Cover image for The stranger
Title:
The stranger
Author:
Coben, Harlan, 1962-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Dutton, [2015]
Physical Description:
386 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
"The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world."--
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780525953500
Format :
Book

Available:*

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On Order

Summary

Summary

#1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense Harlan Coben delivers his most shocking thriller yet, proving that a well-placed lie can help build a wonderful life-- and a secret has the same explosive power to destroy it.
 
The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.
 
Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.
 
Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne's deception, and realizes that if he doesn't make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he's stumbled into will not only ruin lives--it will end them.


Author Notes

Harlan Coben was born in Newark, New Jersey on January 4, 1962. After receiving a political science degree from Amherst College, he worked in the travel industry in a company owned by his grandfather. He writes the Myron Bolitar series and Mickey Bolitar series. His other works include Gone for Good, The Innocent, The Woods, Hold Tight, Caught, Stay Close, Six Years, Missing You, The Stranger, Fool Me Once, Home, and Don't Let Go. Tell No One was turned into the multiple award-winning 2006 French film Ne le Dis à Personne. He was the first author to win the Edgar Award, Shamus Award, and Anthony Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In this stand-alone thriller, Coben once again mines the potential of contemporary technology to destroy lives. In this case, the cookie trail we leave behind on the Internet with our purchases, searches, e-mails, and texts reverses the Hansel and Gretel story, where their crumbs were supposed to lead to their rescue. Instead, our cookies can lead predators to us. Coben presents several narratives on this theme, with the plight of one suburban dad the central story. Adam Price has a high-paid job, a beautiful wife, and two teen sons in a small New Jersey town. One day, a stranger informs Price that Price's wife faked her last, unsuccessful pregnancy, providing a site to check out. Once Price confronts his wife with his hard-won Internet evidence, she skips town. Coben spikes Price's search for his wife with more chilling examples of the stranger blackmailing others who have left virtual tracks. The conceptual hook here is a stunner. Much of the book is exciting, but it would be more exciting at about half the length, and the ending, in which the chatty bad guy helps reveal his motives and methods, will strike some as ludicrous. A good run that stops short of the finish line. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Coben's track record as a consistent New York Times best-selling author and as winner of the Edgar, Anthony, and Shamus Awards ensures a mega-audience.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2015 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Bestseller Coben (Missing You) continues to turn out thrillers that put highly original spins on a current trend or problem, and while this standalone lacks the nail-biting suspense of his best, it's clever enough to be thoroughly entertaining. Adam Price, wife Corinne, and sons Ryan and Thomas are living the suburban dream in Cedarfield, N.J. Then, at a bar in Cedarfield's American Legion Hall, a man known only as the stranger reveals to Adam a secret of Corinne's that shatters the dream and causes Corinne to disappear. The stranger similarly imparts devastating secrets to Heidi Dann, a middle-aged woman with a family in Beachwood, Ohio, and Michaela Siegel, a medical student in New York City. Price shifts his search efforts from Corrine to the stranger, who is also being pursued by some extremely nasty characters. Lives and reputations are lost along the way. Even when not at his best, Coben is very good, and readers won't be disappointed. Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron Priest Literary Agency. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Adam Price's biggest concern is whether his son will be part of the high school's traveling lacrosse team. During a team draft meeting, a stranger approaches Adam, giving him devastating news about his wife, Corinne. When Adam confronts Corinne, she asks him to give her some time and disappears, leaving him a cryptic text message. This begins Adam's nightmare as he tries to find out the truth, protect his sons, and find his wife. He must also come to realize what Corinne had told him: it isn't what he thinks, and many things are not what they seem. Coben (Missing You) deftly weaves many seemingly disconnected characters into one cohesive tale of suspense, with an expertly realized New Jersey setting. Verdict Coben's latest stand-alone is a great story for people who like to examine the ephemeral nature of those strings that bind our dreams to our reality. And while it is a slight departure from his usual type of thriller, this book will be enjoyed as well by Coben's many fans. [See Prepub Alert, 9/22/14.]-Elizabeth Masterson, Mecklenburg Cty. Jail Lib., Charlotte, NC (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 1 The stranger didn't shatter Adam's world all at once. That was what Adam Price would tell himself later, but that was a lie. Adam somehow knew right away, right from the very first sentence, that the life he had known as a content suburban married father of two was forever gone. It was a simple sentence on the face of it, but there was something in the tone, something knowing and even caring, that let Adam know that nothing would ever be the same. "You didn't have to stay with her," the stranger said. They were in the American Legion Hall in Cedarfield, New Jersey. Cedarfield was a town loaded up with wealthy hedge fund managers and bankers and other financial masters-of-the-universe types. They liked to drink beer in the American Legion Hall be- cause it was comfortable slumming, a way to pretend that they were salt-of-the-earth good ol' boys, like something in a Dodge Ram commercial, when they were anything but. Adam stood by the sticky bar. There was a dartboard behind him. Neon signs advertised Miller Lite, but Adam had a bottle of Budweiser in his right hand. He turned to the man, who had just sidled up to him, and even though Adam already knew the answer, he asked the man, "Are you talking to me?" The guy was younger than most of the fathers, thinner, almost gaunt, with big, piercing blue eyes. His arms were white and reedy with a hint of a tattoo showing beneath one of the short sleeves. He was wearing a baseball cap. He wasn't quite a hipster, but there was something of a wonk attitude coming off him, like some guy who ran a tech department and never saw the sun. The piercing blue eyes held Adam's with an earnestness that made him want to turn away. "She told you she was pregnant, right?" Adam felt his grip on the bottle tighten. "That's why you stayed. Corinne told you she was pregnant." It was right then that Adam felt some kind of switch go off in his chest, as if someone had tripped the red digital timer on some movie bomb and now it had started to tick down. Tick, tick, tick, tick. "Do I know you?" Adam asked. "She told you she was pregnant," the stranger continued. "Corinne, I mean. She told you she was pregnant and then she lost the baby." The American Legion Hall was loaded up with town dads sporting those white baseball T-shirts with the three-quarter sleeves and either baggy cargo shorts or perfectly no-assed Dad jeans. Lots of them wore baseball caps. Tonight was the fourth-, fifth-, and sixth- grade boys' lacrosse draft and A-team selections. If you ever wanted to witness type As behaving as such in their natural habitat, Adam thought, watch when parents get involved in their own offsprings' team selections. The Discovery Channel should film this. "You felt obligated to stay, am I right?" the man asked. "I don't know who the hell--" "She lied, Adam." The younger man spoke with such conviction, not just as though he knew for certain but that, at the end of the day, he had Adam's best interest at heart. "Corinne made it all up. She was never pregnant." The words kept landing like punches, dazing Adam, sapping his resistance, leaving him shaken and confused and ready to take a standing eight count. He wanted to fight back, grab the guy by the shirt, toss him across the room for insulting his wife like this. But he didn't for two reasons. One, there was the whole dazed-like-taking-punches, sapped- resistance thing. Two, something about the way the man spoke, something about the guy's confident tone, the damn conviction in his voice, made Adam start thinking it might be smartest to listen. "Who are you?" Adam asked. "Does it matter?" "Yeah, it does." "I'm the stranger," he said. "The stranger with important knowledge. She lied to you, Adam. Corinne. She was never pregnant. It was all a ruse to get you back." Adam shook his head. He swam through, tried to stay rational and calm. "I saw the pregnancy test." "Fake." "I saw the sonogram." "Again fake." He held up a hand before Adam could say more. "And yes, so was the stomach. Or should I say stomachs. Once Corinne started to show, you never saw her naked, right? What did she do, claim some kind of late-night sickness so you wouldn't have sex? That's what happens most times. So when the miscarriage occurs, you can kinda look back on the whole thing and realize the pregnancy was difficult right from the start." A booming voice from the other side of the hall called out, "Okay, guys, grab a fresh beer and let's get this show on the road." The voice belonged to Tripp Evans, the president of the lacrosse league, a former Madison Avenue ad exec and a pretty good guy. The other dads started to grab aluminum chairs, the kind you use for your kid's school concert, from a rack and placed them in a circle around the room. Tripp Evans looked over at Adam, spotted the undoubtedly pale expression on his face, and frowned his concern. Adam shook him off and turned back to the stranger. "Who the hell are you?" "Think of me as your savior. Or like the friend who just released you from prison." "You're full of crap." All conversation had pretty much ended. The voices were hushed now, the sounds of scraping chairs echoing in the still hall. The fathers were getting their game faces on for the draft. Adam hated this. He wasn't even supposed to be here--Corinne was. She was the treasurer of the lacrosse board, but her school had changed the scheduling of her teachers' conference in Atlantic City, and even though this was the biggest day of the year for Cedarfield lacrosse-- indeed the main reason Corinne had become so active--Adam had been forced to step in for her. "You should be thanking me," the man said. "What are you talking about?" For the first time, the man smiled. It was, Adam couldn't help but notice, a kind smile, the smile of a healer, of a man who just wants to do the right thing. "You're free," the stranger said. "You're a liar." "You know better, don't you, Adam?" From across the room, Tripp Evans called, "Adam?" He turned toward them. Everyone was seated now except Adam and the stranger. "I have to go now," the stranger whispered. "But if you really need proof, check your Visa card. Look for a charge to Novelty Funsy." "Wait--" "One more thing." The man leaned in close. "If I were you, I'd probably run DNA tests on your two boys." Tick, tick, tick . . . ka-boom. "What?" "I have no evidence on that, but when a woman is willing to lie about something like this, well, it's a pretty good bet it isn't her first time." And then, with Adam dazed anew by this final accusation, the stranger hurried out the door. Excerpted from The Stranger by Harlan Coben All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.