Six years ago, Jake met the love of his life and was forced to say goodbye. With almost no warning, Natalie broke it off to marry another man. Knowing that Jake takes his promises seriously, she made him swear that he would leave them alone. In all those years, Jake has never broken his promise but he's never gotten over Natalie either. But Natalie's husband happens to be an alumni of the same university where Jake now teaches. As such, the man's obit runs briefly on the school website and Jake just happens to come across it. Jake travels out to the funeral only to discover that the man's widow - not Natalie - is accompanied by two teenage children. As Jake tries to dig deeper into the sudden mystery, he finds himself a target. It seems everyone wants to know where Natalie has been for the past six years! Jake is convinced that Natalie is in trouble but how can he track down someone who's all but vanished?
Harlan Coben can always be counted on for a wonderfully plotted puzzler of a read. Six Years was that, but it was also oddly similar in a lot of ways to Tell No One. I was struck more than once by that feeling of deja vu. Don't get me wrong, Six Years is great and it's definitely a different story, but a lot of the elements are similar enough that I found myself feeling (guiltily) a tiny bit disappointed in this latest from one of my favorite authors.
Nevertheless, I was able to set all of that aside while reading and get completely wrapped up in Jake and his plight. Coben has always managed to do that to me as a reader. His combination of everyday characters and crazypants intense situations usually means that no one will be seeing much of me until I get through to the end of the story. (Note, these are great for those LONG waiting room experiences. But if you start reading Coben at bedtime, just be ready to be up for a while!)
If this happens to be your intro to Coben, you're in for a big treat! If you're a long time fan, you'll no doubt see the same similarities here (not pointing out specifics for fear of spoilers) with Tell No One.
Word on the street is that we'll finally, finally see a US movie adaptation in Six Years. Hugh Jackman has been tapped to play Jake (yay!). Up till now the only adaptation out there is the French Tell No One (which is wonderful! I rewatched it just after finishing Six Years.)