The fifth person in the photograph

‘But right now he was staring down at the kitchen counter –more specifically, at the strange photograph- still as a stone.

This sentence is a striking example of the captivating writing style of Harlan Coben in Just one look. Again, he succeeds in holding you attention page after page.

Just one look is a very exciting thriller. You can never predict what is going to happen. Only at the end do you get the picture. Talking of a picture this is exactly the thing which starts the story.

One day, Grace gets a photograph with five unknown people, one of which could be her husband Jack. After seeing the photograph Jack disappears. Grace wants to know the truth behind thus picture. Jack, in the middle of the photo, turns out to be Shane, an old friend of Grace’s. At a pop concert in Boston, Jack/Shane fought with Jimmy X, the leader of the band, over stolen lyrics. There was a shooting and a friend, John, dies. A stoned guy named Wade Larue, who was shooting around, was found guilty. Being innocent he wants revenge. He hires an assassin who starts killing them. He captures Jack, but Grace saves him. Later he dies. Having no clear memory of what happened Grace wonders: ‘Is she the fifth person in the photograph?’

‘Grace kept shaking her head, but then she flashed back to that day at the beach, the first time she laid eyes on Jack, that feeling, that instant grab of the gut.’

What makes the book even more exciting is that the police are always a bit too late. The assassin escapes just in time, except the last time. However it takes the reader 500 exciting pages to get there. This is not a very big deal, because Harlan Coben writes graphically and with an eye for human details.

Is there nothing wrong with this book. There surely is. Sometimes there are far too many details and the story line sometime has too many detours. Because of this the story becomes a little unbelievable. In spite of these flaws, it is a book you will quickly read through and enjoy enormously.


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