How well do you really know anyone? That’s the real premise of Six Years, by Harlan Coben, and while at times it stretches the levels of belief, it still sits in the realm of possibility, which is all I ask from books of this type. Jake Fisher had a wonderful summer with a woman he knew as Natalie, but at the end of that time she marries another man and has Jake promise her that he will move on and not attempt to locate her. He kept the promise for six years, until he can’t keep it anymore.
One of the primary issues in Six Years is the timeline. While it takes six years for Jake to finally decide to look up Natalie again, the real time of the book is little more than a week. In that short time period Jake almost gets killed twice, he finds out that things aren’t how they always seemed to him, and he gets a lot of confidential information dropped in his lap. While I’m sure those types of situations and breaches do occur, I’m not convinced that they could happen as quickly as they do in this novel. That’s where if you suspend your belief you can enjoy the book, and if you can’t then you’ll be stuck shaking your head the entire way.
I enjoy Coben’s straightforward style. Unlike someone like Stephen King or Dean Koontz, he gets right down to business, and his books generally move swiftly. To his credit, the writing is smooth despite the lack of descriptive fluidity, and while the novel is relatively big (367 pages) it doesn’t read sluggishly. Jake Fisher is the only character who is described in complete detail, leaving a lot of the other characters’ traits to the reader’s imagination, something I enjoy. If I wanted every last detail spelled out for me, I would look to a movie. Coben knows how to dole out information.
Where the book has issues is in closing. While the breakneck pace works well for the vast majority of Six Years, the end comes rather quickly, and there is little setup for it. In fact, I turned the next page after the end, thinking there was more to come, but it was done. In fact, this book sets up for a possible sequel, and I would read it just to find out how this story really does end. As it is, though, the actual ending does answer most of the questions the novel asked at the beginning, which is what it needed to do at the very least.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense and figuring out a mystery because, even though the premise isn’t at times completely believable, the writing rescues it.
I give the novel FOUR stars.