Dr David Beck is a paediatric doctor in downtown New York, dedicated to his work, with nothing else in his life he feels worth living for. Eight years previous, he and his wife had visited their favourite spot as they did every anniversary, but things had gone horrible wrong. She was killed and Beck was left for dead. As far as everyone was concerned, Elizabeth had been a victim of a serial killer, since caught and convicted and waiting on death row.
What Beck isn’t prepared for are a series of mystery emails written in code and revealing only things that he and his wife could have known. Convinced she is still alive, Beck sets out to find the truth. In doing so, he arouses the suspicion of a known criminal, also interested in the whereabouts of Elizabeth Beck. There follows a series of catastrophic events that lead to the FBI suspecting that Beck may have in fact killed his wife and before he knows it, Beck is on the run from both the FBI and these unknown gangsters. Beck, being desperate, turns to the father of one of his patients for help. Tyrese is a high profile drug dealer, with the know-how to help Beck escape this dangerous situation.
With the help of Tyrese, plus Beck’s sister and her partner, a hotshot lawyer friend and a local cop who himself is beginning to unravel the mystery surrounding Elizabeth’s death, Beck is able to work out the truth, with some surprising results.
This is the first Harlan Coben book I’ve read and I chose it based on the reviews. However, I have to say that I wasn’t as bowled over and entuhsiastic about it as some of the reviewers were. Yes, I enjoyed the story, but I didn’t find it as gripping a page-turner as I’d expected. I also found the twist at the end rather surprising, if a little unbelievable. Beck is not your typical alpha male. He is intelligent and sensitive and deeply in love with Elizabeth. The pair were childhood sweet hearts, who never grew apart and even eight years after her death, he is still as in love with her as ever. I like that about him. It’s refreshing that the lead male character, written by a man at that, is not Mr Butch, but at the same time he is a hero in his own way.
The suspense in this story comes from the criminal group who are looking for Beck and Elizabeth. Whilst not knowing why is enough to keep you reading, when it comes to the actual explanation, it all felt a little rushed for my liking. Elizabeth’s father, Hoyt, has a major role to play in all of this. An ex cop, he is the opposite of Beck, the typical alpha male I already mentioned. It’s quite clear that he never much cared for Beck, but not so clear why. I think that the author may have intended there to be the overhanging question of the unreliable narrator in this story, but that was never clear. Let’s just say that it should have been and that would have made the story much more intriguing.