The Final Detail by Harlan Coben

August 12, 2011

Plot summary (from the publisher): For Myron Bolitar, sports agent and reluctant sleuth, it was a long-needed vacation. A tropical beach. A warm breeze. A little uncomplicated passion with a woman he hardly knows. But, most of all, a chance to clear his head after the death of a close friend.

It almost works—until his fiercely loyal, if sometimes morally challenged, friend Win shows up with a message that blasts Myron back to New York…and reality. Esperanza, Myron’s best friend and partner at MB Sportsrep, has been arrested for the murder of a client, a fallen baseball star attempting a comeback.

Myron is determined to prove Esperanza’s innocence. But she isn’t speaking. And neither is her lawyer, except to say that Myron would do best to keep his distance, lest he hurt her case. Only Myron is already too close to the case to back away. For twelve years ago a young agent tried to help an up-and-coming athlete. It was a fatal mistake—and now Myron may have to pay the price.

To solve a case as bizarre as it is difficult, Myron will be obliged to view it from the strangest angles: a transsexual nightclub, a baseball owner with a long-lost daughter, a dubious drug test, an impossible murder scene, and a computer disk with the image of a disintegrating girl. But most bizarre of all is that as he tries to unearth, Myron’s own investigation points to only one other suspect: himself…as this spellbinding novel twists, jolts, and careens towards its dazzling finish.

Warning: Spoilers below!

  • I really loved the ending. Myron is generally a good person, but he had no right lecturing the Yankees owner about exacting revenge for her daughter’s death. Myron and Win are the very definition of vigilante justice and mete out their own form of revenge whenever they see fit. I thought it was completely fitting that Sophie got away with the her crimes.
  • The book was really fast-paced, with only a few scenes that dragged a bit (the transvestite bar stuff being a prime example). This was fun, light reading — perfect for the summer!
  • Glad to see that the Win character was toned down here. He only assaulted two people in this book and didn’t kill anyone. That seems far more reasonable than him being a combo of Chuck Norris and James Bond.
  • I liked that Clu didn’t actually slip up and start using drugs again. Some people are indeed able to recover from their addictions and lead a productive life. It might take a stint at a malibu rehab treatment center and some 12-step meetings, but it does happen.
  • Myron is finally moving on with another woman. Great! Let’s forget about Jessica, please. I never got the feeling that she was the love of his life anyway. She treated him like shit, so why would he even waste his time on her?


  • The scene with Myron’s dad in the country club seemed forced. That kind of came out of nowhere and slowed the action down a bit. The Bolitar family has been in each novel, but only as periphery characters. They don’t need to take up that much space, IMO. (And is it just me, or was that the first mention of Myron having a brother? He seems like such an only child!)
  • The original Clu Haid murder mystery was boring as hell. I didn’t believe for a second that Esperanza did it, so there wasn’t any suspense there at all. Lucy’s disappearance was the far more interesting case, and though they ended up being directly related in the end, I would rather have skipped all the Clu stuff.
  • I got annoyed by Myron waxing philosophical about what he and Win do. He just comes off as whiny when he does that.
  • I wish Coben wouldn’t make Cindy so goddamn clownish. Big and bold I get. Getting done up in orange from head to toe (including her skin) was just way, way overboard and ridiculous.


The Final Detail by Harlan Coben was a standard paint-by-numbers Bolitar book until the twist at the end. I’m glad the bad guy (I mean, woman) got away with it and that there was no happy ending for those involved (except Esperanza, who was cleared of all charges). In fact, the non-happy ending is what made this book for me, so I give it 4 stars out of 5.

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