered with both tenderness and fun ... Coben [is] a gifted storyteller."—Denver Post
“Myron Bolitar is one of the most engaging heroes in mystery fiction. One False Move is a blast from start to finish.”—Dennis Lehane
“Must reading . . . combines Chandler’s wry wit with Ross MacDonald’s moral complexity.”—Philadelphia Enquirer
Read an Excerpt
It took Myron only a few seconds. His brain immediately realized that had he met Brenda Slaughter before, he would have undoubtedly remembered. The fact that he didn't meant their previous encounter was under very different circumstances. "You used to hang out at the courts," Myron said. "With your dad. You must have been five or six."
"And you were just entering high school," she added. "The only white guy that showed up steadily. You made all-state out of Livingston High, became an all-American at Duke, got drafted by the Celtics in the first round--"
Her voice dovetailed. Myron was used to that. "I'm flattered you remembered," he said. Already wowing her with the charm.
"I grew up watching you play," she went on. "My father followed your career like you were his own son. When you got hurt--" She broke off again, her lips tightening.
He smiled to show he both understood and appreciated the sentiment.
Norm jumped into the silence. "Well, Myron is a sports agent now. A damn good one. The best, in my opinion. Fair, honest, loyal as hell--" Norm stopped suddenly. "Did I just use those words to describe a sports agent?" He shook his head.
The goateed Sandy Duncan bustled over again. He spoke with a French accent that sounded about as real as Pepe LePew's. "Monsieur Zuckermahn?"
Norm said, "Oui."
"I need your help, s'il vous plait."
"Oui," Norm said.
Myron almost asked for an interpreter.
"Sit, both of you," Norm said. "I have to run a sec." He patted the empty chairs to drive home the point. "Myron is going to help me set up the league. Kinda like a consultant. So talk to him,Brenda. About your career, your future, whatever. He'd be a good agent for you." He winked at Myron. Subtle.
When Norm left, Brenda high-stepped into the director's chair. "So was all that true?" she asked.
"Part of it," Myron said.
"I'd like to be your agent. But that's not why I'm really here."
"Norm is worried about you. He wants me to watch out for you."
"Watch out for me?"
Myron nodded. "He thinks you're in danger."
She set her jaw. "I told him I didn't want to be watched."
"I know," Myron said. "I'm supposed to be undercover. Shh."
"So why are you telling me?"
"I'm not good with secrets."
She nodded. "And?"
"And if I'm going to be your agent, I'm not sure it pays to start our relationship with a lie."
She leaned back and crossed legs longer than a DMV line at lunchtime. "What else did Norm tell you to do?"
"To turn on my charm."
She blinked at him.
"Don't worry," Myron said. "I took a solemn oath to only use it for good."
"Lucky me." Brenda brought a long finger up to her face and tapped it against her chin a few times. "So," she said at last, "Norm thinks I need a baby-sitter."
Myron threw up his hands and did his best Norm impression. "Who said anything about a baby-sitter?" It was better than his Elephant Man, but nobody was speed-dialing Rich Little either.
She smiled. "Okay," she said with a nod. "I'll go along with this."
"I'm pleasantly surprised."
"No reason to be. If you don't do it, Norm might hire someone else who might not be so forthcoming. This way I know the score."
"Makes sense," Myron said.
"But there are conditions."
"I thought there might be."
"I do what I want when I want. This isn't carte blanche to invade my privacy."
"If I tell you to get lost for a while, you ask how lost."
"And no spying on me when I don't know about it," she continued.
"You keep out of my business."
"I stay out all night, you don't say a thing."
"Not a thing."
"If I choose to participate in an orgy with pygmies, you don't say a thing."
"Can I at least watch?" Myron asked.
That got a smile. "I don't mean to sound difficult, but I have enough father figures in my life, thank you. I want to make sure you know that we're not going to be hanging out with each other twenty-four a day or anything like that. This isn't a Whitney Houston-Kevin Costner movie."
"Some people say I look like Kevin Costner." Myron gave her a quick flash of the cynical, rogue smile, Ó la Bull Durham.
She looked straight through him. "Maybe in the hairline."
Ouch. At half-court the goateed Sandy Duncan started calling for Ted again. His coterie followed suit. The name Ted bounced about the arena like rolled-up balls of Silly Putty.
"So do we understand each other?" she asked.
"Perfectly," Myron said. He shifted in his seat. "Now do you want to tell me what's going on?"
From the right, Ted--it simply had to be a guy named Ted--finally made his entrance. He wore only Zoom shorts, and his abdomen was rippled like a relief map in marble. He was probably in his early twenties, model handsome, and he squinted like a prison guard. As he sashayed toward the shoot, Ted kept running both hands through his Superman blue-black hair, the movement expanding his chest and shrinking his waist and demonstrating shaved underarms.
Brenda muttered, "Strutting peacock."
"That's totally unfair," Myron said. "Maybe he's a Fulbright scholar."
"I've worked with him before. If God gave him a second brain, it would die of loneliness." Her eyes veered toward Myron. "I don't get something."
"Why you? You're a sports agent. Why would Norm ask you to be my bodyguard?"
"I used to work"--he stopped, waved a vague hand--"for the government."
"I never heard about that."
"It's another secret. Shh."
"Secrets don't stay secret much around you, Myron."
"You can trust me."
She thought about it. "Well, you were a white man who could jump," she said. "Guess if you can be that, you could be a trustworthy sports agent."
Myron laughed, and they fell into an uneasy silence. He broke it by trying again. "So do you want to tell me about the threats?"
"Nothing much to tell."
"This is all in Norm's head?"
Brenda did not reply. One of the assistants applied oil to Ted's hairless chest. Ted was still giving the crowd his tough guy squint. Too many Clint Eastwood movies. Ted made two fists and continuously flexed his pecs. Myron decided that he might as well beat the rush and start hating Ted right now.
Brenda remained silent. Myron decided to try another approach. "Where are you living now?" he asked.
"In a dorm at Reston University."
"You're still in school?"
"Medical school. Fourth year. I just got a deferment to play pro ball."
Myron nodded. "Got a specialty in mind?"
He nodded again and decided to wade in a bit deeper. "Your dad must be very proud of you."
A flicker crossed her face. "Yeah, I guess." She started to rise. "I better get dressed for this shoot."
"You don't want to tell me what's going on first?"
She stayed in her seat. "Dad is missing."
"A week ago."
"Is that when the threats started?"
She avoided the question. "You want to help? Find my father."
"Is he the one threatening you?"
"Don't worry about the threats. Dad likes control, Myron. Intimidation is just another tool."
"I don't understand."
"You don't have to understand. He's your friend, right?"
"Your father? I haven't seen Horace in more than ten years."
"Whose fault is that?" she asked.
The words, not to mention the bitter tone, surprised him. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Do you still care about him?" she asked.
Myron didn't have to think about it. "You know I do."
She nodded and jumped down from the chair. "He's in trouble," she said. "Find him."