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A Facebook posting sets out destructive claims about who the father of a child yet to be born. On the receiving end of the questionable revelations are ex-tennis champion Suzze T and her retired rock star partner Lex. Lex deserts his pregnant lover, and the distressed Suzze calls on private eye-cum-sports agent Myron Bolitar, hoping he can retrieve her relationship. More is, in fact, at stake – including, it seems, the life of the errant Lex. And Myron’s private life is in its customary jumbled state. He runs into his sister-in-law Kitty (married to a brother who has broken off contact with Myron) and the couple’s teenage son Micky. The boy rages at Myron, who he considers responsible for his parents’ estrangement. So Myron has multiple problems: sorting out the chaos caused by the unpleasant Facebook posting, saving the life of Lex and curing his own headaches over his warring relatives. From this busy premise, Live Wire goes off at a surprising tangent, with Myron even confronting an existential question: his own shifting identity.
Coben’s dialogue here fizzles like the best vintage crime fiction, and Myron remains one of the strongest characters in the genre. As always, the sense of place is crucial with the author: the settings here have a pungency that leaps off the page. But it’s the plotting that really grabs the interest – along with what we learn about Myron, which changes the face of this entertaining sequence of books decisively – and permanently. --Barry Forshaw
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