Reviews by L. J. Roberts


HARLAN COBEN – Win.  Grand Central Publishing, hardcover, March 2021.

First Sentence: The shot that will decide the championship is slowly arching its way toward the basket.

   Billionaire friend of the author’s Myron Bolitar character, Windsor Horne Lockwood III is taken to the tower apartment of a hoarder who has been murdered. While one can barely move in the main room, the victim’s bedroom is immaculate with minimal contents. However, there is a Vermeer painting that had been stolen from the Lockwoods, and a bespoke leather suitcase bearing the Lockwood family crest and Win’s initials.

   Both the painting and the suitcase had been missing since Win’s cousin, Patricia, had been kidnapped, yet escaped, more than 20 years ago. The apartment murder victim was behind a group of 70s domestic terrorists, some of whom are still free. The FBI, and Win, would like to find them.

   As the psychopathic sidekick to best friend Myron Bolitar, Win was intriguing. As the protagonist, he’s just boring. By the nature of his character, he’s an empty shell mimicking a functional person. In that, Cohen succeeded in creating his character. However, as a reader, it is not enough.

   The narcissistic recitation of his wealth, art, cars, planes, suits, guns, knowledge of martial arts disciplines, is eye-rolling. It soon becomes apparent his family is as psychotic as he is. Yes, he has one slight crack of humanity; but even that threatens to be a continuation of his dysfunctional family line.

   As for the Jane Street Six, those of us who lived through the years of the SLA, etc., don’t need to be reminded, especially when we now have the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, QAnon, etc. It may have been Coben’s attempt to make the plot current but, with many being on overload, it just doesn’t work.

   Win is a book most readers will probably enjoy. Some, however, may find themselves not caring enough to do more than skim through.

Rating: NR (Not Recommended)