Review Blog

Jan 10 2012

Shelter: a Mickey Bolitar novel by Harlan Coben

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Indigo, 2011. ISBN 9781780621180.
(Age 12+) Recommended. Crime thriller. Harlan Coben, a bestselling crime author for adults, has started a crime series for young adults. It features Mickey Bolitar, a teenager who has been forced to live with his Uncle Myron after he witnessed the death of his father, and whose mother can't cope and is sent to rehab. He finds his new high school difficult but makes some unusual friends and when his girlfriend, Ashley, disappears without a word, he is determined to find out what has happened to her. He also comes across the strange Bat Lady, a local recluse who states that his father is not dead.
In his quest he uncovers a sinister underworld and is forced to confront some mysteries about her and his family.
Mickey is an attractive main character, who has led an unusual life travelling the world with his parents. He is good at basketball, loyal to his friends and not afraid to take risks going to a seedy nightclub in New Jersey and taking on dangerous criminals.
There is action galore as Mickey and his sidekicks, Spoon and Ema, both of whom are social outcasts, start to investigate what has happened to Ashley and why there are strange people lurking around the neighbourhood. The suspense and mystery kept me reading this book in one sitting, and even though I did find the ending a bit abrupt, I don't doubt that it will entice the reader to grab the next in the series when it is published.
Coben's foray into young adolescent fiction is an entertaining and successful one and should appeal to teens, both as an introduction to the crime genre and as an exciting read. I would suspect that fans of this book will go looking for the adult series that features Mickey's Uncle Myron.
Pat Pledger

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