With sixteen other best selling thrillers under his belt, you can be assured that the latest offering from Harlan Coben is going to deliver. And deliver it does.
Caught is the story of a community shattered by the loss of a teenage girl, by the misplaced trust they put in one of their own and a reporter hell bent on the truth, at whatever cost.
Dan Mercer is a respected social worker who works with troubled youth. He coaches a basketball team and spends all of his time devoting himself to helping these kids any way he can. No stranger to a troubled childhood, he wants to help other kids in situations that he once found himself in. But how much help is too much, and are his intentions not so pure after all. One shocking day, Dan finds himself in the centre of an elaborate set-up. He walks into a house, supposedly in response to a call from one of the kids he helps, to find TV cameras and ‘evidence’ that he had been scheming to meet an underage girl for sex after meeting her on the internet.
Wendy Tynes is the reporter behind the sting – with strong evidence that Dan Mercer actually preys on kids, she goes public and he goes to court. Acquitted on a technicality Dan becomes a fugitive – a target for parents and vigilantes everywhere, he is no longer safe in his own town. He tries, desperately, to get Wendy to believe in his innocence and she eventually begins to wonder about her usually accurate instincts. But it may just be too late for Dan.
In the midst of all this, a popular and high achieving teenage girl goes missing. Her parents are grief stricken, but there is no sign of their daughter anywhere. Hayley McWaid is missing for over three months before evidence is found that may locate her kidnapper. Is Dan Mercer responsible for her disappearance? And with him on the run will they ever find her?
Harlan Coben manages to layer this story with enough twists and shocks to keep the suspense building until the very end. The seemingly superficial links between the main characters do not give you enough of a clue as to how this one is going to play out. And believe me there are no happy endings here – the outcome is not pretty and there is certainly no easy way out for the main players. But it is a terrific story, and an intriguing look into how ‘normal’ everyday people can get caught up in things that they just can’t seem to work their way out of.
This one will keep you up all night – guaranteed!
Available now: Hachette RRP$32.99