Six Years by Harlan Coben

Suspense-lover that I am, I had not read any novels by Harlan Coben – until now. On a whim, I picked up Six Years, a stand-alone novel by Coben published early in 2013. Despite some minor irritation with Coben’s penchant for highly-dramatic foreshadowing, the plot in this novel is as warped as that of Gone Girl. Uh huh, I just compared Six Years to Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster, twisted suspense that has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for more than a year.

Jake Fisher is a slightly geeky political science professor at a rural, private college in Massachusetts. Six years ago he fell hard for Natalie, a young painter passing the summer at an artist retreat. Jake and Natalie frolicked for a summer and then… BAM! Jake was jilted and jolted when Natalie suddenly married another guy and asked Jake to not contact her ever again. Jake upholds his end of the promise until six years go by, and he sees an obituary for Natalie’s husband. He attends Todd’s funeral in Georgia and gets the surprise of his life when Todd’s wife and widow is not Natalie. Natalie was never married to Todd. But… wait! Jake attended the wedding, and saw with this own eyes Natalie marry Todd. So, what’s the story? Maybe Jake is delusional? Jake sets off on a semi-obsessive hunt for Natalie, and discovers that she never existed, at least on paper. No one seems to have any memory of Natalie. The artist retreat where he met her is gone, and no one in the small town claims to have heard of its existence. The search becomes dangerous when Jake becomes the one who is hunted…but by whom – and why? Check out Six Years and find out.

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