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Crescent Blues Book ViewsDell Publishing (paperback), ISBN 0440236703
Eight years ago, a serial killer murdered Dr. David Beck's wife, Elizabeth, leaving her beaten and branded corpse on the side of a country road. In a coma because of a blow received during the assault, Beck never said got a chance to say goodbye to his lifelong love. Never fully recovering from his lBook: Harlan Coben, tell no oneoss, Beck sleepwalks through his life; attending to his patients, caring for his ailing grandfather and occasionally seeing a dwindling number of friends. Never fully living any moment, he goes through the motions of his life, trying to keep from thinking of the pain caused by the loss of his wife.

Beck's non-life changes when he receives a mysterious message in his e-mail. The message leads him to believe his darling Elizabeth is alive, but admonishes him to tell no one. Obsessed with finding her, unwilling to lose her again, Beck begins his search, uncovering plots much greater than he ever expected. The answers he finds only lead to other, more sinister questions and Beck finds himself in the middle of a drama he knows nothing about.

Book: Harlan Coben, Deal BreakerWhile the plot proves satisfyingly complex, and the characters interesting and varied, much of the violence in the novel seems gratuitous. Often crossing the line from gritty and raw to downright disturbing and disgusting, some scenes left this reviewer nauseated. With a plot this suspenseful and tense, gore serves only to weaken the tightness of the novel. Left to shudder and wince as characters endure graphically described torture, the reader cannot focus on the mounting tensions and subtle subplots.

Wonderfully written, the novel draws you into Beck's tortured non-life. His descriptions of his two contrasting lives, pre- and post-murder, elicit great sympathy. The multiple mysteries to be solved provide many levels of deception to dig through. At one point, I found myself screaming, "That bastard! He did it! He killed her!" My husband, alarmed at first, saw I was reading and simply shook his head and went back to what he was doing. I sat back down and chewed on my hair, unwilling to put the book down long enough to explain my outburst.

Ceridwen S. Lewin

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