Live Wire by Harlan Coben

July 6, 2012

Plot summary (from the publisher): Myron Bolitar has always dreamed about the voluptuous femme fatale walking into his office and asking for help. The woman standing in his doorway has killer curves all right: She’s eight months pregnant, which kind of ruins the fantasy. Former tennis star Suzze T and her rock star husband, Lex, are both clients, and over the years Myron has negotiated his share of contracts for the power pair. But now Lex has disappeared and a very pregnant Suzze is in tears, fearing the online rumors questioning the baby’s paternity have driven away the man she swears is the child’s father.

For Myron, questions of fatherhood couldn’t hit closer to home, as his dad, Al, clings to life; the brother who abandoned them all years ago is in trouble; and Myron’s teenage nephew needs an authority figure. Myron is soon forced to confront deep secrets in Suzze’s past; his family’s mortality — and before Live Wire is over, his own.

Warning: MAJOR spoilers below!

Liked:

  • I’ve always liked Myron’s relationship with his parents. In this book, he is forced to face the realities of his father’s declining health (this has been going on for a while, actually), and many of the scenes between father and son are poignant.
  • Win didn’t bug me as much in this book — maybe because Coben decided to have most of the vigilante stuff happen “off screen”, so to speak (like when Win roughed up the club bouncer). Win seemed less like a superhero caricature and more like a regular person.
  • Speaking of Win, his twin cousins were pretty funny. Annoying as hell, of course, but funny nonetheless. I’m surprised Myron didn’t slap a name badge on each kid to keep them straight.
  • I liked the twist about Lex Ryder being the real brains and voice behind Horsepower, while Gabriel Wire was just the pretty face that attracted the girls and made sure the records sold. Even better, I loved that Ryder didn’t resent this reality at all. He was at peace with it because HE knew it was his music and that was all that counted. Not very realistic perhaps, but I thought it was a nice touch.

Disliked:

  • Is this book the last in the series??? I hope not, because I didn’t like the ending. No more MB Sports Reps. No more partnership with Esperanza. No more Win (lying low after killing Herman Ache). Wow. Yes, after 10 installments, the series has run out of originality, but I would have preferred a “happily ever after” to this mess.
  • The sullen nephew crap didn’t make sense. Why all the animosity towards Myron? Mickey knew his father forgave Myron (he’s named after his uncle after all) and knew his mother was a drug user. What was his beef with Myron then? I didn’t get that at all.
  • The Suzze T death was rather grim and unnecessary. Sure, Coben made it so the baby would live, but I still didn’t like that part.
  • Was it necessary for Coben to rehash the Fenway Park story in such great detail? I’m positive that anecdote was told in a different book, and it sounded like it was lifted verbatim and placed in the middle of this one.
  • Again, I hate that every single character in Coben’s books is a smartass. Yeah, that’s Myron and Win’s shtick, so I can accept them making wisecracks left and right, but not all the other random characters they run into. For instance, when Mickey wanted to walk with his mother back to her room when she was checking into the rehab clinic, the intake nurse said, “And I want to roll around in the mud with Hugh Jackman, but neither is happening” (paraphrase). Really??? What NURSE would say that at a drug treatment facility?
  • I HATED that Myron seriously considered giving Suzze T heroin (while she was in treatment) in exchange for the info about his brother. After he got what he wanted, why didn’t he just say “I lied” (about giving her the drugs) and leave instead of debating with himself?? What a selfish lowlife. And I’m so sure Suzze conveniently changed her mind about the drugs, thereby relieving Myron of the necessity of having to make the decision for himself.
  • The whole Mee and Yu thing was just…juvenile in the extreme.
  • Again, the entire episode could have been avoided if the principal characters involved (Lex and Suzze, initially) had just, you know, TALKED to each other. But no, some random Facebook post (or email or photo or phone call — take your pick from Coben’s past novels) sets off an entire series of avoidable events that culminates in more death and destruction.

Rating:

I’ve gotten used to Coben’s writing quirks and plot formulas by now, so I was able to see past a lot of my “Dislikes”. I wouldn’t mind having the Myron Bolitar series end right here, but feel that the characters deserved a better sendoff than what they got (Win in hiding, Esperanza divorced, MB Reps sold off to a bigger agency, Big Cindy writing a tell-all book). I would also have liked the main Suzze T/Led Ryder plot to have more substance, and to have less of the Mickey/Kitty stuff. Because Coben tried to cram so much into this book, he wasn’t able to deal with each subplot adequately, which made for a hot mess. I give this one 2 stars out of 5.

2 Responses to “Live Wire by Harlan Coben”

  1. Did I miss something? What did Maousse give to Myron at the end???

  2. Sorry, I really have no idea. This review was published a year and a half ago and as it makes no mention of Maousse at all, I can’t even begin to tell you what you want to know.

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