Saturday, 9 February 2013

Shelter by Harlan Coben

Shelter is Harlan Coben's entry into Young Adult market featuring Myron Bolitar's nephew, 15 year old Mickey Bolitar who is first introduced in Live Wire. You can read my review for Live Wire here.

After a nomadic life travelling all around the world, Mickey's parents decide to settle back in U.S to give Mickey stability and a chance to work on his passion that is basketball. Mickey's world collapses when his father dies in an accident and his mother, Kitty, loses control and takes refuge in drugs. While Kitty is in rehab, Mickey stays in Myron's house in the basement with a certain level of independence from Myron. As we know from Live Wire, Mickey hates Myron, given the present circumstance he just tolerates him.

Mickey is in high school and his new girlfriend, Ashley Kent, disappears one day. She simply stops coming to school. And on the way to school is the Bat Lady house, bogeyman, who is supposed to eat children. The Bat Lady appears before Mickey and not only calls him by name but tells him that his dad is alive. Now Mickey has not only find out what happened to Ashley, but also find out what the Bat Lady is saying. How could his dad be alive? Mickey saw his dad dying in a car accident. So what is this Bat Lady about? What happened to Ashley? How could Ashley come to school one day and stop coming from the next? Mickey makes some friends, Ema and Spoon, in high school who help him with his adventures.

As all Coben books, this one has lots of twists and turns and big surprises too. One addition would be adding a bit of mythology! While Myron makes a brief appearance, I did miss Win. Initially the Bat Lady stuff for a fifteen year old, did not seem fit. I understand a 8 year old being afraid of a haunted house and its dubious resident Bat Lady, but a fifteen year old? No. But Coben adds other scary elements and works it really well, that I bought into it. Sometimes behind the wisecracks and fighting techniques of Mickey, I couldn't help hearing Myron's voice. Like uncle, like nephew? I couldn't help asking do Fifteen year olds analyse and comment on their fighting techniques while on the fight itself, that's more Myron stuff, isn't it? I haven't read any YA except Hunger Games nor do I know any 15 year olds. So I couldn't really say if the voice is authentic. But I love my twists and surprises and Harlan never disappoints.

While one part of the story concludes the other ends in a cliffhanger. Did I say I hate cliffhangers? I am glad that I waited till the second book Seconds Away is released to read the first one because to know the answers that I don't have to wait, I can just read the next one. But if Seconds Away also ends in a cliffhanger, it means I will stop reading this series, until some more books are released.

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