I'm a fan of Harlan Coben, especially of Tell No One, and I reckoned audio books would be a good way to enjoy more of his work. as he is strong on both snappy dialogue and plot. I still think it's a good plan, but unfortunately I picked Play Dead, which he wrote when he was learning his craft. Coben warns the reader, very honestly, in a foreword, that this is a tyro effort, but I rather assumed this was simple modesty on his part.
In fact, there are good things in Play Dead - an intriguing set-up, and plenty of plot twists, for sure. A couple of newlyweds who seem to have it all have their lives turned upside down when the husband mysteriously disappears and is presumed drowned. But is he really dead? It seems not - so what is going on? For someone interested in the craft of writing, it's also quite intriguing to see an apprentice effort before a talented novelist got into his stride.
Regrettably, the downsides outweighed the upsides as far as I was concerned. Having gone to the trouble of undergoing plastic surgery, the missing man behaves so as to make it certain his secret will be found out. I waited patiently for an explanation, but none was forthcoming. And all the characters are either impossibly good-looking, impossibly talented or impossibly bad. If the story had been condensed into a couple of hours, it might have worked, but six hours was very heavy going.I didn't give up on it, but I did groan several times.
None of this affects my admiration for Coben at his best. But I'm not sure why he allowed this book to see the light of day. Trust me, my own first novel will remain unpublished, and a good thing too!