As any parent knows, we would do anything to keep our children Safe. But sometimes we can go too far. *Spoiler Alert* for the video below…
I think I’m getting the hang of Harlan Corben’s writing, after this third mini-series. Here are the elements:
As always, the main protagonist is a white male who is faced with a mystery to unravel. He might or might not be a father, too. He has a best friend who helps him solve the mystery.
This best friend is also going to be an enigma, of sorts. He will have a mysterious past, and a confusing present, but he will always be available to help drive the protagonist around, if so needed.
The Lover/Wife/Other Woman
It’s a strange feeling to watch a man begin to doubt someone he loves. In Gone for Good, his girlfriend had a risky past life. In The Stranger, his wife disappears, forever, after pulling a con on him years before. In Safe, his wife has been dead a year, but her teenage past is part of the mystery to unravel.
Someone is Missing and/or Murdered
There gets to be a feeling after a while that I’m watching Midsomer Murders on PBS. So many people end up dead that it’s a wonder there are any inhabitants of the area left to carry on living. This series was filmed near Chester, so the scenery was familiar, without being too obvious. (I’ve been to Chester and Speke near Liverpool, so I know what that part of the UK looks like.) The missing part is the mystique of the writing. Sometimes, the missing person is the teenage child of the hero, as in this series.
Children Figure Strongly in the Plot
Normally, children in murder mysteries are just window dressing. In Coben’s stories, they drive the plot, sometimes getting into scrapes, sometimes helping their dad find the missing person. It’s a unique twist to have so much of a story centred on the children, especially one, like this series, which involves a very messy teenage rave. (In hindsight, it’s totally unrealistic that the hostess, Sia, could have cleaned up the mess before her parents got home. She is also the loose cannon…)
Slightly Bent Cops
Do all police officers and inspectors turn a blind eye to crimes committed by the hero? That’s the message we get from the Coben story lines. And, how about the buddy team of two surgeons (Tom and Pete) going around, breaking into places, beating up some bad guys and never paying the price for it. (Well, Pete does get stabbed, but never mind that.)
Lots of Sexy Stuff
There is so much infidelity going on, I wonder if Coben is sorting out his love life through writing.
The Use of Cellphone Technology
It’s a fact: with mobile phones, no one is really lost forever, as long as the battery holds a charge.
The Twisty Ending
Is it possible to write a murder mystery without a twist at the end? I suppose not, since the point of the story is that you cannot tell all through the series who is really the good person and who is the bad one.
Here is the preview:
Sophie: “One thing you learn in my job, no one knows anyone, not really.”