Narrator: Nick Podehl
Series: Mickey Bolitar #1
Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, Brilliance Audio on 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Law & Crime, Mysteries & Detective Stories
Source: Brilliance Audio
I received this book for free from Brilliance Audio in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Buy on Amazon
A young adult debut from internationally bestselling author Harlan Coben Mickey Bolitar's year can't get much worse. After witnessing his father's death and sending his mom to rehab, he's forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools. A new school comes with new friends and new enemies, and lucky for Mickey, it also comes with a great new girlfriend, Ashley. For a while, it seems like Mickey's train-wreck of a life is finally improving - until Ashley vanishes without a trace. Unwilling to let another person walk out of his life, Mickey follows Ashley's trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that this seemingly sweet, shy girl isn't who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey's father. Soon, Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it makes high school drama seem like a luxury - and leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.
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.