Harlan Coben is my favorite American author of detective novels, and I have been reading his work for years.
Plot elements are similar to his past works, like the location between NY, Atlantic City and Jersey suburbs, as well as the pretty dame in distress, the heartbroken gentlemen, the persistent detective, and the serial killer.
The whole story begins when an unknown person attacks a paparazzi photographer and snatches his camera containing a very important photograph. The story follows two decades of cold case files from missing people in Atlantic City, led by detective Broom and his associate Erin Anderson. The only links between the cases is that they happened every single year during a Mardi Gras celebration. The story also unveils the double life of a dedicated soccer mom, Megan Pierce (or Cassie - the name from her former life).
At that point any similarity with other Coben books is done. This book holds a fairly uncertain ending to it, and that is the beauty of all Coben’s novels. I can gladly recommend this book to all who enjoy tense and simple dialogues written in a masterful way by one of the best modern fiction novelist in the USA.
Megan is a suburban soccer mom who once upon a time walked on the wild side. Now she's got two kids, a perfect husband, a picket fence, and a growing sense of dissatisfaction. Ray used to be a talented documentary photographer, but at the age of forty he finds himself in a dead-end job posing as a paparazzo, pandering to celebrity-obsessed rich kids. Broome is a detective who can't let go of a cold case--a local husband and father who disappeared seventeen years ago--and spends the anniversary every year visiting a house frozen in time, the missing man's family still waiting, his slippers left by the recliner as if he might show up at any moment to step into them.
Three people living lives they never wanted, hiding secrets that even those closest to them would never suspect, will find that the past never truly fades away. Even as the terrible consequences of long-ago events crash together in the present and threaten to ruin lives, they will come to the startling realization that they may not want to forget the past at all. And as each confronts the dark side of the American dream--the boredom of a nice suburban life, the excitement of temptation, the desperation and hunger that can lurk behind even the prettiest facades--they will discover the hard truth that the line between one kind of life and another can be as whisper-thin as a heartbeat.
Master of domestic suspense Harlan Coben delivers his trademark combination of page-turning thrills and unrivaled insight into the dark shadows that creep into even the happiest communities.
Praise for the narration of Stay Close by Harlan Coben, performed by Scott Brick:
"Scott Brick crafts characters not so much by shaping each individual voice with different accents but by expressions and tones that convey strong emotions. And the emotions are far ranging. Empathy, psychotic behavior, and frantic helplessness all figure into the narration as much as the plot. It's a diverse group tied to the crimes: a crooked cop haunted by his conscience, two young psychopathic killers without remorse, old lovers who are trying to escape their past and confront their present. Brick's narration is crucial as the solution is unearthed." (c) AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine