By: Harlan Coben
Read by: Nick Podehl
Mickey has had his world rocked. He watches his father die in a car crash, and his mother has turned to drugs to feed her sorrow. Mickey is uprooted and living with his uncle Myron. Things start looking up when he meets Ashley. But, just when their relationship gets off the ground, Ashley mysteriously disappears. Mickey's journey to search for her leads him down a path and into a world that won't be easy to get out of unscathed.
Audio Review: Nick Podehl does a great job with the voice of Mickey. I was also impressed with the diversity of voices that appeared in the book. One of my favorites was Buddy, whose slight lisp and eerily quiet voice made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. My only complaint was that I really didn't like the adult female voices. It can be tough to get a convincing female voice, and I felt like they were a little too breathy. But, Podehl did a great job keeping the suspense and tension going in the story, and I very much enjoyed the audio.
Book Review: I haven't read any of Harlan Coben's other novels, since his usual genre isn't my style. But, a YA mystery just seemed to be a nice break from my regular norm. And, I'm glad I picked it up.
On the surface, the plot seemed a little lackluster. And, after an hour or two, I really wasn't sure where the story was going to go, or even if I cared. But, there were some very unexpected additions to the plot that made it much deeper than I thought at first sight. As Mickey delves deeper into the disappearance of Ashley, he learns a lot more about his parents, specifically his father, and the type of work that he did before he died. Add another layer of dealing with a mother that just can't handle her grief, and you have a very compelling plot. I was pleasantly surprised by how FUN this book was to listen to, even with all the dark themes. Interspersed with the doom and gloom, there are some really funny moments. A lot of the interaction between Ema and Mickey is sweet and endearing.
While I found the plot to have many dimensions, I was disappointed by the lack of characters with dimension. Mickey was an all around nice guy, but he was very reactive and just allowed the plot to kind of pull him along. I liked Ema a lot, but I found Spoon to be a very annoying placeholder. He was a nerd, socially awkward, but conveniently had access to the things that Mickey needed to continue sleuthing. Sometimes his dialogue and actions were so predictable that I could say his words before he did. So, anytime he came around, there was a lot of eye rolling. So, as a reader that is really into character development, I'm just not sure that this is a book that's going to stick with me.
Will I continue with the rest of the series? I'm not sure. The last half of the book had a very compelling story that I'd like to see through to the end, but Mickey definitely needs to step up his game to keep me around.
Sexuality: Mild. A couple scenes take place at a strip club, but it isn't described.
Drugs/Alcohol: Mild. Mickey's mother is a drug addict.
Violence: Mild. Punches thrown and the like.