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Home » Books & writing

Book Review: Harlan Coben’s LIVE WIRE

Submitted by on March 13, 2011 – 10:44 pm 22 Comments

It has never taken me more than two days to finish a Harlan Coben book and it was no different with his latest, Live Wire (Dutton, March 22). Myron and Win are back in another fast-paced tale that starts with a pregnant client of Myron’s, former tennis ace Suzze T, receiving an anonymous Facebook comment claiming that her husband, Lex, isn’t her baby’s father. Lex, the less famous half of a rock duo, has disappeared and Suzze wants Myron to find him and the person who posted the comment. In doing so, Myron runs into his sister-in-law Kitty, whom he hasn’t seen for fifteen years, since she and Myron’s brother Brad cut off contact with the Bolitar family after a nasty altercation. Kitty turns out to be a key figure in a complicated case that ends up with several people dead and Myron’s world turned upside down.

One of the things I like about the Bolitar series is that the characters evolve. Over the last few books, Myron has been dealing with his parents getting older and in this book the issue comes to the forefront. It’s a realistic and heartfelt exploration of what it means to face the inevitable, to have what you thought was far off arrive on your doorstep and ring the bell. Myron and Win are aging, too, with Win wearing reading glasses now, though he’s still deadly enough—if not more than ever—to bail Myron out of tough spots.

Live Wire reveals a Bolitar family history that readers had never known, introducing family members we—and even Myron, in one instance—had never met. We learn that Myron contributed to the estrangement of his brother and his sister-in-law Kitty wasn’t always the despicable person she’s become. Coben makes a bold move by drastically altering Myron’s (and Win’s and Esperanza’s) life by the end of the book, leaving our hero headed in a new direction. This change is welcome because as engrossing as Coben’s novels are, there’s a pattern developing (in his standalones, too): The protagonist receives a video/call/e-mail and now Facebook comment from someone who hasn’t been seen/heard from in years/long thought dead, which sends Myron/protagonist on a dangerous mission. Hopefully, as Myron and his friends tackle new personal challenges, they and the series will continue to age gracefully.

Nerd verdict: Strong Live

Buy Live Wire from Amazon| B&N| Indie Bookstore

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22 Comments »

  • Donna says:

    Yay, Myron and Win are back! And I had a feeling Coben was going to make some changes. Sigh. Know it keeps a series interesting but it’s like aging – we have to accept it sooner or later. I love Myron because he has such heart. My Dad will be 80 this year. He’s in great health and am thankful every day to spend with him. Love your review, Elyse. Honest, to the point and making me want to break into a bookstore to get the book NOW. Lol!

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      I think the changes in the book are good, Donna; they keep the characters realistic. Win is almost supernatural in his crime-fighting skills so the fact that he now needs reading glasses humanizes him.

      Hearing about your time with your dad—the bike rides, etc.—always makes me smile. And you only have to wait until next Tuesday to get this book!

  • Christine says:

    Doing my happy dance! Brian and I always look forward to Myron and Win. I love that there’s usually some satisfying suspense/action/ass-kicking, but it is also the humor and heart of his characters. It’s one of those series that I want to catchup on all of his characters, not just Myron and Win.

    One of the things I like about the Bolitar series is that the characters evolve. Agreed! The only downside to the evolution of the characters is that I know, and dread, the day that this series will have to come to an end – unless, of course, Harlan decides that there’s some prequel stories to tell. 😉

    Do you have a favorites of the series? One of mine would be FADE AWAY when Myron joins the NBA team to investigate disappearance of his former friend/rival.

    Great review, Elyse!

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      All the ass-kicking, humor, and heart are here. My favorites are ONE FALSE MOVE & FINAL DETAIL, though I can’t remember plot specifics. I think one of them starts with Myron standing over someone’s grave saying he had killed her and it made me think, “Whaaat??” It’s quite an attention-grabbing prologue!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I do love me some Myron and Win…especially Win. Now, if he could just evolve out of his preoccupation with porn. 😉

  • Paulette Feeney says:

    Yu and Mee? One of my students is named Yu Wang! Weally! I am doing the happy dance right along with Christine and like Elizabeth, I love me some Myron and Win. Thanks for the great review, Elyse. Can’t wait to see you later this week on stage!!!

  • Jann says:

    Another happy dancer! Ordered my copy over the weekend and will make the stupid trek through SF to Corta Madera to see HC on the 28th.

  • Lindsay Combs says:

    A good series has interesting characters who solve good mysteries. A great series has characters that capture the heart and compels you to become engrossed in their lives while they solve life’s mysteries. That’s why the Bolitar series is beloved. Myron’s relationships, chief among them his friendship with Win, are what makes readers long for the next book. Live Wire is an engaging read because of the special moments with the regulars, especially the heart wrenching ones between Win and Myron. Live Wire is disturbing because once the readers are emotionally strung out, they get sucker punched. I am wondering if the young adult series will be an attenpt to replace the adult series or will the two mature side by side. Early advertisements touted that Myron and Win would make an appearance in the young adult series, now it appears that it is just Myron.

  • Daniella says:

    Hey everyone I have a question. I have read almost all of the Myron Bolitar books and I could have sworn that he was an only child. I even remember Coben saying it in certain book, so before I drive myself crazy and go looking through all of them again, can someone tell me if I just imagined this? Thanks 🙂

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      Hi Daniella, I can’t remember if Coben ever said that Myron is an only child but I WAS surprised to discover he has a brother who’s never been mentioned.

    • Wendy Carter says:

      Myron is definitely not an only child. In an earlier book, Myron was thinking back to the time that his father took his brother and him to a ball game where a spectator decided to bully him and his brother. He was so proud of the way his father defended them.

      In another book, Myron said that he moved into his the basement when his sister went off to college.

      • ShaneD says:

        Yep, I remember that. Harlan Coben is a plotter and, as befits one, he must have known that he’d need a storyline that changed the map of Myron’a universe forever. He kept Brad in reserve, it seems, for this purpose. I’ve put off reading this one for ages and I even read Shelter last year. The Myron and Win relationship is difficult to age as so much of their adventure is based on them not having humdrum responsibilities which could impede their crime fighting ways and Win’s superhero status. Perhaps giving Win a breather and putting Myron in the position of Mickey’s guardian was the best way to mature the characters and move on the storyline.
        For us Bolitar addicts, we’ll still read the Mickey B books even if it’s aimed at “young adults” 🙂

  • Marcia says:

    I just finished reading the latest Myron book. A question: Was the mystery charity Brad and Kitty worked for ever explained? It seems the charity didn’t exist at the end.

  • Jess says:

    I love Myron and Win…especially win:) Live wire was one of my favorites, but was anyone else bothered by this ‘shift In their relationship’ at the end? I couldn’t decide if it meant there would be distance between them now and it made me sad…

  • Jade says:

    I just finished reading the 11th book of the Myron Bollitar series. I’m confused. In the 10th book live wire in the end we find out that Brad, Myrons brother, died. They have a burial for him and everything. But in the 11th book, Home, Brad the brother is alive. Did I miss something?

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