Summary and book reviews of The Innocent by Harlan Coben

The Innocent

By Harlan Coben

The Innocent
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2005,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2006,
    528 pages.

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Book Summary

Some mistakes can change your life forever. For Matt Hunter, that mistake came in one terrible moment when his attempt to help a friend and stop a fight resulted in an accidental death.  Matt was convicted of manslaughter and sent to prison.  Time that his peers spent in college, Matt endured behind bars.

Now nine years after his release from prison, his innocence long forgotten, he's an ex-con who takes nothing for granted. With his wife Olivia pregnant and the two of them closing on a house in his home town, things are looking up. Until the day Matt gets a shocking, inexplicable video call from Olivia's phone. And in an instant, the unraveling begins.

A mysterious man who begins tailing Matt turns up dead. A beloved nun is murdered. And local and federal authorities—including homicide investigator, Loren Muse, a childhood schoolmate of Matt's with a troubled past of her own—see all signs pointing to a former criminal with one murder already under his belt...Matt Hunter. Unwilling to lose everything for a second time, Matt and Olivia are forced outside the law in a desperate attempt to save their future together.

An electrifying thrill-ride of a novel that peeks behind the white picket fences of suburbia, The Innocent is at once a twisting, turning, emotionally charged story, and a compelling tale of the choices we make and the repercussions that never leave us.

Prologue

You never meant to kill him.

Your name is Matt Hunter. You are twenty years old. You grew up in an upper-middle-class suburb in northern New Jersey, not far from Manhattan. You live on the poorer side of town, but it's a pretty wealthy town. Your parents work hard and love you unconditionally. You are a middle child. You have an older brother whom you worship, and a younger sister whom you tolerate.

Like every kid in your town, you grow up worrying about your future and what college you will get into. You work hard enough and get good, if not spectacular, grades. Your average is an A minus. You don't make the top ten percent but you're close. You have decent extracurricular activities, including a stint as treasurer of the school. You are a letterman for both ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Some readers have felt that Coben has been treading water with his last two outings, but this one should re-establish his credentials.

Kirkus Reviews

Coben surpasses Jeffery Deaver as the most generous plotter in the thriller racket--and as usual, more and more of them defy belief. The gaping improbabilities won't bother fans of rose-tinted nightmares a bit as they gasp their way through Matt's free-fall, scared and happy as kids on a roller-coaster.

Booklist - Connie Fletcher

Starred Review. As usual with Coben, an intriguing start, hinging on one out-of-whack technological trick, hurtles into a fast-paced hunter-and-hunted drama. First-rate.

Reader Reviews
Nelly Kallini

Great book!!
This book is a very good, talking all about fiction. At first, I wasn't really...in love with the book. But when I first arrived threw the good part, it's like you just want to continue the book and always want to know what will happen. Will he kill ...   Read More

Ernest H.

Not So Innocent
Rarely are the innocent fairly depicted. Corben almost suceeds in getting them pinned in this halfway profound dissection of who gets what out of criminality, whether perpetrator or victim (so-called). Some dull spots but all in all it moves along.

lewismom

Exciting
I thought this book held your interest. I can't say it was excellent because I lost a little of the story line while reading this book. I have read a lot of Harlan Coben books and he does give his books twists and turns.

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Beyond the Book

Harlan Coben was born in Newark, New Jersey. After graduating from Amherst College as a political science major, he worked in the travel industry. He has won each of the three big mystery awards - the Edgar, the Agatha, and the Shamus.  He now lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, medical director of Covenant House in Newark, and their four children.

He is the author of 8 mystery/thrillers about sports agent Myron Bolitar, and a number of standalone novels:

...

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