★ Stay Close
Harlan Coben. Dutton, $27.95 (384p) ISBN
Edgar-winner Coben (Caught) contin- ues to mine rich veins of terror in his New Jersey novels of domestic suspense,
exploring both the reality and the ideal of family ties and the ease with which evil can destroy both. In this masterful stand- alone, three people are haunted by the disappearance of Stewart Green 17 years earlier in Atlantic City: photographer Ray Levine; housewife Megan Pierce; and Detective Broome, who investigated the disappearance and befriended Green’s wife and kids. The disappearance of Carlton Flynn on February 18, the same date Green went missing, helps reignite the smoldering case, pointing the way to other victims and a strange pattern. Flynn’s case also results in a pair of preppie, very scary sadists calling themselves Ken and Barbie entering the scene. Coben writes with wit and irony, and his flair for exposing the frail balance point between order and chaos in our lives has never been stronger than in this suspenseful outing.
5-city author tour. Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron Priest Literary Agency. (Mar.)