Adam B. Vary
April 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Just One Look

Current Status
In Season
Harlan Coben
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a B+

”The air rushed out of the room.” It’s a common and all-too-effective cliche of the modern suspense thriller, and Coben has fashioned a story full of them: the mysterious photograph that causes a loving husband and father to leave suddenly in the night; his restless, resilient suburban wife — with the haunting, traumatic past — who tries to find him; the ruthless assassin who can kill with a touch; the nosy neighbor; the Mob boss; and even the generic, meaningless title. Coben proves his nimble, knowing grasp of plot and pace, juggling as many as seven plotlines while still imparting a healthy backstory to cameo characters. You’ll read it in a day, maybe two; it’s fresh fast food in a cup-of-ramen world.

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