Audiobook Review: Live Wire by Harlan Coben

25 03 2011

Live Wire by Harlan Coben (Myron Bolitar, Book 10)

Read by Steven Weber

Brilliance Audio

Genre: Mystery

Quick Thoughts: The 10th Myron Bolitar novel is another winner, helped by the excellent narration of Steven Weber.

Grade: A-

The Myron Bolitar series has been one of the more consistently entertaining series of the past like 350 years or something. OK, maybe that’s a bit pushing it, but, it’s really fun. Myron is just one of those characters that it’s hard not to like. He is just a big, goofy, trustworthy everyman, with martial arts skills and a heck of a basketball player. For a mystery character, he just comes off as a normal, likeable guy. He isn’t a brooding alcoholic or sociopath avenger. He’s a nice Jewish boy from the suburbs with wonderful parents. Not that he doesn’t have issues. Sure, he has been betrayed by women, shocked by his own tendency for violence and quick to put himself into harms way. Yet, he’s not self delusional or humorless. What makes Myron’s normalcy even more endearing is that fact that he surrounds himself with such an oddball assortment of friends. There’s of course Win, the blueblood Philadelphian, who seems like just a bit of a preppy, but is extremely lethal. Then, there’s ex-lady wrestler and current business partner Esperanza, and her former tag team partner Big Cindy. Add to this a plethora of cross dressing, goatee wearing, steroid using, law enforcing minor character, that Myron’s normalness makes him, well, abnormal.

Live Wire is the 10th novel in the series, and in my opinion, one of the best. Myron at times loses his humor in this novel, since he’s dealing with some serious family issues, but whenever that happens Big Cindy or Win is there for a laugh out loud moment. The overall plot of the novel is well textured and deftly executed. In Live Wire, we finally learn more about Myron’s estranged brother, and his family. There are some tough moments in Live Wire, and at times, Myron, who is not at his investigative best, seems to be flailing around. Yet, when needed, the story become grounded in memories of Myron’s childhood and his relationship with his parents. This is the true beauty of Live Wire, when Myron is at his worst, he is saved by his family, both natural and chosen. Another thing I liked about Live Wire is that, despite their probable protest, Myron and Win are maturing, in different ways. I always wondered how Coben would handle Win’s progression as he gets older, and I thing we have been given glimpses of a more stable, mature Winn. Even his brashness has a more thoughtful feel to it. Live Wire is another winning edition to the Myron Bolitar series.

Many fans of the audiobook versions of this series bemoan the retiring of Jonathan Marosz, who read the earlier novels. While I enjoyed Marosz as well, I actually believe the Steven Weber’s narration of Live Wire has taken the series to a whole other level. Weber is perfect as Myron, and handles the other characters well, even better than he did in Long Lost. He handles the moments of humor with deadpan timing, and the serious moments with an appropriate solemnity. The moments between Myron and his parents come off so natural that I believed it actually enhanced the novel. Hopefully this combination of Harlan Coben and Steven Weber will bring us many more chapters in Myron Bolitar’s story.



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