Home by Harlan Coben

Myron Bolitar is back!! It has been 5 years since we got to hang out with Myron and Win as they quipped and joked their way through an investigation. This time Win calls on Myron for help in the 10 year old kidnapping of his then 6 year-old nephew. Win has a lead in London, and of course, things get sticky.

homeFor those who are new to Harlan Coben, he has this wonderful series with Myron, a sports agent of sorts who helps clients and friends out of problems – think Jack Reacher with a great sense of humor. Coben also has 15 stand-alone thrillers which are good, but his Myron Bolitar series is where he excels.

This series reminds me of Louise Penny’s Gamache series combined with Robert Parker’s original series staring Spenser. Like with Penny, you quickly grow to love the characters who come back time and again. Esperanza and Big Cyndi (female wrestlers and Myron partners) make an appearance in Home, as well as Myron’s mom, dad, and nephew Mickey who has his own 3-book YA series now by Coben. And then there is Win, Myron’s mega-rich college buddy who I would really want as a friend if I had problems. Or even if I didn’t!

I don’t want to give the impression that the books are light or silly. The story line is quite serious, but the characters are enjoyable and sassy like Parker’s Spenser and Hawk. This plot is well played out and challenging to fully guess how it will go. You could not ask for a better book in this genre.

Coben’s stand-alone thrillers are good, some really good, but he finds his true form with  Myron, Win and the rest of the cast. If you are new to the Bolitar series, which has 11 books in it now, you might want to start with Deal Breaker, his first from 1995. Lucky you!

My rating 5 of 5.

The Good Cop by Brad Parks

With Parks fourth book about Carter Ross, ace reporter for a Newark, NJ, newspaper, I found a predictable mystery – but who cares! Parks is funny, clever and entertaining as he takes his hero in search of a cop killer. The attraction in Park’s novels is Ross and his somewhat unrealistic but still fun adventures.

At first the police say that the dead cop committed suicide but Ross thinks differently. After all, why would a man with a job he loved, a beautiful and adoring family, and plans to go to Disneyland suddenly kill himself – and in the police station shower nonetheless!

The minor characters are some of the book’s high points with an intern who Ross uses and abuses, a boss who wants to have Ross’ baby and sources who are just short of ridiculous. The story is original even though it is the typical reporter who solves the crime story – a summer read to make you smile.

Parks’ debut, Faces of the Gone (2009), won the Nero Award for Best American Mystery and the Shamus Award for Best First Mystery. In doing so, Parks became the first author in the combined 60-year history of the Nero and the Shamus to win both awards for the same book. And The Good Cop won the Shamus Award for Best Novel in 2014.

I am going to go back and read all the Carter Ross series (there are 6 as of today). If you like to take a break sometimes from the violence and dark side of mystery novels, give Brad Parks a chance to amuse you with his fine writing.

My rating: 5 out of 5