Review: Caught ~ Harlan Corben

Caught17-year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate-and nationally televised-sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.

2 Thumbs-UpI’ve read many books by this Author in the past, and was looking forward to this one I was lent by a friend.  Anticipating an engrossing read, I saved it until the weekend when I had no commitments, and prepared to settle in; I needn’t have bothered.  Unfortunately, in this book the Author appears to have jumped on the bandwagon so many are jumping on today, that is the one where they write about subjects covered in the popular press.  In my opinion this is not a good foundation to lay a novel on, as I look for originality in my reads not a fictionalisation of news items.

The character development in this novel was not up to the Author’s usual standard, they were shoddily written and very predictable in their actions and reactions to the events happening around them and to them.  I was hoping for a strong main protagonist I could really connect to, as in other works by this Author, but none were forthcoming and, as I progressed through the pages I realised that this book was rather a lame duck.  However, some readers may find the characters well-rounded and appealing, but for me they just didn’t have what I have come to expect from this writer.

Locations, like the character developments, were predictable and there really was nothing surprising in the areas the story takes place.  No moments when I thought that the action had been particularly well placed, or even thought out for that matter.  The feeling I got as I read was that this novel had been thrown together to meet some publishing quota, and maybe appease fans that were waiting for another offering from the Author.

With that said the redeeming feature of this book for me, and one that kept me reading to the end was the dark anticipation the Author manages to inject into its pages; it grabs you then takes you for a quick spin before dropping you into the next scene.  All in all though, I was sorely disappointed with this book, and it has made me rethink whether or not I will read anything else by this Author, or if I do I will definitely lower the bar on my expectations as this one didn’t do the Authors talents justice.

I am a little wary about recommending this book to anyone, but those who enjoy novels by this author may want to take a look.