I am a big fan of thrillers and wanted to try something by Harlan Coben as I’ve heard he writes some entertaining, gripping novels.
Six Years is told from the perspective of Jake, a ‘college’ (or ‘university’ to us Brits) professor who is pining the love of his life Natalie. He watched her marry another man 6 years ago, despite feeling certain that she loved him as much as he did her, and he has never got over her. When he reads in the newspaper about her husband’s death he goes to pay his respects, secretly hoping that, even 6 years on, Natalie will still be interested- but finds that the Todd Sanderson who he watched marry Natalie had a different wife and family before his death. There is no trace of Natalie- in fact no proof she ever existed- and even the retreat where Jake and Natalie first met, in the village of Kraftboro, doesn’t seem to have ever existed. Weird!
The novel is fast paced and never dull, revealing more and more of the truth as it goes and I really enjoyed reading it. One thing I did notice, however, was that it wasn’t the most well-written book I’ve ever read. It seemed in many ways to be written like a generic American thriller novel and the writing style could certainly blur into another similar book. There are also various points in the story that seem a little far-fetched; without giving too much away, he seems able to recover from some pretty severe beatings without any lasting injuries and can beat up a whole host of seemingly tougher characters. I wonder how much training and working out he gets done as a college professor- but then think that this is a stereotypical view and actually just because he isn’t in the armed forces or similar doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be able to fight! The book also mentions that he is a big guy too which no doubt gives him some advantage over others. Regardless of this he really seems to recover from injuries that no one should be able to leg it away with!
Despite this little niggles, I still really enjoyed the twists and turns of this novel as Jake finds more and more out regarding Natalie and her disappearance. There are quite a few different characters involved and elements that relate to various points in time, but it wasn’t hard to follow as a reader and I didn’t find it too taxing to read at all.
Six Years really kept me hooked and I couldn’t guess what had happened to Natalie until Coben, bit by bit, revealed it to the reader. The ending was a little predictable but I liked it and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys an easy to read page-turner!