Tag Archives: Harlan Coben

E-Bookin’ It in Cheap Style

This was the original Kindle.

About four years ago, a new tech toy winked at me, beckoning me to buy it. I almost gave in to the temptation of that clunky-looking e-reader, the Amazon Kindle. But I held off because the price tag was a whopping $399. And you still had to buy e-books!

As Amazon refined the Kindle and kept lowering the price, I continued to resist its siren song, because it still cost too much. Plus I figured that Apple was going to bring out a product I’d probably prefer.

Sure enough, Apple debuted its iPad in the spring of 2010, featuring its own e-book app, iBooks, and the iBookstore. UPS delivered mine that April, and I’ve used it virtually every day since for everything from browsing the web to checking and replying to e-mail to, of course, reading books. I’ve been a very happy camper.

Meet my new tech baby!

And then last week Amazon decided to get serious with the Kindle. They introduced new models and lower price points. One of those newbies instantly caught my eye. Dubbed the “Kindle” (how clever!), it’s a mere six inches wide and weighs less than six ounces.

But the best part? The cost: Only $79! This version does include ads, but they don’t show up while you’re reading. Plus they can be worthwhile. I took advantage of the first one I saw, which was for $5 off almost anything priced $10 or more. Now my cute Kindle’s new cover is even cheaper!

An impetus to buy a Kindle was my experience with the Mister’s keyboard model, which his buddy Eddie Wayne bought for him. It’s so easy to use . . . even for the tech-challenged Mister.

So far, I really like reading on my Kindle. I will admit that when I turned it on, my first impulse was to increase the brightness control . . . which it doesn’t have. It looks nothing like an iBook on my backlit iPad. The E-ink technology and having to use side buttons to turn pages takes getting used to (I’m a swiper).

Then again, e-books are so different from the real thing, which I miss sometimes. You can’t easily figure out how close you are to end of the chapter, for one. And I always like when the left side of the book becomes bigger than the right, as you close in on the end.

But e-books don’t collect dust and clutter up bookshelves. Plus you can have them at your fingertips on any e-reader, whether it’s a Kindle, iPhone, or iPad. They’re definitely part of my future.

Chapter one is ready for me!

Especially the book that I’m eager to start once I finish the autobiography I’m currently reading—Harlan Coben’s new young-adult novel, “Shelter.” I can’t wait for Harlan to grab me by the neck and pull me through yet another well-written thriller.

This time on my new, little Kindle.

Harlan Coben Puts Me Through the Wringer Again

Harlan Coben’s latest and greatest mystery

My baby brother, the hot-shot Chicago lawyer, recommends savoring great books. He doesn’t believe that we should rush through novels just because we can’t wait to see what comes next. He leveled this particular guilty verdict on yours truly just because I read the last Harry Potter tome in about 18 hours (thank you, catheter and smoothie IV).

I would love to see the kid manage to savor a Harlan Coben mystery. It’s impossible! As I’ve written before here and here, Harlan has that uncanny ability to grab you by the neck within the first page . . . sometimes even the opening paragraph, for goodness sakes . . . and drag you through his magnificent tightly worded, often humorous prose. He says, “I want you to pick up the book at 9:30 at night and still be reading it at 4 a.m.” If you’re not careful, that’s exactly what happens.

If you like the mystery/thriller genre, you need to read one of his novels. But don’t be surprised if you get instantly hooked.


I’ve avidly read all 19 of Coben’s novels, 10 of which star sports agent and freelance detective Myron Bolitar; I’m totally an unabashed fan. I just finished reading “Live Wire,” his newest Bolitar thriller, on my iPad. Harlan made me audibly gasp twice (my younger son asked, “Mom, what’s wrong?”) and, of course, made me cry. Somewhere I could see him chuckling with a self-satisfied grin on his handsome face.

Great book, Harlan! I can’t wait to read the next one (he’s starting a young adult novel series that I know I’ll love, too). Baby brother, don’t expect me to savor that one, either.

An Open Letter to Harlan Coben



Dear Mr. Coben:

Do you never tire of grabbing me by the throat and tossing me into your vortex of compelling mystery thrillers? All your books that I’ve read (and thoroughly enjoyed) so far have forced me to follow the same pattern: Start reading the first paragraph and immediately become intrigued. Forget that you’ve hooked me on your line and are merely waiting for the right time to reel me in as I slowly but surely read on when I go out solo for lunch. Finally, with mere chapters left, cause me to drop everything to read without stopping until I finish.

“No Second Chance”

This just happened to me with “No Second Chance,” which had me in tears near the end. I doubt that any other author sends his/her readers’ emotions on a roller-coaster ride quite like you. You are the master of twists, turns, and even more twists and turns . . . as well as of the satisfying ending. I almost feel exhausted when I finally close the book for good.

Even though I know what to expect, I’m diving in once again with “Tell No One,” which I’ll begin reading today. Start the roller coaster!

Getting Hooked By a Mystery Series

Harlan Coben’s first two Myron Bolitar novels.

Like my #1 son, I love to read. I’ve been flipping fascinatingly through pages since the age of four when my older sister Fran taught me how letters formed words, which begat sentences and then books.

But unlike #1, who beat me in learning to read by a year, I don’t have time to sit with a book glued to my face whenever possible (where “whenever possible” = not on the computer). Instead, I usually limit my reading of novels to when I go out to eat lunch solo. Which is why it can take me a long time to finish a book.

Books three and four

For the last year, my favorite choice of lunchtime reading material has been Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series. If you’re a fan of the mystery genre, you need to check out Coben’s novels. There are nine Bolitar books so far; the first one debuted in 1995, just like my #2 son!

As I noted in a previous blog post, my friend Diane, my nice neighborhood crack book dealer, got me hooked on the Coben books, just like she did with the Janet Evanovich series. I waited about a year before reading “Deal Breaker” and then wondered why I had put off becoming part of Bolitar’s world.

Coben is a master at writing thrillers: His plots are intriguing, his characters are compelling, his writing is tight and humorous. I’ll be reading one of his books several chapters at a time, depending on how slowly I’m eating lunch. Until all of a sudden I’m nearing the end of the book, and Coben has me hooked! I just can’t wait to find out the who, what, when, where, why, and how Bolitar, who is part sports agent and part detective, solves the mystery.

Books five and six (the one I'm currently reading)

I’ve steadily made my way through Coben’s first five Bolitar novels. I’m currently reading number six, “Darkest Fear.” It’s so good and so compelling that I’ve been tempted on more than one occasion to bring it inside from its temporary home in my Honda Pilot and become comatose with it on the couch as I gobble up and enjoy every sentence.

But I won’t (well, until I near the end), because there still are three more Bolitar books to read. Plus, Coben has written eight stand-alone (non-Myron) mysteries as well. I’m set for my lunchtime reading for a long time!

eBookin’ It—An Update

The first eBook I finished—finally!

The first eBook I finished—finally!

Memory search time . . . I’ll wait while you get yours turned on (mine, sad to say, has been on “off” too much this summer). Remember this blog post? Way back in March (on the 10th, to be exact) I wrote about eBook week.

Sidebar: For those of you not hip with tech lingo, “eBooks” are electronic books read on your smartphone, Kindle, or computer.

I claimed in that post that I was going to finish “Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead,” the Saralee Rosenberg book I bought from Amazon using the free Kindle app for the iPhone, that week. Yes, friends, it was I, your friendly, neighborhood, procrastinator, who blithely said I’d read 352 pages on a small, handheld device that doubles as a phone in a mere seven days.

Sidebar: I’ve polished off the 700-plus-pages Harry Potter books in a couple days, but those are totally different—mesmerizing and addicting, impossible to put down. And they’re physically big novels! I’m not sure how fast I would’ve read them on my iPhone’s small screen.

Needless to say, it took me a tiny bit longer than a week to read my eBook, where “tiny bit” = three months. I read the novel when I was out and about, usually in line and waiting for service. I loved having a book always at the ready so I didn’t get bored. And I relished “Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead!” Rosenberg did tie all the loose ends up in a neat, tidy bow, but I truly enjoyed the plot and the characters. I would definitely read another book by her . . . on my iPhone!

"Fade Away," my second eBook

"Fade Away," my second eBook

But right now I’m reading my second eBook, “Fade Away,” Harlan Coben‘s third Myron Bolitar mystery, thanks to my friend Diane, my neighborhood crack book dealer. First, she got me hooked on the laugh-out-loud Janet Evanovich series (which, by the way, needs to come to a satisfactory end in next year’s 16th book; this series has gone about three books too long). Then, about a year ago, she lent me Coben’s first two Bolitar novels. I put off reading them until a couple months ago.

Why in the world did I wait so long? Coben is a master at the tightly-written, edge-of-your-seat mystery. He’s the type of writer who casually throws out the bait, patiently sets up the intriguing plot and characters, and finally hooks you so hard that you can’t put the book down until you’ve finished. Now the Mister is reading Coben’s first book, “Deal Breaker.”

Once I finished Rosenberg’s book, I quickly went to amazon.com and bought “Fade Away” for the Kindle. I’m a couple chapters into it, and already I’m hooked. The biggest negative to the eBook is that I can’t just hand it to the Mister or anyone else. We would need to buy a Kindle in order to share the book, which might not be such a bad idea (I always love an excuse for an expensive, electronic purchase!).

Hey, Mister! Guess what I’d like for my upcoming birthday!!

Speaking of expensive, electronic purchases

The new Apple iPhone 3GS

The new Apple iPhone 3GS

Guess who has a new iPhone?!? I’ve loved the original iPhone since the Mister surprised me with it for my birthday two Augusts ago. I managed to ignore last year’s iPhone 3G, but this year’s 3GS was too much for my weakness for new electronics to overcome. I simply wanted more speed in my smartphone; the Edge network and the original iPhone processor are too pokey for me.

I’ve had the 3GS for almost a week now, and I love it! What a difference in speed!! Kind of like comparing my Honda Pilot to a Porsche, I’d imagine. And I especially love reading my Harlan Coben eBook on it! I’m eBookin’ as I’m iPhonein’!