Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home in Harlan Coben’s gripping Myron Bolitar thriller.
A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.
About the Author
With more than seventy million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of thirty novels, including the Myron Bolitar series and a series aimed at young adults featuring Myron’s newphew, Mickey Bolitar. His books are published in forty-three languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in more than a dozen countries. The winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards, he lives in New Jersey.
Hometown:Ridgewood, New Jersey
Date of Birth:January 4, 1962
Place of Birth:Newark, New Jersey
Education:B.A. in political science, Amherst College, 1984
Read an Excerpt
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***
The boy who has been missing for ten years steps into the light.
I am not one for hysterics or even feeling much of what might be labeled astonishment. I have seen much in my forty-plus years. I have nearly been killed—and I have killed. I have seen depravity that most would find difficult, if not downright inconceivable, to comprehend—and some would argue that I have administered the same. I have learned over the years to control my emotions and, more important, my reactions during stressful, volatile situations. I may strike quickly and violently, but I do nothing without a certain level of deliberation and purpose.
These qualities, if you will, have saved me and those who matter to me time and time again.
Yet I confess that when I first see the boy—well, he is a teenager now, isn’t he?—I can feel my pulse race. A thrumming sound echoes in my ears. Without conscious thought, my hands form two fists.
Ten years—and now fifty yards, no more, separate me from the missing boy.
Patrick Moore—that is the boy’s name—leans against the graffiti-littered concrete support of the underpass. His shoulders are hunched. His eyes dart about before settling on the cracked pavement in front of him. His hair is closely cropped, what we used to call a crew cut. Two other teenage boys also mill about the underpass. One smokes a cigarette with so much gusto I fear the cigarette has offended him. The other wears a studded dog collar and mesh shirt, proclaiming his current profession in the most obvious of uniforms.
Above, the cars roar past, oblivious to what is below them. We are in King’s Cross, most of which has been “rejuvenated” over the past two decades with museums and libraries and the Eurostar and even a plaque for Platform 9¾, where Harry Potter boarded the train for Hogwarts. Much of the so-called undesirable element have fled these dangerous in-person transactions for the relative safety of online commerce—much less need for the risky drive-by sex trade, yet another positive by-product of the Internet—but if you go to the other side of the literal and figurative tracks, away from those shiny new towers, there are still places where the sleaze element survives in a concentrated form.
That is where I found the missing boy.
Part of me—the rash part I keep at bay—wants to sprint across the street and grab the boy. He would now be, if this is indeed Patrick and not a look-alike or mistake on my part, sixteen years old. From this distance, that looks about right to me. Ten years ago—you can do the math and calculate how young he’d been—in the über-affluent community of Alpine, Patrick had been on what they insist on calling a “playdate” with my cousin’s son Rhys.
That, of course, is my dilemma.
If I grab Patrick now, just run across the street and snatch him, what would become of Rhys? I have one of the missing boys in sight, but I had come to rescue both. So that means taking care. No sudden moves. I must be patient. Whatever had happened ten years ago, whatever cruel twist of mankind (I don’t believe so much in fate being cruel when the culprit is usually our fellow human beings) had taken this boy from the opulence of his stone mansion to this filthy toilet of an underpass, I worry now that if I make the wrong move, one or both boys might disappear again, this time forever.
I will have to wait for Rhys. I will wait for Rhys and then I will grab both boys and bring them home.
Two questions have probably crossed your mind.
The first: How can I be so confident that once the boys are in sight, I will be able to grab them both? Suppose, you may wonder, the boys have been brainwashed and resist. Suppose their kidnappers or whoever holds the keys to their freedom are many and violent and determined.
To that I reply: Don’t worry about it.
The second question, which is far more pressing in my mind: What if Rhys does not show up?
I am not much of a “crossing that bridge when we get there” sort of fellow, so I hatch a backup plan, which involves staking out this area and then following Patrick at a discreet distance. I am planning exactly how that might work when something goes wrong.
The trade is picking up. Life is about categorization. This street urinal is no different. One underpass catered to heterosexual men seeking female companionship. This underpass is the busiest. Old-fashioned values, I suppose. You can talk all you want about genders and preferences and kinks, but the majority of the sexually frustrated are still heterosexual men not getting enough. Old-school. Girls with dead eyes take their spots against the concrete barriers, cars drive by, girls drive off, other girls take their places. It is almost like watching a soda-machine dispenser at a petrol station.
In the second underpass, there is a small contingency of transgender or cross-dressing women of various alterations and stages, and then, at the tail end, where Patrick is now standing, is the young gay trade.
I watch as a man in a melon-hued shirt struts toward Patrick. What, I had wondered when Patrick first appeared, would I do if a client chose to engage Patrick’s services? At first blush, it would seem that it would be best that I intercede immediately. That would appear to be the most humane act on my part, but again, I could not lose sight of my goal: bringing both boys home. The truth was, Patrick and Rhys had been gone for a decade. They had been through God knows what, and while I didn’t relish the idea of allowing either to suffer through even one more abuse, I had already added up the pros and cons and made my decision. There is no use in lingering on that point anymore.
But Melon Shirt is not a client.
I know that immediately. Clients do not strut with such confidence. They don’t keep their heads up high. They do not smirk. They do not wear bright melon shirts. Clients who are desperate enough to come here to satisfy their urges feel shame or fear discovery or, most likely, both.
Melon Shirt, on the other hand, has the walk and bearing and crackle of someone who is comfortable and dangerous. You can, if you are attuned to it, sense such things. You can feel it in your lizard brain, a primitive, inner, warning trill that you cannot quite explain. Modern man, more afraid of embarrassment sometimes than safety, often ignores it at his own peril.
Melon Shirt glances behind him. Two other men are on the scene now, working Melon’s flanks. They are both very large, decked out in full camouflage fatigues, and wear what we used to call wife beaters over shiny pectorals. The other boys working the underpass—the smoker and the one with the stud collar—run off at the sight of Melon Shirt, leaving Patrick alone with the three newcomers.
Oh, this is not good.
Patrick still has his eyes down, his quasi-shaved head gleaming. He is not aware of the approaching men until Melon Shirt is nearly on top of him. I move closer. In all likelihood, Patrick has been on the streets for some time. I think about that for a moment, about what his life must have been like, snatched from the comforting bubble of American suburbia and dumped into . . . well, who knew what?
But in all that time, Patrick might have developed certain skills. He might be able to talk his way out of this situation. The situation might not be as dire as it appears. I need to wait and see.
Melon Shirt gets right up in Patrick’s face. He says something to him. I can’t hear what. Then, without additional preamble, he rears back his fist and slams it like a sledgehammer into Patrick’s solar plexus.
Patrick collapses to the ground, gasping for air.
The two camouflaged bodybuilders start to close in. I move fast now.
“Gentlemen,” I call out.
Melon Shirt and both Camouflages spin at the sound of my voice. At first, their expressions are those of Neanderthal men hearing a strange noise for the first time. Then they take me in, narrowing their eyes. I can see the smiles come to their lips. I am not a physically imposing figure. I am above-average height and on the slight side, you’d say, with blond-heading-toward-gray hair, a skin tone that runs from porcelain in the warmth to ruddy in the cold, and features that some might consider delicate in, I hope, a handsome way.
Today I’m wearing a light-blue Savile Row hand-tailored suit, Lilly Pulitzer tie, Hermès pocket square in the breast pocket, and Bedfordshire bespoke shoes custom made from G.J. Cleverley’s lead craftsman on Old Bond Street.
I am quite the dandy, aren’t I?
As I saunter toward the three thugs, wishing I had an umbrella to twirl for maximum effect, I can feel their confidence growing. I like that. Normally I carry a handgun, often two, but in England, the laws are very strict about such things. I’m not worried. The beauty of the strict British laws means that it is highly unlikely that my three adversaries are carrying either. My eyes do a quick three-body scan for locations where one might conceal a gun. My thugs favor extraordinarily tight attire, more suitable for preening than weapon concealment.
They might be carrying knives—they probably are—but there are no guns.
Knives do not worry me much.
Patrick—if it is indeed Patrick—is still on the ground gasping for air as I make my arrival. I stop, spread my arms, and offer them my most winning smile. The three thugs stare at me as though I am a museum piece that they can’t comprehend.
Melon Shirt takes one step toward me. “Who the fuck are you?”
I am still smiling. “You should leave now.”
Melon Shirt looks at Camouflage One on my right. Then he looks at Camouflage Two to my left. I look in both directions too and then back at Melon Shirt.
When I wink at him, his eyebrows jump high.
“We should cut him up,” Camouflage One says. “Cut him into little pieces.”
I feign being startled and turn toward him. “Oh my, I didn’t see you there.”
“In those camouflage pants. You really blend in. By the way, they are very fetching on you.”
“Are you some kind of wiseguy?”
“I’m many kinds of wiseguy.”
All the smiles, including mine, grow.
They start toward me. I can try to talk my way out of this, perhaps offer them money to leave us be, but I don’t think that will work for three reasons. One, these thugs will want all my money and my watch and whatever else they can find upon my person. Money offers will not help. Two, they all have the scent of blood— easy, weak blood—and they like that scent. And three, most important, I like the scent of blood too.
It has been too long.
I try not to smile as they start to make their approach. Melon Shirt takes out a large bowie knife. That pleases me. I don’t have many moral qualms about hurting those whom I recognize as evil. But it is nice to know that for those who require such self- rationalizations to find me “likable,” I could claim that the thugs were the first to draw a weapon and thus I was acting strictly in self-defense.
Still, I give them one last out.
I look Melon Shirt straight in the eye and say, “You should leave now.”
Both overmuscled Camouflages laugh at that, but Melon Shirt’s smile starts to fade. He knows. I can see. He looked in my eyes and he knows.
The rest happens in seconds.
Camouflage One comes right up to me, getting in my personal space. He is a large man. I am face-to-face with his waxed and toned pectorals. He smiles down at me as though I am a tasty treat he might devour in one bite.
There is no reason to delay the inevitable.
I slash his throat with the razor I’d kept hidden in my hand. Blood sprays at me in a near perfect arc. Damn. This will require another visit to Savile Row. “Terence!”
It’s Camouflage Two. There was a resemblance and, now sliding toward him, I wonder whether they were brothers. The thug’s grief stuns him enough to make disposing of him very easy, though I don’t think it would have helped much had he been better prepared.
I am good with a straight razor.
Camouflage Two perishes in the same manner as dear Terence, his possible brother.
That leaves Melon Shirt, their beloved leader, who has probably attained that rank by being somewhat more brutish and cunning than his fallen comrades. Wisely, Melon Shirt had already started to make his move while I was dispensing with Camouflage
Two. Using my peripheral vision, I can see the glint of his bowie blade heading toward me from above.
That is a mistake on his part.
You don’t strike a foe from above like that. It’s too easy to defend. Your adversary can buy time by ducking or a raising a forearm for the purpose of deflection. If you shoot someone with a gun, you are trained to aim for the middle mass so that if your aim is slightly askew, you can still hit something. You prepare for the likelihood of error. With a knife, the same is true. Make the distance of your stab as short as possible. Aim for the middle so that if your adversary moves, you can still wound him.
Melon Shirt didn’t do that.
I duck and use my right forearm to, as noted above, deflect the blow. Then, with my knees bent, I spin and use the razor across his abdomen. I don’t wait to see his reaction. I move up and finish him in the same manner as I had the other two.
As I said, it is over in seconds.
The cracked pavement is a crimson mess and getting messier. I give myself a second, no more, to relish the high. You would too, if you didn’t pretend otherwise.
I turn toward Patrick. But he is gone.
I look left, then right. There he is, nearly out of sight. I hurry after him, but I can see very quickly it will be useless. He is heading toward King’s Cross station, one of London’s busiest. He will be in the station—be in the public eye—before I can reach him. I am covered in blood. I might be good at what I do, but despite the fact that King’s Cross station is indeed where Harry Potter headed off for Hogwarts, I do not possess an invisibility cloak.
I stop, look back, consider the situation, come to a conclusion.
I have messed up.
It’s time to make myself scarce. I am not worried about any CCTV recording what I have done. There is a reason the undesirable element choose spots like this. It stands apart from all prying eyes, even the digital and electronic ones.
Still. I’ve blown it. After all these years, after all the fruitless searches, one lead has finally come my way, and if I lose that lead . . .
I need help.
I hurry away and press the 1 on my speed dial. I haven’t pressed the 1 for nearly a year.
He answers on the third ring. “Hello?”
Hearing his voice again, even though I had steeled for it, sends me reeling for a moment. The number was blocked, so he has no idea who has called him.
I say, “Don’t you mean ‘articulate’?”
There is a gasp. “Win? My God, where have you been—?” “I saw him,” I say.
The briefest of pauses. “Wait, both of them?” “Just Patrick.”
I frown. Wow? “Myron?” “Yes?”
“Catch the next plane to London. I need your help.”
Excerpted from "Home"
Copyright © 2017 Harlan Coben.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have read all of the Myron Bolitar books, so I was looking forward to this book. I loved that we were able to finally hear Win's voice and see his point of view. What was confusing to me was that there seemed to be a gap between where the last book ended and this one began. Then I discovered that the missing piece was in the 3 books featuring Mickey. I wish I knew that before reading this one. Also, Myron did not feel the same to me, as there was a lot less comedic banter that is central to his character. All in all, I would reccomend this book.
Having read a few of Harlan Colin's stories, felt pretty safe in thinking this would be an enjoyable read. Oh, how wrong that feeling was. This journey begins with an attempt to solve a ten years old kidnapping of two six year old boys. Don't think that this is a bad opening chapter and you could probably find a number of stories with such a beginning plot line. It is what comes after chapter one that makes this story come alive and you will never guess the ending. Strongly recommend. J M Lydon
I have read every Harlon Coben book. This will be my last myron bolitar book. The constant basketball knee injury recollections and supposedly cute quips between win and myron has gotten very old and tired. This book would have been 100 pages if not for all the past references. Very boring and disappointing.
I admit I didnt have high expectations , as long running series have disappointed me in the past. I was wrong. It had me in the first chapter. Loved reading from win and myrons perspectives and the reveals at the end that I so didnot see coming. Only problem is I want to read more...
Although I love Myron and Win, this book is so different from the other's. Myron doesn't seem likeMyron. And Win is almost his old self, although he's different too. Other than that it was a quick read. Just different.
Another great read by Harlan Cohen! Myron Bolitar series is my favorite! All of his books are good and fun to read. You won't be disappointed with any of his books!
Another great read by my favorite author!!
Thanks, Mr. Coben for a great page turner that defines what a mystery should be .
Enjoyed this book and hope that Myron, Win along with Esperanza and Big Cyndi once again go on another adventure. Especially loved the last chapter. Oh Win!
Ive reqd many of HCs books..this is the first Myron & Win book I liked it at first,then i felt it went on & on..couldnt wait for it to end and I was disappointed at the ending..
Harlen Coben is one awesome writer! I could not put this book down. It has everything, mystery, suspense, romance and touching moments that will move you to tears. Highly recommend!!! Keep writing Harlen, we need more stories from you!!!!!
I have never before read a book by the author. It was great and I will definitely read the rest of the series.
Loved every minute of it!
Ten years ago, two six year old boys were kidnapped during a play date at one of their homes. After all these years someone has sent Win Lockwood an anonymous email with a tip that cracks the case wide open. Win brings his best friend, Myron Bolitar, in on the case and the two set off on a worldwide hunt to bring the now 16 year old boys home. After rescuing Patrick in London the two won't rest until Rhys is found as well. However, Patrick is being less than helpful and his parents are doing everything in their power to keep Win and Myron away. What are they hiding? Is Patrick really who he says he is? I found this book on a suggested reads list but what the blurb didn't mention is that this is book 11 in a series written by Coban about these two characters. I'm not sure if this is why I felt a disconnect to this book. The actual plot was probably 50% of the story and the other half, in my opinion, was filled with unnecessary banter between the characters and irrelevant scenes (attending a professional wrestling match, lots of talk about Myron's old basketball injury, etc.). When the plot was in motion it was a real page turner but I felt the author hit pause on it one too many times. After checking out other reviews for Home, people who are regular readers of Coban's seemed to have high praise for this addition to his series. I might have to go back and see where Win and Myron started.
Another hit! Great twists and a satisfying ending!
Action packed with surprises around every turn. And the unique friendships that emerge. Great read.
Fast paced and in real time. The story carries you through without anytime to wonder what is next.
Great read! Have missed Myron and win..
As always his books do not disappoint!
I luv his books and enjoyed this one! U wont be sorry
Bolitar is a James Bond figure, a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Liam Neeson in Taken, aimed at rescuing his nephew and a friend, who had both been kidnapped ten years earlier. The chase brings him between home in the US and entanglements with gangsters abroad, but he still cannot find his nephew, despite his best efforts. Things start to get strange when he finds the other missing boy and he and is family are uncooperative in the search. It's all somewhat interesting, but it has the air of a cheap mystery, not even great enough for a beach read. Coben seems to be making it up as he goes, and all of the characters are flat and cartoonish. Coben's writing style is frustrating, and he writes as though he's trying to describe a far-fetched movie scene. None of the settings are plausible or realistically rendered. James Bond already exists, and we don't need Bolitar to be a second-rate version. This was not for me, and is most likely not for you, if you want something substantive to read.
Harlan Coben is one of those suspense writers I can't elevate to the elite category. He has a distinct style, but something is missing. The classic mystery writers usually feature working class guys and gals who scratch and scrabble to make a living. Myron Bolitar and his friend Win seem to go everywhere with no monetary worries to slow them down. I know Myron sold his sports rep agency but was it worth that much? Since Robert B. Parker introduced Spenser's sidekick Hawk, it has become fashionable to feature a lawless sidekick who does things the hero won't stoop to. Win fills the role in this series and I find him to be way over the top. This book is better than the last few Bolitar books, but I found the actions of the characters to be melodramatic. Critical blurbs often talk about Coben as a convincing chronicler of suburbia but I can't see it. The book is entertaining in the same disposable way a good TV show is.