Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

I found this book at the local bookstore -- they were featuring the author at one of the front displays.  It is the first novel in a crime series that centers around sports, specifically through the detective/investigator in the case, sports agent Myron Bolitar.  The novel made me want to keep reading, and really was a page-turner in the best sense of the word.  The plot centers around the disappearance of a young woman from a college campus -- she was the cheerleader dating the star quarterback, who happens to be Myron Bolitar's first big client as a sports agent.  Myron is funny and sarcastic in the first scene, in which he negotiates with the team's owner over the quarterback's contract.  This disarming humor throughout the book helps keep readers on Myron's side, even as he and his sidekick/enforcer, Win, descend into some dirty business and commit acts that could be called morally questionable.  The morality level isn't too heavy in this one, though -- it's clear there are good guys and bad guys, and the scenes showing prostitution and drug dealing go out of their way to make those crimes seem completely unappealing.  The author does the standard crime novel trick of releasing just enough information to leave readers guessing, right until the very end.  The twist at the end was a surprise, at least to me, although I probably should have seen it coming.  I am not very good at guessing these things, but I had some hunches that turned out to be right.  Overall, this novel is a very entertaining read.  I noticed a few details from the early 90s that stick out now as outdated, but the novel holds up pretty well with all the changes we've been through since then.
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