Book Review: Live Wire By Harlan Coben

As readers of recurring series are well aware, often the authors fail to provide the protagonist with enough “oomph” to pull us back in for another tango with a stale storyline that often accompanies the tired characters. Fortunately, for veterans of Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series, in his tenth book Live Wire, Coben manages to orchestrate another explosive novel full of suspense, surprise, and inopportune wit, delivered from Bolitar himself.

The Myron Bolitar series revolves around, you guessed it, the life of Myron Bolitar, former college basketball star turned sports agent/lawyer, after a knee injury destroyed his NBA aspirations. The series follows Myron as he helps his clients, friends and family get out of jams that more often than not include the necessity for Myron to use his black belt skills, or better yet require the help of his best friend and business partner Win. Windsor Horne Lockwood III, known familiarly as Win, is a rich, dapper playboy who assists Myron with both the financial and physical security of himself and his clients by way of a sizeable bank account and crazy ninja skills. In addition to his friendship with Win, Myron relies heavily on his partnership with former FLOW (Fabulous Ladies of Organized Wrestling) wrestler, Esperanza Diaz, a.k.a. Little Pocahontas. By way of his relationships with these two characters, Myron can keep on kicking ass to defend himself and his clients against any situation – and as always, celebrate with a refreshing Yoo-Hoo! chocolate drink.

In Live Wire, Myron – ever the hero – gets caught in a web of deceit and uncertainty when former tennis star and client Suzze Trevantino visits him with a dilemma regarding a suspicious Facebook post that questions the paternity of her unborn child with her rock star husband Lex Ryder. Myron’s investigations lead him to Lex, but they also leave him with more questions than answers, and soon lead him in a direction that he never suspected – toward his own family. A run-in with his estranged sister-in-law and Suzze’s former tennis rival Kitty Bolitar, adds another layer of confusion as Myron continues to search for answers. As Myron muddles through the clouds of deceit and deception in search for the truth for Suzze and Lex, he must also face the lies that surround his estrangement from his missing brother Brad.

As a standalone read, this book is adrenaline packed, punchy and leaves you wanting more; as a part of the series, it stands out significantly as a frontrunner. A strong feature of Live Wire is Coben’s effortless prose; though this is present in all of his other novels – both the Myron Bolitar series and his additional standalone novels. His ability to weave the pages with pop culture references without sounding forced or awkward is truly magical, and gives the reader a point of reference that is fresh and current. However, the one thing that stands out about this novel in comparison to the others in the series is the character growth. While Coben certainly does a fine job in character development through each novel in the Myron Bolitar series, it is in Live Wire that he gives the readers the opportunity to definitively view the characters as human. It is noted that the invincible Win has developed the need for reading glasses; as well, Myron often mentions the fragility of his parents’ health.

For those who have never read a Myron Bolitar novel, never fear! Coben’s skill as a writer extends far past his ability to create great plotlines and stimulating characters; for, somehow, he is able to provide new readers with tidbits of background information while still keeping the attention of the seasoned series enthusiast. However, should you be the reader who likes to start a series from the beginning, check out the first novel in the series, Dealbreaker (1995).

The witty prose, unpredictable plot twists and familiar characters of Live Wire now leave me eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Myron Bolitar series. In the meantime, I look forward to the March 2012 release of the first book in the Mickey Bolitar series, Shelter. A young adult series follow-up to Live Wire, Shelter follows the story of Myron’s nephew Mickey, a witty teenager with more in common with his uncle than meets the eye. If it’s anything like Coben’s other books, it’s bound to be a good read.

Live Wire – 9/10

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