Harlan Coben: The Stranger

Early reviews of Harlan Coben’s newest release, The Stranger, seemed to have two things in common: All of them had universal praise for the thriller and all of them revealed what we thought was a key plot point. Whoa, shouldn’t reviewers be more careful or at least label the reveal with a spoiler alert? “Not much I can do about it,” Coben tells us, in town for a discussion and signing session. “It’s the way of the world, I think. Most movie trailers now show the entire story. They used to just tease. Fortunately, the setup is a small thing in this book.”

The setup to which Coben is referring is simple and elegant. Adam thinks he has a picture-perfect life — a great wife and kids, a good job, a nice house, all the trappings of happy suburban existence. When a stranger tells Adam his life is built on a lie, Adam’s world is turned upside down. Here’s where reviewers seem to go one step too far. The lie that shakes Adam up? His wife faked a miscarriage early in their marriage. That’s a spoiler, right?

The Stranger has enough twists so that if you knew ten of them, it still wouldn’t ruin much,” Coben says. “I dare you to figure it all out. A few clues won’t change that.”

6:30 p.m. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit murderbooks.com. Free.
Wed., March 25, 6:30 p.m., 2015

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Olivia Flores Alvarez