Every romance novel claims everyone has “one true love” somewhere, fate just waiting for your eyes to meet in a crowded room. It wasn’t that way for Jake – Natalie had sunglasses on the first time he saw her – but it was close. They spent two months together at their neighboring writer’s retreats in Vermont, long enough that Jake knew she was “the one.” That was before Natalie dumped him one day and sent him a wedding invitation the next. When the ceremony ended, she made Jake promise never to contact her or her new husband again.
For Six Years he’d kept his promise, until the day he found her husband’s obituary. Six Years in which he wonder where she was every day; Six Years without running a Google search or looking her up on Facebook. He kept his promise, but now he figured there was room for negotiation: Natalie had said, “Promise me you’ll leave us alone”… but now there wasn’t an “us” any more.
So Jake went to her husband’s funeral; but when he got there the man’s widow wasn’t Natalie, she’d never heard of Natalie, and she was pretty sure the guy with all the questions was nuts. He was beginning to think he was crazy too, until the night he found someone sitting in his living room… someone else who wanted to find Natalie, someone who apparently didn’t care who got hurt in the search – including Jake. Things just got weirder after that…
Harlan Coben’s Six Years is a standalone novel; with only the barest intersection with his usual hero, Myron Bolitar. This book is definitely in “reluctant amateur detective” subgenre because Fisher isn’t a cop or PI: he’s the head of a college political science department.
Though Coben has been writing YA novels about Mickey Bolitar (Myron’s nephew), nothing in the novel suggests he’s slacked off on the adult fiction. Six Years reads like vintage Coben: the plotting is tight and fast-paced, and the prose is almost telegraphic in its sparseness. Coben does a workmanlike job with his plot and a main character who’s a likable guy with a slight obsession – well, maybe a serious obsession. He manages to tie all the pieces together without neck-breaking plot twists, although it’s occasionally necessary to give the willing suspension of disbelief some exercise. On the whole Six Years turns out to be a fine read.