Hold Tight, by Harlan Coben

A mother and father are concerned about the behaviour of their teenage son: he's become more than unusually withdrawn, and since the suicide of one of his friends, the situation has become so bad that they decided to put a keylogger on his PC to track his activity. But the messages they intercept suggest that something pretty bad may be going on that he's trying to hide from them.

Unusually for a Coben book of this type (maybe the first one I've read), this doesn't hinge on some decades old past event coming back to haunt the protagonist - seems like he's trying something a bit away from the standard formula (this is quite a recent book). Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this one wasn't really that good.

There were a number of plot strands which eventually more or less came together, but the tension didn't really get going. In fact I think there were too many sets of characters, and it wasn't always easy to keep track of which story applied to which people.

I get the feeling that perhaps Coben was a bit knocked out by the idea that it's possible to spy on someone's PC activity (he has a note at the start of the book saying that all the technologies he talks about are real), and felt he wanted to write a book about that without spending so much time on the story.

In fact, I'm not sure he got things quite get it right, because at one stage he has them using the "spy" software to snoop incoming email messages before the boy has read them himself.

Readable, but not compulsive; the weakest Coben book I've read to date.

Completed : 14-May-2009

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