New York

How to get away with murder

Written by Pooja Pillai
| New Delhi |

Published: July 31, 2020 1:34:28 pm

Coben says he’s excited by the possibilities of international adaptations of his works, especially those published a long time ago, because of the opportunity to see them in a wholly new light. (Source: Claudio-Marinesco)

All fiction begins with walking around and asking ‘what if?’,” says Harlan Coben. The best-selling crime fiction writer, whose latest, The Boy From the Woods (Penguin Random House), released in April this year, when I call to interview him about the new book. Later, he repeats it on a video for actor Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram book club, like a mantra that he wants to drill into the head of anyone who asks that most dreaded of all questions (for writers): where do you find your inspiration?

“I was hiking through the woods one day when I happened to spot a boy, wandering around alone,” Coben says, “and I just asked myself, ‘What if this boy emerged from the woods, told everyone that he is alone and has no idea who his parents are and that he’s been looking after himself all these years? And what if, 30 years later, we still don’t know who he really is, who his parents are and where he came from, and another child has gone missing and he is called in to find that child?’”

This, in short, is the plot of the 58-year-old’s new novel. It doesn’t give much of a hint about the complications and twists that drive the narrative, but long-time readers of Coben’s books know to expect them. They are, after all, the main attraction of the books, the reason why, for over two decades, they’ve always returned for more, making the New Jersey-based writer one of the most popular crime fiction writers today. Coben, whose first book was Play Dead (1990), has over 70 million books in print worldwide, with translations in over 40 languages. A Coben release — mostly one a year since 1995’s Deal Breaker — is

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