Kidnappers have snatched the teenage son of super-star golfer Linda Coldren and her husband, Jack, an aging pro, at the height of the U.S. Open. To help get the boy back, sports agent Myron Bolitar goes charging after clues and suspects from the Main Line mansions to a downtown cheaters' motel--and back in time to a U.S. Open twenty-three years ago, when Jack Coldren should have won, but didn't. Suddenly Myron finds him self surrounded by blue bloods, criminals, and liars. And as one family's darkest secrets explode into murder, Myron finds out just how rough this game can get. In novels that crackle with wit and suspense, Edgar Award winner Harlan Coben has created one of the most fascinating and complex heroes in suspense fiction--Myron Bolitar--a hotheaded, tenderhearted sports agent who grows more and more engaging and unpredictable with each page-turning appearance. From the Paperback edition.
Coben, who just won the Edgar for best original paperback (Fade Away) scores a hole in one with this fourth outing for basketball star tuned sports agent Myron Bolitar. Golf takes center stage, but the sharp plotting and emotional density, as well as nonstop wisecracks, make this a book even for the golf-averse. When someone kidnaps the son of golfer Jack Coldren just as he's poised to win the U.S. Open, the boy's grandfather asks Myron to help. The mother, golf champion Linda Coldren, is afraid to notify police, and Myron sees an opportunity not only to save a life but also to sign up a couple of new clients. Bodies and clues pile up, and as the past unravels, Myron discovers that the Coldrens' skeletons touch even his close but enigmatic friend, Win. The characters are deftly etched and the details keenly observed (regarding a group of mall girls: "There were four girls. Or maybe five or even six. Hard to say. They all seemed to blend into one another"). (Aug.)
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July 04, 1997
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Excerpt from Back Spin by Harlan Coben
Myron Bolitar used a cardboard periscope to look over the suffocating throngs of ridiculously clad spectators. He tried to recall the last time he'd actually used a toy periscope, and an image of sending in proof-of-purchase seals from a box of Cap'n Crunch cereal flickered in front him like headache-inducing sunspots. Through the mirrored reflection, Myron watched a man dressed in knickers--knickers, for crying out loud--stand over a tiny white sphere. The ridiculously clad spectators mumbled excitedly. Myron stifled a yawn. The knickered man crouched. The ridiculously clad spectators jostled and then settled into an eerie silence. Sheer stillness followed, as if even the trees and shrubs and well-coiffed blades of grass were holding their collective breath. Then the knickered man whacked the white sphere with a stick. The crowd began to murmur in the indistinguishable syllables of backstage banter. As the ball ascended, so did the volume of the murmurs. Words could be made out. Then phrases. "Lovely golf stroke." "Super golf shot." "Beautiful golf shot." "Truly fine golf stroke." They always said golf stroke, like someone might mistake it for a swim stroke, or--as Myron was currently contemplating in this blazing heat--a sunstroke. "Mr. Bolitar?" Myron took the periscope away from his eyes. He was tempted to yell "Up periscope," but feared some at stately, snooty Merion Golf Club would view the act immature. Especially during the U.S. Open. He looked down at a ruddy-faced man of about seventy. "Your pants," Myron said. "Pardon me?" "You're afraid of getting hit by a golf cart, right?" They were orange and yellow in a hue slightly more luminous than a bursting supernova. To be fair, the man's clothing hardly stood out. Most in the crowd seemed to have woken up wondering what apparel they possessed that would clash with, say, the free world. Orange and green tints found exclusively in several of your tackiest neon signs adorned many. Yellow and some strange shades of purple were also quite big--usually together--like a color scheme rejected by a Midwest high school cheerleading squad. It was as if being surrounded by all this God-given natural beauty made one want to do all in his power to offset it. Or maybe there was something else at work here. Maybe the ugly clothes had a more functional origin. Maybe in the old days, when animals roamed free, golfers dressed this way to ward off dangerous wildlife. Good theory. "I need to speak with you," the elderly man whispered. "It's urgent." The rounded, jovial cheeks belied his pleading eyes He suddenly gripped Myron's forearm. "Please," he added. "What's this about?" Myron asked. The man made a movement with his neck, like his collar was on too tight. "You're a sports agent, right?" "Yes. " "You're here to find clients?" Myron narrowed his eyes. "How do you know I'm not here to witness the enthralling spectacle of grown men taking a walk?" The old man did not smile, but then again, golfers were not known for their sense of humor. He craned his neck again and moved closer. His whisper was hoarse. "Do you know the name Jack Coldren?" he asked. "Sure," Myron said. If the old man had asked the same question yesterday, Myron wouldn't have had a clue. He didn't follow golf that closely (or at all), and Jack Coldren had been little more than a journeyman over the past twenty years or so. But Coldren had been the surprise leader after the U.S. Open's first day, and now, with just a few holes remaining in the second round, Coldren was up by a commanding eight strokes. "What about him?" "And Linda Coldren?" the man asked. "