“Don’t Let Go” (Dutton), by Harlan Coben
A New Jersey detective finds himself still haunted by events that occurred 15 years earlier in Harlan Coben’s latest thriller, “Don’t Let Go.”
Napoleon “Nap” Dumas spends his time working for the police along with discreetly conducting vigilante justice against men who physically abuse women. One day two police officers arrive on his doorstep with some news. A fingerprint along with DNA he put into the system years ago has come back with a hit at the scene of a police officer’s shooting at a traffic stop. The DNA matches his girlfriend who mysteriously disappeared 15 years earlier, shortly after the death of his twin brother and his brother’s girlfriend.
Nap never believed the official report of their death, and has questioned everything about that fateful night.
The more he investigates her sudden reappearance, along with her involvement in a police officer’s murder, will lead Nap down a rabbit hole that will cause him to lose trust in everyone he loves.
Coben tells the story from Nap’s point of view, so following the mental steps he takes to find the truth adds an extra layer to both the readability and the puzzlement of the story. When the reveal happens, the other characters have always assumed that Nap knew the truth but was in denial. Readers know that is not the case.
The likeability of Nap is paramount to this story, and even though he sometimes steps a bit outside the law for his own brand of justice, he is both endearing and sometimes quite witty. Coben is the master of these types of characters while exposing the hidden layers of suburbia.
There are a few elements that don’t make sense in the grand scheme of things, but it doesn’t matter. This is all about Nap and his quest.