The Stranger Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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#1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense Harlan Coben delivers his most shocking thriller yet, proving that a well-placed lie can help build a wonderful life - and a secret has the same explosive power to destroy it.
The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar or a parking lot or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.
Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.
Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne's deception and realizes that if he doesn't make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he's stumbled into will not only ruin lives - it will end them.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 43 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||March 24 2015|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #37,399 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#799 in Crime Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#906 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#2,349 in Psychological Thrillers (Books)
Top reviews from Canada
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To begin with, there is the unlikely premise that a group of amateurs can gain access through the internet to uncover secrets in a person`s life in order to blackmail them. Then the killings that take place in the book are off the charts, the motivations unrealistic. There is a lot of filler. As each character is introduced, and there`s a lot of them, we get their entire life history and a detailed description of the environment in which they appear.
The good news is, the 450 odd pages can be skimmed in a couple of hours and none of the story will be lost. Time for Coben to get back to Myron Bolitar and Win and give the thrillers a rest.
Top reviews from other countries
However that pales into significance with the main problem - structure. I noticed that some reviewers thought the book was too slow paced, others thought it was too fast. They are both right. It starts out slow, with detailed descriptions of irrelevant happenings such as a bodybuilding class given by Corrine's friend and just meanders on getting nowhere fast. I started to worry when I reached a point where my kindle was showing that the book was nearly 80% complete at a point where the plot is just starting to kick in - at that point I started feared he would end up rushing to a half baked conclusion andI was right. After a very slow start he starts to race through the chapters at a breakneck speed as if he had a deadline to met and a word count he must not exceed. We don't learn nearly enough about Heidi, Kimberley, Kuntz and his family etc, the company he works for. and in the end only the Adam and Corrine story is resolved properly. (Coben has played the mean author trick of introducing us to characters and situations we are supposed to care about then promptly forgetting them and leaving those plotlines high and dry). The actual ending holds no real surprises - the real villain in Adam's life is highlighted right from the start and his motive can easily be guessed. (Though TBH the blackmail plot makes little sense in the context of this storyline). The writing becomes incredibly simplistic as the book progresses and it starts to feel like something we are being told rather than experiencing at second hand. The writing also becomes incredibly simplistic and I started to feel like I was reading a book aimed at primary school kids.
I won't return it as the price was fair but I would caution anyone not to pay anymore than 1.99. The plot is confusing and ultimately Coben fails to deliver a satisfactory conclusion.
In the story, Adam Price is pretty comfortable. He’s married to Corinne and they have two sons and a nice life in New Jersey. One day, Adam is approached by a stranger, at the American Legion Hall, who tells him a shocking secret about Corinne.
There are a great number of well-drawn characters and the storytelling is excellent. If the plot hadn’t been so strong, I’ll admit, I would have given fewer stars.
Here’s the thing: I didn’t enjoy the pop culture references.
For example: “He flipped through the music stations as he drove, searching for some nonexistent perfect song that would be, as Stevie Nicks might sing, “hauntingly familiar”.”
The Stranger, Harlan Coben, page 132.
Now, I’m sorry, but this is annoying on two levels.
1. I can’t hear any reference to Stevie Nicks, or Edge of Seventeen, without feeling the absolute compulsion to dig out the CD and start dancing round the living room in my socks. Once exhausted, I will (of course) go back to the story, but I will resent it for making me think of Stevie Nicks who, almost certainly, didn’t write the book.
2. There’s no question that Harlan Coben is a master of the written word, so a reference to an outside source feels disconnected and - kind of sluggish.
“To paraphrase that movie with Jack Nicholson, some people can’t handle the truth.”
The Stranger, Harlan Coben, page 294.
As this is my first experience of Harlan Coben’s writing, I have no idea whether this is just a stylistic choice that crops up in all his works, however, I didn’t care for it. It felt (I’m sorry) lazy.
I've seen reviews slating this book but I greatly enjoyed the story and flew through it. It was pacy and puzzling and I just needed to know what was going to happen next. In the odd place I did get a little confused till it all started to be revealed towards the end. So I flicked back a couple of times to get it all right in my head. Though I am admittedly still a tad baffled about Johanna's ending.......I can't really get that right in my head.
I liked Rinsky a great deal and would really like to have learned more about what him and his cronies are doing with their cold cases now they're retired. That would be a great story in itself.
It has some amusing lines that are usual in his stories but I REALLY liked the Butterface mention. However, my reaction upon reading this line was "Just.....why ?"........he wrote "Pure hyperbole. But if hyper-bole couldn't feel free......" then I spotted a few apostrophe mistakes here and there, NewYork needed a space, he added another needless hyphen to Beach-wood (but only once) then we had, "Adam opened the car door behind him and slid him into the backseat" which was fine English but he didn't slide anyone into the backseat, he climbed in himself !!
That was all of the errors, though, so a massive improvement making it so much more of a pleasure to read him again at last !
However the pace picks up and the story develops two different threads, Corinne's disappearance and internet blackmail. The main problem with the story is that trying to weave these two threads together requires some rather unbelievable actions on the part of Corinne and Adam's community around him. Not to mention the homicidal ex-cop. None of this really worked for me. The connection was too flimsy and the plotting too unbelievable. Not one of Coben's better books.
I was rushed into reading this as far too many people were talking about the Netflix show and I was avoiding spoilers but it was no hardship. I enjoyed this, its follows the usual formula, plot driven, everything constantly being thrown on it head and you're in a daze until the reveal and you cant believe you didnt spot the signs.
Basically if Lewis Carroll wrote thrillers, it would be a Harlan Coben novel.
A solid 4 star read.
Once my head settles I shall dive into the show.